We all want to make a difference, leave a legacy, and know that our contributions matter. It’s the way we’re wired as human beings. As Christians, we’re exposed to an overwhelming level of lies and deception about our responsibilities and our abilities to effect change. The best many of us settle for is a compartmentalized life where we may enjoy a rich spiritual life and fellowship outside of work, but on the job we follow ‘the rules’. Alternatively, we seek out other believers within our work for fellowship, often feeling like refugees in a hostile world bolstering one another’s courage. Some of us join a faith-based organization hoping to impact the world that way, only to become frustrated when it becomes apparent that flawed and imperfect human beings are running amok here too. So what’s the point? A conclusion I’ve heard many strong believers reach is that this is just a fallen world, and there’s nothing we can do about it. We grit our teeth, do our best, and wait for eternity.
Is this really what God wants for us and our business?
I think most believers, it’s certainly true for me, tend to walk in and out of idealism when it comes to living as though we really believed what we say we believe. There are times where we’re sold out for Jesus and being of service, and helping others, and joyfully sacrificing more than we have only to realize we’re receiving abundantly, ridiculously, and irrationally more than we’ve given. And then it’s like a rubber band effect…as soon as we realize it, we start to hoard our manna, or believe that WE’RE the ones responsible for our success. “It’s my awesome leadership”, or “I’m a really clever strategist”…you get the idea. Have you ever really focused on eating or breathing and tried to figure out how you did it and then do it better? I don’t recommend it if you don’t want to feel like you’re choking for the next week or so. Some things are meant to be experienced, not managed, and I think experiencing God’s blessings is one of those things.
As believers who are also business owners, leaders, parents, and teachers, we have a fundamentally different challenge than non-believers. First, we have to choose whether we will live by the world system or by Kingdom principles, and we all know that choosing ‘b’ will immediately put us in the category of ‘naïve’, ‘wingnut’, and worse…because everyone ‘knows’ how the world is and how business operates. This is the system where resources are limited, only the strong survive, cash is king, and it’s every man for himself. This is a system where the strong oppress the weak, and where individuality, freedom, and unique contributions are suspect, if not outright forbidden. It’s a system where everyone needs to fit neatly into a box, any box, where mob rule prevails because reality is relative and truth is a matter of perception. This is a system where people increasingly need medication, drugs, alcohol, identity changes, or any other anesthesia to ‘survive’, and where ending one’s life is a viable solution to a dropping stock market or lost job. This is the system we’re told to embrace, the wheel we’re told to get on, and the game we’re told we can win…except what is winning, and what does it cost?
I ask you again; Is this what God really wants for our business? For us? For our employees?
If what we believe is really true, there really is a God. He really is good, and He really cares about every last hair on our heads. He has our best interest at heart, and he gave each of us a unique set of gifts and talents, interests and callings, that He intends us to use for His glory. He has plans to prosper us, not hurt us, but we are not the center…we are part of a much bigger plan. He has access to resources unimaginable to us, with the desire to share them abundantly. He wants us to take care of each other, and to help people who don’t know Him understand His love. He doesn’t withhold or punish us, but He will often prevent us from attaining what we want if he knows it’s going to hurt us. He dearly wants to fellowship with us and will gladly help us with our business plan if asked. He wants to share life with us and use us to make the world better.
Are we operating our business with this in mind, or are we furtively running an enterprise while checking over our shoulder to make sure ‘the boss’ isn’t watching, in case he wants to take it all away? Which servant are we?
I’d suggest your level of peace and joy when it comes to your business is the extent to which you’re letting God in versus you keeping him at arm’s length – assuming he doesn’t approve, or just doesn’t care about this aspect of your life.
Are you interested in experiencing more joy and fulfillment? Consider these questions to see if you’re operating under any limiting beliefs when it comes to your business and God:
- Do I think God approves of my business?
- Am I willing to present all of my business plans, strategies, and finances to God?
- Is there part of me that believes God doesn’t really care or will concern himself with this aspect of my life?
- Do I feel it’s ‘unspiritual’ to want to succeed in business?
- Do I believe I have to compromise my integrity, or act in ungodly ways, to succeed?
- Do I feel it’s possible to ‘put first the Kingdom of God’ and build a successful business?
If you’re like most of us, one or more of these questions strikes a nerve. Sometimes even considering that God wants more for us arouses unpleasant emotions – fear that we’re hoping for something that can never happen, fear that we’re going too far and becoming one of those wing nuts. I know for me, running on the hamster wheel the world offers became so awful I became wiling to do anything, even wear the ‘wingnut’ label to avoid it.
I feel strongly that if these questions stir something in you, then you should listen. As people we often feel compelled to create change, any change, in response to conflict. I feel like today someone needs to hear that it’s okay just to feel the stirring. If this is you, maybe all you need to do today is become willing to become willing to hear what God has to say. He’s not asking you to change everything today, maybe just to let your guard down and start to talk to Him about your business and His ideas for you.
How do you act on those ideas? You’ll have to wait for the next article!!