My good friend Frank recently read one of my books and humbly asked, "Do you still believe in sharing your faith?"
"Why would you say that?" I pushed back.
"Well, I noticed you don't seem to talk very much about your faith in your book."
Hmmmm.... as usual, Frank had me thinking: "Can I mix my faith and business? Should I?"
It brought me back to a very contradictory conversation over lunch at a 5-star New York Restaurant with Bernie when I was a 20-something intern: Bernie, a well dressed top salesman in the company treated that day to both lunch and an unexpected challenge:
"Jeff, you can really have a bright future in business. However, I'm concerned that you're too out there about your faith and that may put you at a disadvantage. You need to decide because faith and business DO NOT mix."
Wow! Bernie sure didn't beat around the bush. Was he right?
Over time I have decided that Bernie was wrong. Very wrong. Faith and business DO mix... and actually MUST mix. Here' why:
We can't help but bring the REAL us into our environments. When the real us gets cut we "bleed" the real us. Authentic faith will show up no matter where we go. And the same for inauthentic (or even hypocritical) faith.
I remember one of my football teammates in college telling me faith was really important to him. "Yeah, I know that now I "screw" (actually not quite the word he used) a bunch of girls and all...but someday I really do want to marry a nice Christian girl ... and I'd like her to be a virgin.".
Hmmm.... Didn't seem to see a contradiction, huh?
Yet, who of us hasn't been guilty of being a different us and seeing nothing contradictory in being a chameleon? When faith-me isn't showing up in business, I need to ask, "Is my faith real? If not, why not?"
In a world where entrepreneurs can take on mountains of debt, mortgage homes and max out credit cards, peace is very much needed.
In a realm where deals are won and lost each day based on outcomes of single meetings, trust is necessary.
In a day when one's job can be here today, gone tomorrow, relief from anxiety isn't optional.
Into this atmosphere, Jesus's words and promise soothe the stressed soul. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
"My peace I give you." (John 14:27)
Might not THAT kind of peace and spiritual life replace anxiety with acceptance and expectation of good things? Peace instead of calamity? Purpose instead of frustration?
Faith and community go hand in hand. Business offers a great platform for real community, collaboration and relationships to grow. The gospel in the first few centuries actually spread through the relationships in the marketplace.... why wouldn't it still?
Also, businesses that see themselves as part of a larger mission will attract the best workers and foster long-term trust...which relates to #4.
REAL religion that God accepts as pure and faultless" is "to look after orphans and widows" (James 1:27)
The prophet Isaiah points to true profit! "If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness,and your night will become like the noonday." (Isaiah 58:10)
Of course non-profits, governments, NGO's and churches can and must do this. BUT - Faith-filled business has the potential to NOT do just that.... but create sustainable difference. Not just give people a fish and feed them for a day, but teach them to fish... AND create fisheries to feed the village for generations. Is this not real religion?
For more on this, learn more about the burgeoning "business as mission" movement. It seeks to help integrate a paycheck AND provision for others. Pay the bills and help others in real ways.
"Love others as we would love ourselves," (Matthew 22:39)
"Give and you shall receive" (Luke 6:38)
"Pride goes before destruction." (Proverbs 16:18)
"Without the guidance of good leaders, but many good advisers can save it." (Proverbs 11:14)
Though who doesn't love reading Malcolm Gladwell, Daniel Pink or Patrick Lencioni, isn't much of "their" truth Biblical truth?
OK, so there are probably even more reasons than five why faith and business DO mix. But, would you agree that these are at least a good place to start?
Share your thoughts.... Share these 5 with others.... And have a great day
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