As a guy who came out of the military and then business world into full-time vocational ministry, I am still intrigued by the business world. Especially as to how God views business and how business should be conducted in order to glorify the Lord. It often seems that people try to separate business from their spiritual lives – which is absurd from my point of view.
I have the privilege of teaching in the MBA program for a Christian college and it continues to astound me how the students approach business from an entirely secular point of view as if their faith has nothing to do with how they conduct business.
In trying to learn more, I have come across a book by Dr. Jeff Van Duzer, the Dean of the Business School at Seattle Pacific University (where my oldest daughter now attends). His book, Why Business Matter to God (And What Still Needs to Be Fixed) is an excellent resource for a Christian in business.
I particularly like his basic premise regarding business:
“. . . at this time in history, there are two legitimate, first-order, intrinsic purposes of business: as stewards of God’s creation, business leaders should manage their businesses (1) to provide the community with goods and services that will enable it to flourish, and (2) to provide opportunities for meaningful work that will allow employees to express their God-given creativity. . . . When managers pursue these particular goals for their companies, they participate directly in God’s creation mandate. They engage in work of intrinsic and not just instrumental value. . . In the Genesis model, however, the employees and customers become the actual ends of the business. The business is run for their welfare. Profit is not important as an end in and of itself. Rather it becomes the means of attracting sufficient capital to allow the business to do what, from God’s perspective, it is in business to do – that is to serve its customers and employees.”
For those of us trained in secular business schools and steeped in business books, the fact that profit is not the end may be challenging. We may say we understand that, but often our practices belie that statement. If you are in business, it should be as stewards of God’s creation so that He is glorified in all that you do.
For His glory and His alone!