Sharing. Building Together
P rofessionals with a vocation to serve the well-being of society at large know that they will not achieve this on their own: they will need to embrace a common purpose in order to share the work with others. As Scanlon points out, this means a mutual striving “to find terms of justification that others could not reasonably reject” (Scanlon, 1998, p. 361). For the Christian, the reasonable “terms of justification” are those that ground virtuous living in God and the theological framework that informs his or her life as a human being. A lively sense of personal gratitude for one’s inheritance will open hidden futures, encourage compassion for others, and make one aware that service is a gift that requires one to learn to give attention to the other. Above all, gratitude is not only for the gift but for the giver, who is God, for his commitment, understanding, and empathy. He nourishes our best intentions with the expectation that we will serve with him in ensuring the well-being of creation.
In this chapter, I interpret the Christian theological framework in order to show God sharing his redemptive creativity with us, human beings made in his image. Gratitude is a key dimension of the professional relationship and virtuous professional practice: gratitude for what one inherits, for the professional community, and for the opportunity to share responsibility not only for and with the client but for the well-being of society at large. Professional relationships are essentially shared commitments to the common good.
Sharing implies an equality rooted in our materiality, the wholeness of what we are intent upon achieving, and the pursuit of meaning and truth in community.