So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
As I entered the church, I was impressed by the age and size of the church. A monolith that had been built in the mid-19th century. I found the reception desk and politely asked if I could see the pastor. When asked, what would you like to talk to him about? I replied, I have just published a new book called Jesus & Co. and wanted to introduce him to my book. The woman took a copy of the book and went into an office. After a few moments, she returned and told me to go right in.
As I entered the room, I saw the trappings of a well-appointed office. Far grander than those I had seen during my time as a CFO for Fortune 500 companies. The office was filled with memorabilia and expensive furniture. A comfortable place where I am sure the pastor spent many hours preparing material for Sunday services and greeting guests. I sat down, introduced myself, and handed the book to the pastor. Silently he sat thumbing through my book, leaving me waiting for him to talk.
After a while, he raised his eyes from the pages and told me, what I had done was sinful. Very far from what I expected he would say, and immediately I was off balance mentally. I had been visiting churches in the area that day with copies of my book and hoping to garner some interest. A day that turned out to be very long and extraordinarily unproductive. Now I heard the reason why.
He proceeded to scold me on combining the sacredness of Jesus with the sinful nature of business, even saying that all marketing was inherently evil. He boldly believed all business was bad. A comment that completely went across the grain of what I had seen in my business career.
As a Fortune 500 CFO, sure, I had seen some instances of evil, but far more often saw people committed to doing the right thing. This was the business world I knew. Ethics and fair play were usually the primary concern.
As I sat there stunned at the pastor’s comment. Not just because of what he said, but how quickly and directly he blurted out his statement. It had unnerved me and left me off balance. It was one of those moments when you think later about what you should have said but couldn’t because you were taken by surprise.
I listened to his narrative about how corrupt businesspeople were and how sinful they lived—surprising me with his negativity towards my previous life. His narrative was not created by experience, instead what he had learned from reading newspapers. Sheepishly, I left his office dismayed and discouraged.
Later, after collecting my thoughts, I realized I had a long road to go in helping people see Jesus was good for business. Both an experienced business person and trained theologian, I thought, why couldn’t Jesus be good for business?
The Importance of Jesus’ Golden Rule
It seems to me; first, we must let go of our biases and look factually at what Jesus said and relate Jesus’ comments to various facets of business. Let’s start with the Golden Rule and excellent customer service.
In Matthew [7:12], Jesus says, So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. This verse directly states how a business should treat its customers. Simply treat customers the same way you want to be treated. Customers are the lifeblood of any company, and when they are satisfied, the company will be healthy. And there is no better way to accomplish this strategy than treating customers the way we want to be treated. It really is this simple.
Work As If Working For The Lord
The work of any business and its employees needs to have a great attitude towards its efforts. And there is no better attitude than what is described in Colossians [3:23], where it says; Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord. Wow, imagine if every effort you attempted during a workday was designed to please Jesus. It would undoubtedly sharpen your efforts. And certainly, help ensure all your activities are honorable.
Imagine the outstanding reputation that would be created. A business filled with trust, positive attitudes, and desirous of being the best all the time. A company with a Jesus-first mentality will attract the right people and loyal customers. Short-term practices with weak moral values will disappear and become replaced with longer-term, more ethical practices.
The Truth Will Set You Free
Another aspect of being successful and ethical is being riveted on the truth. Jesus in John [8:32] tells us why, Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Companies and people that look for the truth don’t make bad decisions. They know the facts, which leads to better, more sustainable solutions. These companies and people will not have to worry about what they did or how they accomplish their work. They will become free of future disasters because they know the truth and acted morally.
The point here is Jesus is good for business, and mixing Jesus with business isn’t sinful. While I am sure the pastor who was so abrupt with me didn’t mean harm. He probably thought he was helping. There is temptation in business, as there is any facet of life. But the message and ways of Jesus help us navigate life in a positive and trustworthy manner. Whether we are doctors, scientists, authors, or business people, knowing Jesus and using his lessons are the most essential facets of our work.
Jesus is good for business!