If you’re a person of faith, living in our secular society can be a challenge. The Bible is littered with verses like these ones…
John 15:18-19: (Jesus speaking) “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
Philippians 3:19-21: (Paul speaking about the secular world) Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
This kind of instruction leaves Christians wondering what they are to do in this world they live in that is opposed to God. The Christian community is especially concerned about business leaders who are gaining worldly wealth and possessions through business success. Many Christians regard Christian business owners as “sell outs”.
I am not one of those. The fact is that your business can have a Kingdom-Centric mission; or a secular mission. No different than your life.
Living in the World
Overly, pious Christians see two possible options:
Being 100% committed to the church… evangelizing, attending church, serving the church, and taking care of the poor. Eat, sleep, and drink until the rapture comes.
Enjoying all the pleasures that life has to offer…. if there’s a god, or an afterlife, “you’re in” as long as you treat people reasonably well.
The truth seems to lie in between these two extremes. Intuitively, we Christians seem to know that… but where is the line between following Jesus; and caving to our carnal pleasures? And, what does any of this have to do with business?
I won’t repeat God’s laws, but there are many. In fact, there are so many, even the most pious Christians will break a few from time to time without even knowing it. This is why I encourage you to read the Bible. Not to memorize the laws… but to better understand God’s design for your life. Yes, some of this design is stated in laws. However, the entire story of the Bible is much more compelling for pragmatic people like me.
When secular society breaks the intent of God’s design, avoid the way of the world. Not only because ungodly actions negatively impact your eternal life; but because they will negatively impact your life in this world. Frankly, they will negatively impact our society as well.
The one “Don’t” that all Christians should be mindful of is, “Don’t be a Pharisee!” Pharisees in Jesus’s day looked down on sinners. And, they classified almost everyone as sinners. They seemed comforted in their knowledge of the scriptures, and in their high status. Jesus called these pious Jews, hypocrites.
Matthew 3:13: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
They were hypocrites because they shunned anyone who violated a law; even though they were the biggest law breakers of all.
Being a person of faith is not only a passive existence of avoiding sin. It’s living a life of intentional purpose. This is much more important than following the rules. If you live a life of purpose aligned with God’s will for your life, you will have little time for rule-breaking.
I LOVE business. I suppose that’s why I’m a business coach. However, I don’t love business more than I LOVE God.
Here is the reason that I love business. Business is a way for a person to make a living, give others a means to build wealth, while at the same time serving others. In a properly regulated free market, good businesses flourish, wipe out poverty, and improve the lifestyles of everyone they touch. In this same environment, bad businesses go bankrupt making way for better businesses.
Sadly, this properly regulated free market seems to be getting hyper-regulated and more corrupt. This is one of those secular evils that you will not be able to control. However, there are many business actions that you can control as a Kingdom-Centric business.
What is Kingdom-Centric Mean?
One of the concepts that Jesus spoke most about was the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is also referred to as the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus is clear that this kingdom exists right now. It is also clear that Jesus regarded this kingdom as the most valuable pursuit. Your business is as much a part of this kingdom as your family, your home, your friends, and your church.
The best place to start building your Kingdom-Centric business is with employees. As you may guess, people matter most in the Kingdom of God. How you treat your employees is your first responsibility as an entrepreneur. You treat your employees fairly. You pay your employees a fair wage that is competitive in the market place and proportionate to your company’s revenue earned from their work. Work correction is done in a loving, not a critical manner. Be clear about work expectations upon hiring; and compassionate when you are forced to fire employees. While it’s normal to give employees different responsibilities and different levels of pay, remember that all of your employees are God’s creation and none are better or worse in God’s eyes. Your lowest paid employee deserves just as much respect as the highest paid worker.
Like employees, customers are people, too. Surprise! These are the folks your business serves. The main difference between customers and employees is money. When you hire employees, you pay them for their work. When customers hire you, they pay your business for delivering quality products and services. Consequently, your customer is your boss deserving of the attention and respect due anyone in authority. No, the customer is not always right… but they are always the customer.
One of the hardest disciplines to learn for most small business owners is self-control. You must not become volatile when angry. You must have thick skin when receiving criticism from customers, government officials, and employees. Seek compromise and peaceful solutions continually. Avoid quick reactions to drama.
Maintain financial discipline to meet profit expectations, pay employees fairly, and charge your customers a fair price for your work. One of these areas of focus is not more important than the other. If any of these financial concerns become a singular priority, your business will fail. Your prices should be competitive with other service providers. If you’re the only service provider, estimate a fair profit and set your price accordingly. Pay your employees wages that are competitive with other employers and help your employees provide for themselves and their families. Profit is needed for your company to grow and provide you personal wealth. If you ignore profit, your company will cease to be in existence. Do not cheat customers by overbilling hours, or other unethical dealings.
The government’s role in a free market is to provide regulations that control business practices where profit motives fail. Such concerns as environmental protection, employee rights, unethical business practices, safety, and fair competition. If you have been following the first four previous topics, you should have no problem complying with these government regulations. As the U.S. government has grown, activists and unscrupulous companies have used the government to force regulatory control beyond these moral regulations.
If the government is forcing you to act in a way that is contrary to God’s ways, you have a decision to make. The decision isn’t complicated, but it can be difficult. This decision was faced by the owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop owner, Jack Philips. He refused to bake a custom cake for a gay couple; and found himself in court for violating Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws. After appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, he won his case based on bias in the lower courts. He got sued again with a transgender person requesting a cake celebrating their transition from male to female. Again, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled against Jack Philips. As I write this post, this decision is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court once again.
This case is the tip of the iceberg of what is coming the way of any Christian business owner. There are Christians who believe Jack Philips is in the right; and Christians that feel Jack Philips is wrong. The only judge whose opinion matters is Jesus’s. Jesus will either hold up Jack as a champion for upholding God’s laws in the face of adversity; or chastise Jack Philips for acting with malice toward His children who he loves. The message in this section is when government compels you to violate God’s laws, understand that a Kingdom-Centric business must always favor God over man.
Us human beings are bound to make mistakes or value our personal well-being over others in an ungodly way. These mistakes may involve downright sinning… greed, theft, lying, cheating, and other sins. There’s an earthly cost for these mistakes. When found out, you may lose valued employees, lose customers, or go to jail. In most cases, your mistakes go unnoticed. When you are the one causing the problem, turn from your ways as quickly as you can, forgive yourself, and ask others for forgiveness. Yes, even when you don’t get caught. Likewise, be quick to forgive others.
Forgiveness is not the same as ignoring bad character or poor work quality. It means that you don’t bear a grudge. If poor behavior is negatively impacting your customers or your business, it is your duty to take corrective action. Keep in mind that all humans are flawed, including you, and you will not have perfect employees or customers. If you set a culture of “no flaws”, your people will simply hide their flaws. You don’t want that.
Money is a Resource, People are your Goal
A Kingdom-Centric business owner knows full well that our earthly pursuits are temporal. This means that we are literally renting material possessions until we move on within the Kingdom of God. Money can be the root of all evil (I Timothy 6:10) and it can be your master (Matthew 6:24). The focus of a Kingdom-Centric business is PEOPLE. This does NOT mean that you proselytize your employees and your customers. It means that you demonstrate that your people matter more than your money. That said, your business will end, if you run out of the resource of money. Welcome to the balancing act of a Kingdom-Centric Business 😊 You can do it!
If you’d like to learn more about creating a Kingdom-Centric focus for your business, contact me at email@example.com. I’d love to help.
About me. I have been actively engaged in the energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy conservation industry all my professional career from 1987 until now. I was a licensed Professional Engineering in six states and a Certified Energy Manager (CEM). I worked as a sales executive, energy engineer, sales manager, and entrepreneur. I started, grew, and sold my own Energy Service Company (ESCo) called Ennovate Corporation (1997 to 2013). I am now a certified professional business coach for business owners, engineers, and business development executives.