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.

Trust Releases Control – 5 Steps to Victory

Trust requires releasing control to another

I prepared.  I opened my heart to constructive criticism and opened the door to the performance review. It had been 7 years of trying to get along with a boss that clearly did not like me.  Sure, I had a lot to learn when I first joined the company but after several years there just seemed to be nothing I could do to grow the professional relationship.  First, I was too maverick.  Then, later, as I gave my life to Christ, and learned to submit wholly to authority, it was something much deeper that made this boss angry with me.

The performance review suddenly turned an ugly corner.  “You’re just a maverick Dave”.  It was followed by a 10 minute emotional rant.  I am not even sure of the words anymore but I do remember the viper eyes and the curl on her upper lip as she spewed venom and ripped me.  I was floored.  I was in total submission to her authority, was making my utilization goals, and just brought a half million dollar account in the door.  I will be honest with you.  I opened up my heart thinking it would help me learn.  Instead, it made me extraordinarily vulnerable and I was completely undone. How should I now respond?

Still emotional, I prayed, “Lord, I have done well and supported the leadership.  I will not get angry with her.  Instead, I give this situation to you.  I trust you to deal with this”.  Soon after, my family and I began to pray 2 Thessalonians 3:2, “that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men”.  I was shaken for weeks not really sure where I stood at my job.  Wondering if I would be released.

The breakthrough came suddenly one morning 7 weeks later.  Someone from the corporate office flew into town.  Within hours, even though I had not said one word to anyone in the company, my boss was let go and I was given the leadership position.  Our office moved locations too, from skanky to swanky. It would be the beginning of turning the  office around and tripling revenue and profit.  It taught me that relinquishing control to the Lord is a powerful response to injustice.  David wrote in Psalm 37, ” And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them; he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him“.

Something powerful happens when we fully trust the Lord.  There seems to be a line in the sand when we encounter a situation in which we are helpless.  We must cross the line and come to a place where we say, “I give this situation to You”.

Is there an injustice in your life that is beyond your control?  Here are some steps that have helped me trust, step back, and relax while the Lord moves:

1.  Stop Trying To Fix It:  You must cease from your laboring and worrying.  It is evidence that you are not trusting but rather controlling.

2.  Understand that Trust is more powerful than Control:  Realize that He is more powerful than you.  So, as you let go a more powerful Team is on the scene.

3.  Ask the Lord to Take Care of the Problem:   This is where it all begins.  Until you do this you still own the problem.

4.  Relinquish Control:  Tell yourself that you have drawn a line in the sand.  It is no longer your problem to fix.

5.  Stand in Faith:  It takes time to move mountains.  Spend the time waiting being more productive.

What things do you need in your life that are beyond your control?  What would be the result if you took your situation through these steps?  Would you add any other steps?

 

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