Being a Christian in business doesn’t lend itself to easy answers or a clear path. Many small business owners are challenged, and overwhelmed, by the speed and variety of decisions that come their way.
They are pulled by what they perceive are dual opposing forces on their desire for a successful path. To create success in business may be to the individual business owner as simple as feeding my family and keeping the doors open.
Others see the big corporate behemoths as the target of their wide-eyed God inspired vision.
Regardless of the goal, once down the road, it is difficult to know if the world’s definition and track record of business success can be achieved by following biblical values and principles.
Watching the contractor down the street cut corners on building materials and later brag about the profitability of the job and the next contract in hand.
The business owner who racks up a showcase of toys but doesn’t mention that they cut employee benefits to improve profits in a down market.
We see the success and only catch a glimpse of potential impropriety.
Because poor ethics and lack of integrity hide in the dark.
So we, as Christian small business owners approach the crossroad and wonder, if we follow God’s path, could it possibly lead to needed success?
Does God care about our business?
Are we supposed to be Godly in business as we are to be as parents or spouses or church members?
And, even if we try, are we getting it right?
How can we be successful just loving others? What does loving others, in an appropriate Christian way, look like in a business?
It seems on the surface it would look like:
- looking the other way when the young single Mom is late for the 6th day in a row. After all it isn’t her fault probably and I don’t want to seem uncaring.
- giving away our work for free because the person asking is looking for some brotherly (brothers in Christ) love. You can help a brother or sister out can’t you.
- allowing customer’s to push payments to 60-90 days late because after all you don’t want to be a collection’s pharisee.
How can this lead to success? It seems impossible.
In reality, we have many misconceptions about what decisions a Christian should and shouldn’t make, and these myths often lead us to believing that following God in our business and being competitive in the worldly marketplace are mutually exclusive.
I don’t believe that is true.
I believe that following God is not only required by Him, it is an advantage to us.
But it takes work, just like most important things. Just like most lasting success.
The examples above do not necessarily represent a godly response. The bible is full of accountability, discipline and truth. We are called to do what is right whether it is easy or not. Although ignoring the activities and actions described above may seem easier on the surface, the impact they may cause may create much more difficulty in the long-run. And, we are not holding others accountable to God’s standards. So in our pain we are not even pleasing God.
What is the answer?
We need to place each business decision at the throne.
This may take time, patience and prayer to truly hear from God on a specifically grey issue. By contrast we can knock down the minor decisions that hit us throughout the day, with the confidence of knowing that God is with us, and the insurance of a few flash prayers.
When standing at the crossroad of a decision that you believe has two opposing paths, what do you do?
I believe that the path following God sometimes has satan’s haze of lies shrouding it.
God’s ways are not always black and white. We need to put our scenario under the magnifying glass of scripture.
We need to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in our analysis of the intersection of scripture and solutions to our troubles.
In the end, we need to trust that God’s path, although by definition different than this world’s, leads us to the long-term eternal success that we desire.