Do Jesus and Business Belong Together?

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“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Colossians [3:17]



When I am on the radio doing interviews, almost every time I am asked, how can you mix Jesus and business?  Or when I give a presentation and clergy are in the crowd, I am cautioned about mixing Jesus and business. Even in one case I was told that mixing Jesus and business was sinful.

My reply is always, why not?  In this age of political correctness, Jesus is avoided in conversations, despite 75% of all Americans identifying themselves as Christian. The misconception isn’t really about mixing Jesus and business, it’s more about how do we mix Jesus and business.

My friend William Cunningham, states, “We should be the Gospel and not just say the Gospel.”  Will, has lived this life for many years and today is an author of Where I belong  and a Christian Counselor in Asheville, North Carolina. In his previous life he was involved in military intelligence throughout the Middle East, where he lived this life of  Jesus being with him where ever he went. Including praying in dark prisons of Afghanistan.

Was he uncomfortable during these times, sometimes. But Jesus was always with him.

Will’s point is that we first live out our faith wherever we are. Through our actions we become recognized as Christian’s. Merely stating to others that they should believe in our professional or work lives isn’t enough and frankly can be detrimental.

Bringing Jesus to work through proclamation isn’t enough or effective. Bringing Jesus to work through our actions is the most powerful form of mixing Jesus and our careers. It is human nature to become more empowered by what people do versus what people say. This is Will’s point.

The Apostle Paul tells us in Colossians, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  In other words, in all that we do, we should do it as if serving the Lord. The Apostle Paul in this statement includes our work lives.

We don’t have to go to work and declare we are Christians, but our various actions will declare us as Christians. Words are hollow, actions are real. It is in our actions that we proclaim our faith and in our actions we are judged.

The clergy I meet are right that business can create temptation, but business itself is not sinful. It is more about how we act in business than whether business is sinful. But all of life, has inherent temptation to be sinful, not just when we are at work.

Being bold in our faith isn’t what repels people about our belief, it’s when we don’t live the Gospel that repels people. How could any person not agree with the Golden Rule, “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.” Certainly we want to be and surrounded by people that live their lives with this foremost in their minds. Doing what is right is consistent with our Christian faith.

When we sell to our customers, should we think about ourselves first or the customers needs? The latter should be our focus. Not only is this a Christian value, but it is good for the long term health of any company.

Lets consider the Wells Fargo scandal, where millions of credit cards were issued without the customer knowing they had been opened in their name. This scandal eventually cost the CEO his job. What if the bank had used Jesus’ Golden rule? Would there have been a scandal? Probably not if it had been part of the employee’s code of conduct. Or consider the number of sexual abuse cases against women by men in power, would they have occurred if there was an adherence to the values of Jesus? Again probably not.

Christianity is good for business. The businesses that are run with principles of fair play and equal treatment for all, are strongly aligned with Christian values.

Companies like Chick-Fil-A thrive and are Christian based. While we might not all agree with some of their thoughts about Christianity, we can all agree they live into their principles. They believe in giving Sunday off as a Sabbath or day of rest. This year the Super Bowl was played in Atlanta and in that stadium exists a Chick-Fil-A. They were still closed, despite the monetary losses of not being open on Super Bowl Sunday.

But Chick-Fil-A still is the strongest of all Fast Food outlets in terms of customer loyalty and finances. Go there for lunch someday and you will see long lines of loyal customers and friendly employees. Their Christian based model works.

Some will say Christians are intolerant as a reason for not mixing Jesus with our work lives. Being a Christian based person or business doesn’t mean we are exclusive or rejecting of people who don’t share our faith. It means being open and courteous to all.

Jesus himself used those outside his religious affiliation to portray acts of openness and kindness. The story of the Good Samaritan is about a person who was outside of Jesus’ faith. The Samaritan’s of the first century were consider outcasts by the dominant Jewish faith. Yet Jesus uses them in one of the preeminent examples of kindness to all. Part of being Christian is being tolerant.

Yes, we can bring Jesus to work! It is okay for the one hundred and twenty million Christians who will go to work tomorrow to be and practice the values of Christianity. We should be the Gospel in all that we do. It isn’t politically incorrect and only is if we don’t live the Gospel in all that we do.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Herrmann Stamm

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