With politics, the stock market, and the economy seeming to be so unpredictable to most of us these days, it is very difficult to know where we should invest for the best long term gain. If you talk to a handful of financial advisors, you will likely get a handful of opinions on the subject. Unfortunately, this is not a game that allows us to sit on the sidelines…we must participate. How then do we invest for the best long term gain?
As you might guess, I have a little different perspective for you to consider on this topic.
Recently, I read a powerful book (Essentialism by Greg McKeown) that taught me the need for better delegation. When we properly delegate, it allows us to focus our attention on those issues and tasks that require our skills and ability while offloading those tasks that do not (Acts 6:1-7). It also helps in the development of our team members so that their skills can increase. While there are many benefits to delegating, there is one responsibility that a Christian leader cannot delegate…that is prayer!
As Christian leaders of our organization, department, or team, we have several responsibilities. Among these responsibilities are casting the vision, setting priorities and goals, and holding the team accountable. In many cases, we can delegate parts of each of these areas to qualified team members. As I said above, there are many benefits to doing this.
But there is one responsibility that you simply cannot delegate to your team – not even to your inner circle. This responsibility is prayer.
As followers of Jesus, we often look around at the culture in which we live and wonder how it has become this bad. We look at poor leadership at whatever level – whether in our businesses, community, or even in the nation overall – and we wish for better. We wonder what it would be like if our leaders also followed Jesus.
Why Allow Poor Leadership?
In my last post, I talked about how we should behave when working in an environment where the open sharing of our Christian faith is either limited or even prohibited altogether. We looked at the example of David in 1 Samuel 24:1-7 to see how he handled remaining under Saul’s authority as king, even though he had been anointed to follow Saul as king.
Today, I want us to think about the various reasons that God may have for leaving Saul in authority as long as He did. Have you ever thought about that?
If you have been reading this blog for long, you realize that the majority of what I write is directed at those people that are followers of Christ AND in a position of leadership in business. Unfortunately, some disciples of Jesus are working for a non-believer or are otherwise in a position where they feel they are limited in their ability to exercise their faith. What are you to do if in this position?
Not One Size Fits All
First, I want to make sure to tell you that the following ideas will not necessarily apply to every situation like this. In some cases, you may need to get out of your situation. In other cases, God may have you exactly where He wants you. It is these latter situations that I want to address today.
If you have been in business long, you have likely found yourself in a weak position from time to time. Maybe key personnel left for other opportunities or a new competitor came onto the scene. Whatever the case, you knew your organization was vulnerable.
What if God asked you to do something right then that could potentially wreck your fragile situation? Would obedience be easy for you?
Years ago, I had a key, long-term member of our company’s executive leadership team come to me and resign. His reasons were valid and I supported his decision even though I did not want him to leave.
I was raised to believe in free will. I was taught that God gives us complete and total choice in our actions and behavior – therefore no sin is unavoidable, right? Well, evidently this is not completely true. It appears that there is unavoidable sin.
According to Proverbs 10:19, this unavoidable sin comes into play when we talk too much. Take a look at the verse and see what you think:
When there are many words, sin is unavoidable,
but the one who controls his lips is wise.
The way I read this verse, some sin is unavoidable. At the same time, I think this is really more about timing. If you think about it, the author is saying sin becomes unavoidable WHEN there are many words.
The days get faster and faster.. Deadlines and headaches rush at us at a high rate of speed. We do well just to survive to fight another day, right? It is in this kind of environment that Christian business owners or leaders can get so busy and we forget some key truths about our ministry. Hopefully, this post will remind you of some ideas you need to revisit.
Christian Business Leader Truths
1. You must live by example and to a higher standard.
As the owner or leader of a Christian business, you are the example to follow, whether you like it or not. You are the head of the business and your employees are going to look to you for the example. What do they see?
As Christian business owners and leaders, we are usually very involved in employee decisions on a consistent basis. In fact, that part of our job can absorb a majority of our time. Our ability to handle these employee decisions well can also be one of the biggest influences on the success of our company, as well as the ministry we desire.
Ruthless vs. Rigorous Employee Decisions
Assuming this is true, then it is clear that we must devote time to learning how to best handle these employee decisions. While we all agree that issues concerning people often account for the majority of the time and energy we spend in our jobs, many Christian business owners fail to spend much time thinking about their approach to this important subject.
With all of the recent news about mass shootings, have you ever stopped to think about how you would respond if you had advance notice of a similar pending tragedy and had the time to avert it? Would you step in and prevent the crisis? What if this exact same danger is coming from your hiring practices?
Proverbs & Business Practices!
I have been going back through the book of Proverbs with my “business glasses” on. I have been looking for business truths that we can apply to our business. If you have never done this, I strongly recommend that you try it. If you would rather let someone else do that and tell you about it, then keep reading!
Assume for a moment that you only have enough tuition money to engage a teacher for yourself OR for your children. What do you do? If you are a Christian business leader, this same question could apply to you OR your employees. Who do you teach first?
Teach Yourself First
In his book, Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money, Rabbi Daniel Lapin refers to Deuteronomy 11:19 to give us the answer.