Business & the Bible
From a Christian perspective the whole of the bible is the story of mans redemption by God, so God loves man and made him in his image but we turned from his rule to our own way and there was a consequence to this, God’s justice has to do something about this turning away. But in his great love he provided the way out himself by sending his son to die in our place and to take the punishment for our breaking of the rules that if we turn back to him and trust what he has done for us we can be in that everlasting relationship.
Why is it important to know that in a business sense? God would ask Christians to so rule their lives that they follow this principle in all that they do and this would include business.
So if God’s rule is one of justice and righteousness then we must as Christians run our businesses and work for employers in a just and right way.
God’s law and rule can be summed up in the ten commandments;
- You shall have no other gods before me.
- You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
- You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
- Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
- You shall not murder.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.
The bible would say that we simply cannot keep these rules, that there is something wrong with us and this is why Christ came to do this for us. However by faith we are to follow this and with God’s help he is able to change us and shape us to how we were intended to be.
In addition the bible has some direct advice for us on how we should work and behave as follows;
Mark 12:17 Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him.
Meaning that we should be right and fair and pay our taxes, conform to the rule of the land.
Paul a disciple of Christ gives this direct advice in the book of Romans, chapter 13
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you
want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
We can sum that up as Paul saying obey those over you as an employer because God has put them there, don’t give them a hard time, be a good employee, work hard, don’t steal from them by coming in late, don’t cut corners or be unethical. The whole principle he gives for this is to love and show love in the workplace and in your business practice. As God loves us so we should love.
Lets make this more practical still, ‘The Apprentice’ advocates every man for himself, dog eat dog, self first. A Christian in business should try and put the other first, not to be a doormat but to show love. This may include speaking the truth in love, telling people something that may hurt but be for there good rather than trying to look good ourselves all the time.
For example in the Bible:
And indeed you do it toward all the brothers which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brothers, that you increase more and more; and that you study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; that you may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that you may have lack of nothing.
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