Ultimately, managing our "business" is about managing ourselves, whether or not we actually own or oversee our place of employment. As we have all been told before, true freedom begins in godly self-government. While we cannot control many factors in life and in our external environment, we can control our reactions to them. In uncertain times like these it is wise to re-ground ourselves in these kind of "basics." Indeed, under pressure, the basics of truth that we know and have practised are what help to stabilize us and all those we influence. It therefore behooves us in both our personal and professional lives to be very clear on the truths upon which we rest our lives, our families, and our fortunes.
Your decision about Jesus Christ is the single most important decision that you will ever make. It will determine whether you will experience a life filled with purpose, or purposelessness. Why do we say that? Well, consider the following statements from the Bible. In John 14:6, Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me," and the Apostle John declared, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). If it's true that Jesus and what He did for us on the cross is the only way to the Heavenly Father and eternal life, it makes your response to Jesus Christ something that will impact your life for eternity.
One of the most persistent and vexing challenges we face as Christians attempting to lead our companies as stewards of God's property is the need to keep His values and priorities in the forefront of our decision making processes. It is so easy to slip into looking at our businesses from strictly, or at least predominately, a secular perspective. Almost all of us have been trained to do so. Our culture emphasizes the secular nature of business and almost nowhere are we encouraged otherwise. The force of the opposition to our seeing all of life from God's perspective, hence wisely, is far stronger than most of us realize. Satan knows full well that he cannot steal our salvation, but that does not stop him from doing all he can to render us ineffective in the work God has designed for us to do, and thereby to steal from us our godly heritage and destiny of service to our King. Recognizing this truth is the first step to overcoming many of the problems that it generates.
God's means of calling us into his mission and purposes of life can often come because of a work-related problem. There are a number of examples of this in scripture. The calling of King Saul as king of Israel is an example of this truth.
Have you ever heard the joke, "How do you know when a salesman is lying? His lips are moving!" That joke is a biting commentary on the state of affairs in American business today, especially the sales profession. Without doubt, the profession has earned the reputation it has, but it need not be true of everyone in it. In fact, I am convinced that an honest man has an advantage in an environment permeated with liars. Liars are eventually found out and have a difficult time regaining trust, and trust is the highest form of human motivation, at least when it comes to business. The only way a liar can survive long term in the business arena is to move from one city to the next or change industries every couple of years.
When Mary was sixteen and getting ready to go to Harvard, she wanted to study business. She also wanted to serve Jesus. Torn by what she saw as conflicting desires, she marched into the office of her Presbyterian pastor in Salinas, California, and presented her career dilemma.
"I love God," she told him. "And I love business. So I'll probably just go work in a church or be a missionary, right?" Wrong, her pastor said: "Christians are needed in the corporate world, too."
That truth-that she could use her talents for God in the secular sphere-set Mary free. She tackled a joint major in economics and religion at Harvard and wrote her senior thesis on social investing-the concept of using one's money to address ethical concerns, such as helping the poor or boycotting pornography.