I had a great meeting this past week at C12. We discussed challenges that we are all facing in regards to trying to run our businesses according to our Christian faith. The funny thing is that even within a group like this, opinions can differ. While there is a part of all of us that wants everyone to agree with us, I know that is not possible – or healthy. Engaging in healthy debate, even about things like eternal perspective, is a great way to grow.
As I attempted to explain my beliefs regarding how we should run our businesses from an eternal perspective, I realized I have never formally prepared a well-thought-out, Scripture-supported basis for my position. I have certainly studied verses and passages that have led me to believe, and therefore act, the way I do. What I have not done is to lay out my beliefs in an organized argument so that I can respond appropriately when asked about my “Why?”
So, I am going to work on this. I will give you a few of my thoughts in this post, but I promise to come back later with the results of my work. I cannot promise a bullet-proof thesis, but I will present my prayed-over thoughts in a way that you can understand and validate through Scripture.
I do not expect everyone to stop, applaud, and agree with me on every point. As I said before, that is not reasonable. However, I do hope to spur you on to do some of your own thinking. I hope to encourage you to think about the Scriptural basis for what you do. For now, I just want to pique your interest a little and hopefully get some feedback and/or suggestions.
First, I realize that it is not necessarily wise (with some possible exceptions) to take one verse, or even passage, and base all of your beliefs on it. An understanding of the whole of Scripture is most often needed before trying to apply single verses or passages to your life. It is for this reason that I have several verses that come to my mind when I start thinking about why I run my business from an eternal perspective.
Basis For Eternal Perspective
Having said that, if there is one central Scripture to my beliefs in the area of doing business from an eternal perspective, it is the following passage from the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.
If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, each one’s work will become obvious, for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. If anyone’s work that he has built survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, it will be lost, but he will be saved; yet it will be like an escape through fire.
1 Corinthians 3:11-15
I did an earlier post on this passage, and I talked about those temporal things so many of us pursue to one degree or another. All of these will burn in the fire mentioned by Paul above. I, for one, do not want to spend my life working for anything that will only last for a short time. I would much rather be focused on producing fruit that will not rot – that will last for eternity.
What Will Survive The Fire?
See, the way I look at this passage, the only things that we can build while we are here on earth that will last beyond our lives here are not things we can touch. Anything I can physically touch will be burned up in the fire. I cannot think of a single item that will not burn up in the fire.
On the other hand, those relationships we build will last. The memories we have will last. The souls we pointed toward a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will survive the fire. While the businesses we operated will burn, the impact that we had through our businesses will last.
Obviously, the way we choose to impact others will depend on the way God designed us and the choices we make. Some may impact others through teaching, others may choose serving. There will be those who give and those who comfort. God wired each of us differently.
However, while the method can vary, the fire will not. It will be the same test for all of us. No one is exempt from the testing fire. If that is truly the case, then I think it makes the most sense for us to focus our energies on maximizing our efforts in areas that will produce fire-proof, eternal fruit.
For me, that means I make every effort to run my business in a way that produces the eternal fruit, not the kind that will rot or burn.
As I said before, stay tuned for a more detailed and organized argument for doing business from an eternal perspective. If you have any feedback either way, please submit it! I would love to have perspectives from other people. When possible, tell me the Scripture on which you are basing your belief.
Have you thought through why you do business the way you do?
Is your motivation based on Scripture or something else?
What do you think will last through the fire?