My previous post included references of prior experience in the corporate world. I know someone who believes that it is hard for a Christian in the business world to succeed without giving into dishonest, power hungry, and political practices. His viewpoint is that there is difficulty in separating Christian ethics from the way the world does business.
It is true that in today’s world we see a good many businesses being run by people who would sell their mother’s clothing to make a profit, but I would like to cling to the hope that business success CAN be achieved in conjunction with moral behavior. While I have certainly seen a fair share of office politics and sales pitches, I choose to still believe that there are some business men and women who hold true to the values of honesty and integrity.
There’s no doubt that a decline in the moral backbone is among us. News reports are issued everyday telling of executives and company officials being prosecuted for the bad decisions they have made to rob their shareholders, represent their company with deceptive trading practices, and the embezzlement of company funds. Unfortunately, you can’t even buy a car (or a couch for that matter) without feeling like you have been through the “ringer” by the time you leave the office. This is because the salesmen and women are trained to anticipate our reactions to their various “proposals”, working steadily to string us into the final sale.
However….I choose to believe that IF a business professional were to truly follow God and the commandments He has given us, they CAN be a successful contribution to the business world…prospering enough to rise to the top of the corporate ladder, and leading companies to a solid “bottom line”.
One such example for this is Joseph. Joseph was one of 12 brothers in the Old Testament. He was sold into slavery by his brothers due to the jealousy for their father’s attention. Joseph could have spent his life, weary of his circumstances and slipping into the very selfish attitudes that got him into slavery in the first place, but instead he chose to follow God. Genesis chapter 39 tells of Joseph’s service to Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh during his captivity. Joseph served well enough to gain the respect of Potiphar so much so that he was made the overseer of the house and all of Potiphar’s possessions. Verse 2 says, “The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man.”
When Potiphar’s wife was scorned by Joseph, she arranged a scenario that put him in prison, and still there he served honestly and productively enough to put him over all the prisoners in the prison.
Both times, he was left in complete charge of the task at hand, without the need of his “bosses” looking over his shoulder, and both times, he succeeded because “the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.”
Joseph was quick to give God the glory for his works. “It is not in me; God will…” (Genesis 41:16) Consequently, God eventually brings Joseph out of his bondage, making him the governor of Pharoah’s kingdom. During this time, Joseph devises and oversees a complicated business strategy to reap a great harvest during the first seven years, stock piling excess food, enough to save the people of the kingdom and sell to other lands who later experienced a famine.
In the end, Joseph proved to prosperously run the kingdom “business”, all the while staying under the grace and blessing of God who was pleased.
Joseph learned to “Bloom where he was planted” as an old friend of mine would say, and enjoyed a respect from others wherever he was. Everywhere he went, his abilities were recognized, and he was rewarded with prestigious positions of authority and prosperous results.
I believe that business men and women can live their life for the Lord and still reap rewards. It is God who will be “with” you just as He was with Joseph. If you will stand up and exercise your Christian faith in your daily life, God will bless you for it.
When you hesitate to treat the customer with the smallest account just as well as the customer with the largest account, stop to remember that God loves all people the same.
When you know that only by stretching the truth will win you the sale, remember that God doesn’t like lying.
When you ponder the use of your position and authority to obtain personal favor, remember that God often uses the smallest and weakest to accomplish His greatest work.
“He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.” Matthew 12:30
The best business plan I can think of is this: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death…” Philippians 2:3-8
If all business men and women would follow this strategy, do you agree that God would bless them with success just as he did Joseph?
After all…..it’s GOD who IS the “BOSS”.