In my opinion, entrepreneurs are the backbone of our country and the economic system as we know it. Without entrepreneurs, our economy would fall apart. At the same time, being an entrepreneur is not an easy path to take. There are many challenges and hurdles to overcome before an entrepreneur can truly be successful.
In my last post, I described the life of a missionary family I know that is living in Cusco, Peru. I told you about their basic plan, from start to finish, and how God’s call on their lives is not at all different from His call on your life or mine. In this post, I want to explain that idea further.
As I have planned for this year and completed my goal-setting process, I have determined that I am going to build on some of my successes from last year. In doing this, I am going to take some bigger risks and go after bigger experiences and results. In a word, I want this year to be an adventure!
What about you? Are you living a great adventure? Or are you just watching (and envying) those who are?
I am not sure about you, but this past year has flown by for me. Not only has this year flown by, but I will say with confidence that it has been my best year ever, in many respects! As I look back over what all has been accomplished this year, I am amazed. I am also excited because I know why and I believe I can build on it this new year.
Best Year Ever
If the idea of having your best year ever interests you, then I have good news for you.
Sometimes I get focused on leveraging our business for eternal return. It is easy for me to overlook the details of the business. If you own or lead a business with any number of employees, you likely have experienced something similar. However, we are responsible for running businesses of excellence. We cannot afford to overlook the basics for long. This includes a safe workplace!
As a result of some turnover in our business recently, I have seen two out-of-the-ordinary accusations against us. While these accusations were certainly unusual for us, they are not uncommon in our industry.
Have you come to a place where you have lost your passion for what you do? Maybe you are in a rut or just burned out. Maybe you are just not that “into” the purpose you once felt. It could even be that business going better than ever, but you just don’t “feel it” anymore. I have a couple of ideas that might just help you regain your passion for your God-given purpose!
Forgetting Their First Love
In my last two posts, I have referred to a passage in Revelation where Jesus chastised the Christians at Ephesus for forgetting their first love. He praised them for some of their good works, but He called them out for their wrong motives. In drifting from their relationship with Jesus, they abandoned their first love.
You are a Christian business owner or leader and you are suddenly confronted with an ugly truth about your business. It appears there is “sin in the camp” and you are not sure how to deal with it. You want to do the right thing, but that is not always easy to determine. How do you deal with it?
Sin In The Camp
In the book of Joshua, chapters 6-7, we read about Joshua leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. First, there is the miraculous defeat of the mighty city of Jericho. Spirits among the Israelites are high until they are subsequently defeated by a much weaker city of Ai. What happened? Why the reversal of fortune?
It turns out someone among the Israelites had broken the covenant God had made with them during the attack on Jericho. As a result, God left them to their own against Ai and they were sorely defeated. Now, the morale of the people has fallen and they are scared to death.
Learning From Joshua
Joshua is the (fortunate?) one that God has given the task of replacing Moses as leader of the Israelites – a TOUGH job! How does he handle this similar situation? What can we learn from him?
I encourage you to read the whole account on your own, beginning with Joshua 6:1 and ending with Joshua 7:26. There is much more to learn from this passage, but I have broken Joshua’s actions into the following 6 steps that I believe we can apply to our current business challenges.
Step 1 – Set Clear Guidelines
There is no grey area in Joshua’s instructions to the Israelites prior to the attack on Jericho. In Joshua 6:17-19, he clearly tells them what is to be done with the city, its inhabitants, and and everything in it once the city is in their hands. The sin that followed was not due to misunderstanding!
We must do the same in our businesses. It is our responsibility as the leaders to make sure the rules and expectations are clear to everyone. New hires must receive clear instruction regarding your policies or they cannot be held accountable to them. Everyone must know our guidelines if we expect them to comply!
Step 2 – Stay Close to God
Joshua did not receive instruction from God and then run off on his own to carry it out. He remained close to God. As soon as he learned of the defeat at Ai, Joshua fell before God in submission (Joshua 7:6-10). He did not know the reason for the defeat, but he knew he had to seek God first. God answered by telling Joshua there was sin in the camp.
Our response must be similar. Don’t get caught up in the fact that Joshua had such an obvious defeat that clued him in to the trouble. Instead, recognize that Joshua had remained so close in his walk with God that his very first reaction was to seek God’s face.
Joshua did not question his general about strategy or even question his own decision to send a smaller force of 3,000 men. He went straight to God as an instinctive reaction. If we are in close communion with God, our instincts will be similar.
Step 3 – Trust God’s Provision
In Joshua 7:10-12, God tells Joshua about the sin in the camp. He makes it clear that He will no longer be with the Israelites unless the sin is removed. At this point, Joshua does not hesitate. He does not look for other options. He acts decisively when he delivers the instructions to the Israelites (vv. 13-15).
I don’t know what Joshua could have feared when making this decision, but I know how these kinds of decisions have affected me. When I have caught wind of impropriety in our business, fear has often flooded my mind. Will an investigation lead to a top performer? Will I be forced to terminate someone that is critical to our success?
Joshua may have had similar fears, but he acted anyway. He trusted that his provision was only from God. We must have the same trust in God. If the removal of sin in the camp causes the loss of a top performer, then we have to trust that God will make up the difference. He is faithful.
In my next post, we will cover the final 3 steps for dealing with sin in the camp. I hope that you can see the business application of this passage. Again, I encourage you to read it on your own and see how it speaks to you. I think you might be surprised at what you find!
Have you experienced sin in the camp with your business?
How did you deal with it?
What would you do differently next time?
[This is the third post in a series about setting goals that have an underlying eternal purpose.]
In the first post, I explained eternal goals – what they are and why they are important. In my last post, we began looking at the 7 reasons why most people neglect to set eternal goals. We used one of my personal goals for 2015 to illustrate these reasons.
Today, I want to jump right in and go through the rest of the 7 reasons. Let’s do it!
Reason #4 – I Can’t Know For Sure If I Have Hit Them
A critical part of an effective goal-setting process is having a very clear way to know when you have achieved the goals. When you first start talking about eternal goals and the results you want, it does seem like it would be impossible to know if you have achieved them or not.
That is another reason for us to base our eternal goals on activities that we believe will best LEAD to the eternal results. We must trust God for the actual eternal results, but we can certainly do what is within our control to give us the best odds at eternal impact.
Using my example of wanting to impact more people for eternity through my blog, the measurement I chose was email subscriber count. Like I said before, it is not perfect. However, it is measurable and I can know if I hit the goal. I have to rely on God to turn that count into eternal impact.
Reason #5 – These Goals Cause Abnormal Behavior!
This is a tough one. It is tough because it is true. Seeking to set and achieve eternal goals will absolutely drive you toward behaviors that are not common or normal in today’s culture.
At the same time, Jesus called us to be salt and light. We are going to stand out from the crowd if we follow His calling. The sooner we get comfortable with this idea, the greater the impact we will have!
Reason #6 – Eternal Goals Conflict With My Current Goals
Much like Reason #5, this is also potentially true. Many people set goals to save a certain amount of money by the end of the year. Or maybe their goal is to buy a new house. These goals are not bad in and of themselves.
Unfortunately, there CAN be conflict when we begin to think about giving and other similar ways to achieve eternal impact. For me, I have a goal for our family to give a certain percentage of our income to faith-based efforts. The money we want to give could make other large ticket purchases difficult or impossible.
Conflict like this is best resolved by seeking godly advice and counsel from accountability partners and trusted advisers as well as prayer and study of the Bible. This conflict is greatly reduced when your goal-setting process begins with prayer and includes an eternal perspective from the start.
Reason #7 – I Cannot Fully Control The Results
For those of us who are “Type-A” personalities, this can be one of the toughest reasons to overcome. We want our goals to be based on our own performance. We do not want to rely on someone else to help us hit our goals.
Maybe that mindset works in individual sports, but it absolutely will not work when it comes to spiritual matters – even goal setting. We are designed by God to need Him. We are incomplete and cannot achieve anything meaningful or of lasting value without Him. We must accept this and set our goals accordingly.
While I cannot control the eternal impact He creates with my writing, I CAN control the activities that LEAD to that impact. I set my goals based on controllable activities and leave the rest to Him. I am usually surprised at the results!
Like I said earlier, most people have never set eternal goals. After going through the most common reasons for this and explaining how to set these goals, I hope you are more comfortable with attempting it going forward.
I have also given you this advice before: start small and feel free to contact me with questions! Try this with one goal and see how it goes. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the results!
Have you started with an eternal goal yet?
What is holding you back from jumping in?
Who are you getting to hold you accountable?