Articulating a New Business Worldview

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There is an agonizing yet accurate scene in Hollywood’s modern adaption of Noah’s Ark, Evan Almighty. The main character, Representative Evan Baxter, is asked who told him there would be a coming flood. He stands up in a US Congressional Hearing, in front of a nationwide audience, to the dread of his own family, and says, “God”.

The courtroom erupts, his pundits label him a freak and his wife leaves him.

The scene lays bare an unspoken commandment of the American marketplace; thou shalt not speak of faith in the workplace. Talk of faith is considered too much of a lightening rod to handle in our whitewashed corporate suites where diversity, acceptance, and placating others is the corporate doctrine.

Currently, it is rarely an acceptable cultural norm in the United States to discuss The Lord publicly in business. It is further taboo to state that The Lord influences your decisions and the decisions you make on behalf of the company.

You may be thinking that it would be unwise to discuss such a controversial subject in the marketplace. You may rightly state that it could be bad for business. Yet, what is the Lords’ perspective on this issue?

In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:6).

The Lord expects us to acknowledge Him not just with those who know him but even with some of those who do not know Him. He expects this for His Name’s sake; that His Name would be known among all men.

I believe it is productive and healthy for believers in business ownership and leadership positions to acknowledge in the work place that The Lord is influencing their decisions. I believe it is a legitimate and even preferred route to guiding the ship of business to consult and lead with the Lord when compared with consulting with men and women only, as with secular leadership.

If we have prayed for The Lord to guide a decision and He gives direction it would stand to reason in the business meeting we would say something like, “I have prayed to find the best solution to this problem and I believe The Lord is telling us to go this direction”. Instead we communicate the counsel without acknowledging the Counselor, if we ask the Counselor at all. In this manner we censor ourselves and miss an opportunity to witness Christ in our business.

But what if our staff has non-believers? Well, you routinely lead staff using principles that you have learned over time but that they may or may not understand yet, correct? Not all your staff has the insight of the CEO but you don’t try to guide the ship of business by only the lessons they have yet learned, do you? If so, we each would have to bone up on our knowledge of accounting, IT, and organizational structure. These disciplines are not known by all but each are used to guide the company. So, it is ok to lead the company with principles not yet understood by all.

But it is not easy to acknowledge the Lord publicly in business. I remember leading a business development meeting with staff from around the country and I was trying to describe how expanding services would bring more clients and more revenue into the company. I drew a parallel by saying, it’s like the Bible says, “open up the windows of heaven and I will pour out a blessing. Giving more services to clients opens up more windows through which we may be blessed”.

Within two weeks the company president flew in to tell me that it was ok to have faith but you just can’t express it like you may want in the work place. In effect, the company wanted to censor faith speach. He used a quote from St. Francis of Assisi to help me, “Preach Christ everywhere and when you must, use words”.

Well, I learned of Christ by people who were not afraid to speak about Christ. I remember in 1995 a geologist in San Francisco gave me a Bible on the job knowing Jesus was what I needed, and what I didn’t have at the time. Monks are not soul winners.

Forget the monks, what does the Word say about this? In Acts 5:27-29, the Pharisees say, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!” But Peter and the other apostles answered and said:

“We ought to obey God rather than men

We ought to obey God in the workplace in addition to men, and sometimes, rather than men. So what do we do if we are censored or persecuted? What if we are released from employment? What if we are overlooked from promotion due to reasons of our faith? Do not fear, instead:

  • Bless (Romans 12:14) – Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
  • Cry Out to God (Psalm 119:86) – All your commands are trustworthy; help me, for I am being persecuted without cause.
  • Endure (1 Corinthians 4:12) – We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it.
  • Delight in the Law of the Lord (Ps 119:92) – If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.
  • Be Blessed (Matthew 5:10) – Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Comments

  1. Mark Strobel says:

    Great post Dave! Thanks for your insight. This reminds me of 1 Peter 4 16-19.

    However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And,

    “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
    what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

    So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

    • Mark. Great comment. My first reaction when someone tries to censor me or exclude me due to faith is fear. It’s hard to avoid it. But then when we see the word says rejoice and continue to do good, as you have pointed out, that fear fades. I then feel stronger. It’s almost like periodic resistance is evidence that we are living a life apart from the world. And that evidence of obedience is reassuring and gives me a kind of peace. Thanks for you comment. Love your scripture reference.

  2. Excellent, Dave; “Monks are not soul winners…”

  3. I am struck by the boldness of the first-century believers. “They went in preaching boldly.”

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