Weekly Thought – August 14, 2018
Fred’s reputation as a successful businessman drew many for interviews. And many asking for participation in new ideas. Many came expecting to use “Christianese” to impress him, quoting verses to support their budding business plan. They were surprised to meet a “velvet-covered brick.” Fred spoke truth with grace, and directness.
Christians and Business
Going into business with someone just because he or she is a Christian doesn’t seem to make sense to me. My personal experience has been rather negative. Most of the money I have lost has been to Christians who were either greedy or inept.
Certainly it would be pleasant if we could be assured all Christians bring integrity to the operation. But, the Christian experience should not be the common denominator or the dominant element for getting together in business. I think it was St. Francis, when asked if he bought sandals from a Christian cobbler said, “My first concern is that the sandals are comfortable to walk in.”
I am convinced any deal must first be viable. And then it must be executed by individuals with expertise and integrity. If the aptitude jibes with the Christian attitude, it is a strong bond. But faith alone won’t overcome ineptitude.
In my long business career I’ve unfortunately seen many deals go sour which were supposed to be Christian. I remember one man who wrote a book on how God ran his business. His management was so poor he went under and another company had to take him over. Another acquaintance boasted God served on his board. When a hostile takeover drove the stock to nearly nothing, hurting the shareholders and all the employees, I had to suppress the temptation to wonder if God missed a few board meetings.
Sometimes individuals say to me, “Fred, I want to have a Christian business.” I appreciate their sincerity, but I always remind myself (and them) that there cannot be a Christian business. Christ did not die for corporations. He died for individuals. There can be Christians IN business, but I do not believe a business can be made Christian.
It is important to remember integrity is a Christian principle. But this does not correlate to the Christian salvation experience. Some of the most moral men I know are non-believers. They have impeccable integrity, but are spiritually lost.
This week think about: 1) What principles do I use to analyze business deals? 2) How do I judge the aptitude of a potential associate? 3) Who could be helped by this Weekly Thought?
Words of Wisdom: “Christ didn’t die for corporations; He died for individuals.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Look, you desire integrity in the inner man; you want me to possess wisdom.” (Psalm 51:6 NET Bible)