The Bible, Business, and Vision

Oct 26, 2017, Written by Jim Miley

biblical business

I meet with a group early every Thursday morning to study the Bible and share perspectives on the current reading. This week’s conversation included spirited discussion around how we live out our faith in our business. More specifically, how near-sighted we tend to be in facing adversity.

Have a vision for the long game.

“…they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver.  [The Ishmaelites] took Joseph to Egypt…”

Gen 37: 28 ESV

The story of Joseph and his coat of many colors is one of the more popular biblical accounts, even making it’s way to a Broadway production. The theme (if you don’t know it) has an honest and hard working guy, Joseph, sold into slavery by his brothers.

From the earliest accounts in scripture, we get the clear message that life’s circumstance will mean taking the hard way. Joseph didn’t do anything to deserve the hard way. To the contrary, he was a responsible and righteous young man. Joseph’s brothers just had a lapse of reason, brought on by envy, and figured selling him was better than killing him; tough times. 

Joseph experienced radical ups and downs throughout his life. From favorite son to betrayed by his brothers.  Slavery to Overseer of the estate. Overseer to prison. Prison to Pharaoh’s Chief of Staff.

As far as we are taught by Scripture, Joseph does not lose faith nor stop working for good in all that he does. Whether circumstances are up or down, Joseph stays on mission. The mission being fed by the vision to honor God in all that he does and hold fast to his integrity and love for those around him.

Joseph’s story is one of keeping priorities straight and not letting current circumstances change who we are. Difficulty is part and parcel of living while honoring God through difficulty is a worthy life.

Biblical Business Strategy

Back to my Thursday morning group discussion- it’s easy to lose sight of how much business management goes on in the bible. While there is not a lot of block and tackle detail, the takeaway for today is perseverance behind the right vision. 

“His master saw that the Lord was with [Joseph] and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands.  So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had.”

Gen 39: 3-4 ESV

Let’s acknowledge the fundamental of doing good work. As a slave Joseph excels in his work to the point that the master “puts him in charge of all that he had.” But the key is Joseph’s vision.

Joseph held close to his vision of doing all to the glory of God. Joseph’s Godly vision enabled him to persevere and thrive in less-than-ideal circumstances. We too must  persevere to overcome tough market conditions, difficult employees, stiff business competition, and personal challenges.

We can’t always see what’s around the corner but must have faith in doing the right things everyday. When our vision is focused on the long game, it should align our mission and our strategy for long term success.

Biblical Business Bullets

  • It starts with the vision, and our vision needs to be built upon a solid Godly foundation. As we close 2017 and plan for the coming year, we need to stiffen our resolve to stay true to that Vision. Compassion and care for the people in our lives is part of a solid Vision.
  • Overcome obstacles with perseverance that comes from Vision. Don’t let circumstances prevent you from succeeding in your mission.
  • Maintain integrity through our priorities and daily actions that drive our strategy.

As Jacob described Joseph at the time of Jacob’s death: “Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; his branches run over the wall.  The archers bitterly attacked him, shot at him, and harassed him severely, yet his bow remained unmoved; his arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob.”

Gen 49: 22-24 ESV

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Jim Miley

As a Business Coach, Jim brings a broad background of operational and sales management skills and expertise to help small business owners grow their business and reach their highest potential. He has 30 years of field-proven professional experience.