For many of us, our Christian faith has not always been apparent in our business behaviors. Perhaps, at least in part, it is a consequence of society holding an image of business that is less than Godly. We have been inundated with stories both real and fictional of greedy, unethical businessmen who are out for all they can get at any cost. Whether we like it or not, those stories and others’ perceptions and expectations have colored our own mindset about business. In business we are focused on making money, getting paid and earning a profit. And when we apply the customary attitude that “money is evil” then we are conflicted about the pursuit of money.
The Bible does tell us that the love of money is the root of evil. Note it does not say making money is evil, but LOVING money is. So having a purpose to make money through service to others is not wrong. Gold and silver are not intrinsically evil; it is our feelings, attitudes, and behavior toward gold and silver and their acquisition that determines whether we are worshipping wealth or worshipping God.
So, the conflict between making money and our faith has often left a gap between what is expected of us in our walk with God and in how we conduct ourselves at work and in business. The usual and customary behaviors viewed as necessary to climb the corporate ladder, to compete in the marketplace, and to “get ahead” may just mean that your reputation at work and in the business community is lower than the example of Christianity and God that you would like it to be. You may be wondering how you can change your reputation and get the opportunity to use your business life as a ministry and outreach of faith through example and leadership.
If transforming your work life, business, and reputation into one of Christian example seems impossible, remember that you are not alone in the process and it is NOT impossible, because you aren’t dong it alone.
Mark 10:27 (NKJV)
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”
To transform your business and relationships in the business community, your first step is repentance to God for past misdeeds. With a truly repentant heart, then you ask God to enable you to walk in His Way at work. Each opportunity and obstacle then is faced with God and you consciously make the choice to break from the habits and practices of the past. Keep the following scripture verse in mind:
Mark 8:36 (NKJV)
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
You can walk with God in all aspects of your life. Your business life may be more challenging if you continue to think as the world typically does about business, particularly if you measure your success purely in terms of money (i.e., as an idol) versus seeing money as a metric of how successful you are at serving others. Money is not evil in and of itself. Money is a mechanism of exchange of value. If you provide a quality product and service to your customers, they pay you for that value. If you mistreat or cheat customers, they will not be back to buy from you again. So successful businesses are those who provide value to their customers and in exchange the customer pays them for that value—in money. That money then gets spent purchasing value from individuals and other companies. And the world goes round, and people prosper through valued service to each other.
Act with integrity. Start today to make any changes in how you think or feel about business and how you DO business. Review and reflect on how things have been in the past, then commit to starting where you are to change how things are done today and in the future. You will reap what you sow and the harvest ahead is yet to be determined. Will you sow wisely and well? I pray that your harvest will greatly bless God, you and your business.
Author: Lea A. Strickland, MBA CMA CFM CBM GMC
Copyright ©2012 Lea A. Strickland
All Rights Reserved