Every person and every organization operates from a built-in structure of values. These values are typically built around an internal belief system. Studies have shown that many of the values we carry throughout life have been shaped within us and already formed by the time we reach the age of 8-9 years. Many of these same values and beliefs remain with us until an event or circumstance changes our perspective of life. Only then, we may consciously or unconsciously make a change.
In business, the founder typically sets the values and belief system of the organization. She or he sets the standards that others quickly learn to comply with if they want to be accepted within the business circle. As an organization grows, other leaders step up to influence their values into the operation. Eventually, team leaders learn to work with one another even though they may disagree with the other team member’s belief system and priority of values.
As a Believer in the marketplace, God has allowed us to partner with Him as He works out His plan of redemption while being the means to economically serve others as His hands and feet. As a servant in God’s government, we have new standards that we are learning. Yet we also have older values that need unlearning. God is creating a masterpiece via His Universal Church within the marketplace and is allowing us to participate with Him if we choose.
Why is this critical to understand? Because many of us enter the marketplace with a focus strictly on monetary reward. We strongly and incorrectly believe that the main purpose of business is to make money. So when we make business decisions, we measure the process with the end result solely for a financial remuneration; a return of investment; a monetary payback for our time and effort. Yet is that how God views business?
Without getting heavy into theology, didn’t God give mankind instructions to have dominion over the earth? To manage it and to sustain it? Where in the creation account did God say our economic primary purpose is to make a profit? Yet didn’t Jesus himself quote scripture that man needs bread and the Word of God to sustain himself? So what is the purpose of business?
Isn’t business a ministry that God ordained to provide for our fellow man? Like every ministry, isn’t the purpose to Glorify God and serve others with the talents and skills we have been blessed with? Is it not a joy to conduct business where God is glorified; all stakeholders benefit, and we receive an economic return so we can do it all over again?
As a young, shy man starting out in the business world, I went into the accounting field because I was good with numbers, logic, and able to bring order out of chaos; I didn’t really want to work directly with people. Likewise, I chose the real estate industry because one could work with buildings and tangible property rather than directly with people. A funny thing happened along the way. I discovered that accounting, real estate, and business is all about people. That if one wants to succeed in life, one needs to learn how to communicate, relate, influence, encourage, and lead people. I eventually learned that successful business is about developing long-term relationships with others for their highest benefit. When we were successful in providing for our customers, operated efficiently, the profit we earned was simply the cost for doing business. Our profit margins was the result of the emphasis of the value and service we provided.
Imagine if every business selected a product or service that would glorify God, honestly serve people, and made enough money to stay in business; and continue to do it over and over again; what a wonderful world it would be! When one reaches this point, than one can truly see the fruit of one’s service and product through the eyes of God. Most people would think that this is impossible in today’s world. Yet, is anything impossible with God? The problem is most people run business their way rather than yield and trust a living God who wants you to partner with Him in His mission for the marketplace. Didn’t Jesus say if we seek His Kingdom first, that all these other things will be added to us? Doesn’t that also include our business ventures? Yes there is joy in business when one learns to truly trust and rest in the living God. Or is that too radical for you?
Our Economic Father, Son, and Spirit: thank you for creating a world that requires mankind’s participation to learn how to relate, cooperate, and serve one another. Thank you for teaching us that the greatest among us is the one who serves the most. Thank you for showing us that business is simply building relationships with others and helping others to attain their dreams to glorify you and serve their fellow man. Help us to yield our business ventures under your authority. Help us to learn to trust you in our business dealings. Help us to be successful in our business careers so we can be your hands and feet in serving others for your glory. Help us be true to you and others in all our business dealings. Help us work with you to redeem the marketplace for your glory and purpose.
Yours in Christ,
Executive Chair, Consultant, and Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute & Resource Center, Inc
Author of Great Business Emulates a Good God &
Be Radical…Follow Christ!