This subject is a perennial issue. I must admit it can be easy to go in to autopilot mode when walking through the office doors or even thinking about our companies.
There are so many questions buzzing around my head, especially as I want to do the right thing, but I don't want to step outside of God's will for me and my business but as a Christian how am I viewed by people on the outside looking in – i.e. Christians and non-Christian alike?
Whilst we have never been told, or read, that God will fight our battles, we do know that he is always with us. And, if he seems distant, it’s because we block him out. That said, how we should respond when it comes to our businesses and not just about the money.
It seems quite amazing that we have different perceptions of businesses. If we come across someone who is a business owner, we immediately have an element of empathy, we understand about staff, VAT, Gross profit and so on.
But when or if someone says or intimates that they are Christian, we, or should I say I, immediately start to think, "So, I wonder how you behave? Do you swear? Do you sell or trade ethically in all of its forms? Do you pray at work? So, what do you mean when you say you're a Christian?”
All these questions seem to hit me in instant! Am I judging, questioning or simply wondering.
More often than not, business people never mention their faith, probably because they're not confident enough in themselves or their faith to answer criticisms about Christianity. I hope this website will help with that!
I really do pray that Christian business owners have the confidence to explain to staff and anyone else who wants to know, exactly what it means when they say they are a Christian business owner.
Here are some points that spring to mind when I think about how things are in business and what I have experienced and witnessed in the workplace:
The above might seem strange or even over the top. But what sets us apart? Do we really behave like Christians?
I know this is contentious, however, Commandment No.8 says “Thou shall not steal”, it is quite clear. There is no excuse. Scripture says the people must be paid for the work that they do.
There is no question about making a profit, but not at the excuse and expense of staff. One could argue that in an ideal world, Christian businesses should always breakeven!
I believe staff should be paid above the Minimum Wage or Living Wage as it is also called, especially by Christian business owners. We are the blessed of the Lord. We are blood bought Children of God and if we can’t demonstrate to the outside world that we are trusting in him and paying above the minimum, what’s the point.
It is hypocritical to make a profit, tithe to God yet fail to pay staff a living wage. Don’t fall in to that trap. God doesn’t need the money, he doesn’t use it. We do! God wants followers, he wants people to be saved and demonstrating honour and fairness is the first step in showing non-believers the love of God and what that means to us.
By tithing and not paying the minimum wage simply demonstrates ‘religion’. It is acting like a Pharisee, making sure that one tenth is paid and making sure that everyone knows about it. There is your reward! But when it come to staff, they are our family too.
Jesus says in Matthew 15:5-9
5 “But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’6 In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents. And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, 8 ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’”
You don’t need me to tell you that it’s against God’s word to stitch someone up for a profit (employee or customer) or to be underhand or mislead. But I wonder how often this goes on for the ‘sake of the company’. The trouble is, not enough business owners put their trust in God for their businesses and to trust God to prosper them.
Warning: It is possible to make a profit without God, but we become exposed to other dark forces that are not of God and, rather than experience peace, increase and no stress, we can and often do experience the complete opposite.
Scripture says that God will bless the work of our hands Deuteronomy 28:12 Jesus was referred to as a ‘Tekton’, which translates as an artificer or craftsman/carpenter or as some say, an engineer. His father Joseph was no longer around and therefore Jesus carried on the family business and therefore, supporting a family of eight in 20AD.
Jesus came to fulfil the word of God not replace it, that means he was also subject to God’s word at that time in his life. As it says Deuteronomy, God would have blessed the work of Jesus’ hands too.
There is not one rule for Jesus and another for us when it comes to working or running a business. As business owners we must turn to God and his Word to help carry us and our businesses forward in whatever we do and not rely on our own strength.
By establishing and trusting our thoughts and plans to the Lord, he will direct our steps (Proverbs 16:9). He always will, but the world (the enemy) wants us to think that not only is God distant but also he’s not relevant when it comes to running businesses.
I’ve had people tell me they leave their businesses at the door when they go to church. What a shame. When we as business people are led to think that talking about or praying about our daily lives wouldn’t interest God.
The key is not to ‘bottle it’ when it gets a bit tough and throw our faith out the window. He is faithful all the time. It’s us that blocks him out. We can’t get ‘more of him’ as some preachers say. God is like a light that is constantly switched on, you can’t get any more of it. He’s not simply enough, because, when you take the blinkers off and get rid of the filters and all the ‘nonsense’ that stops us from connecting with God – he’s too much!
God wants ALL of us ALL the time and not just for an hour or so on Sunday. He created us, he has a plan for us and hopefully most of us are doing what he had planned for us before we were born. But don't ‘miss a trick’, get into God’s Word. Study the Bible. Find out what more he's got planned for you. I promise you, he will tell you.
When I am in sync with God’s will for my life I’ve experienced genuine prolonged peace. And it hasn’t always happened at work. The frequency of this ‘peace’ has increased since I’ve been reading the Bible on a regular basis. But it is so easy to get out of the ‘groove’ and start thinking the wrong way, especially when we genuinely feel it’s in the interest of the business, but forget to seek his advice.
God never said it would be easy. Believe me I know the other end of the scale – In 1993 I was made bankrupted. Three months later my four year old daughter died in a bicycle accident. Three years after that I had a quadruple heart bypass at aged 34 and three years after that got divorced and went to court 86 times. Then in February 2009 God called me to become a Christian and follow Jesus – Phew!
When it comes to our businesses and work lives, should act like the rest of the world so that we feel we ‘fit in’ or should we behave differently and follow God’s plans?
In 1 Timothy 6:17-19 Paul explains:
17 Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. 18 Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.19 By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.
We need to listen to our Pastors and Ministers about how to use of the money and wealth we have been blessed with accumulating. God has given us the power to make wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18) and it is for this reason it’s not to be squandered.
There is a part scripture (Matthew 7:22) that says
22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
The key point here is that we need to trust God and not ourselves, especially as there are consequences. Yes, we have and continue to make a profit but the real test is when we trust God for everything.
Without exception we are to demonstrate through our actions that we are Christians and that we want to encourage others in faith because this is such a great place to be – all the time, not just some of the time.