In a business world where “greed is good” and it seems like success and integrity are incompatible, how do we live out our Christian faith? What does it really mean to be a Christian in the workplace?
A Testimony of Truth
My business career spanned a total of forty-eight years. From corporate banking and mining finance to finally running my own business. As such, I experienced the business domain both as an employee and as an employer. Even though I had committed my life to Jesus at the age of sixteen, God did not really feature in the early part of my working years. Religion was not “macho” and as an adolescent, it was my way, the only way. Who needed God’s assistance when life was so “groovy”?
During the latter part of my working years, I served as a Rotarian. Rotarians conduct themselves in business according to the “Rotary 4 Way Test”. The first statement of the “Test” recites; “Is it the Truth”. And so it was during this period of my life, with “truth”, my attitude was fully transformed to trust God in all aspects of my business life. (John 17:17)
The word “Truth” appears two hundred and twenty-four times in the Bible; (KJV). The Bible is “Truth” itself and scripture direct us to Jesus, as the “Truth” (John 8:32, John 14:6). So with the “Truth” in mind and in all things, for both employees and employers, Christ should be the model for Christians in business. Jesus was known to be a man of integrity, even amongst His enemies. (Matthew 22:16)
Being a Christian as an employee
Remember that having a job is a blessing from God; If you claim to be a Christian but are always complaining, what does that say to your co-workers? Everyone has tough days, and it is okay to admit it when you are struggling. But, keep your overall attitude positive by reminding yourself of all that God blesses you with.
Treat others with respect: The highest merit of the Christian faith is “love”. Treat people with respect, value their opinions, and treat them like you’d want to be treated. Behave toward every person justly, regardless of position or potential benefit to you.
Remember the broader picture: While it may seem like those who cheat or lie get ahead, in the long run, the “truth” will catch up with them. Ultimately, everyone answers to God about the choices made in life. Be clear on your core beliefs; Every true Christian believer represents the faith as much as a pastor does.
Jesus came to serve, and his followers imitate Him: Serving others without boasting about it is a sign of strength and maturity. Great leaders are first of all great servants, and great service is modest, in both action and speech.
Pray: It’s not easy to live with integrity and perform your work with a positive attitude. But God gives wisdom to those who ask and will assist you to live your faith. Pray and ask Him for His guidance.
Being Christian as an employer
What then, are the key principles that set apart a business that places a high premium on Christian values? There are three biblical principles that stand out that define a Christian business.
Integrity: Integrity is about Christ-centred living. It’s about doing what is right rather than what is expedient. A business with integrity will make its business decisions based on the standards and principles of God – righteousness, truth, and honesty. “The greatest way to live with honour in this world is to be what we pretend to be” (Socrates 469-399 BC). A Christian business is the epitome of integrity. (Proverbs 10:9, Titus 2:7-8)
A commitment to excellence: If a business is to be recognised as an exemplary one, one whose goal it is to glorify God through its commitment to excellence in its service and product, it must always be cognizant of its role and mission in a “greed filled” business world. (Titus 3:8)
A Christian business should have a commitment to its employees: This includes fair compensation, performance recognition, and providing growth opportunities, both professionally and personally. Employers can hardly expect to be treated fairly by God if they fail to treat their employees fairly. (Colossians 3:22-24, Colossians 4:1, Ephesians 6:6)
Remember who is in charge
Remember, you’re ultimate boss is Jesus. He’s the one whom you serve in your job, whether as an employee or as an employer. What position you hold, has no relevance.
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24)