I have been involved in business for many years and people often ask me what
makes a successful business. I would have loved to say that businesses run by
Christian management are sure to succeed, but unfortunately this is not true.
The common denominator of all the successful businesses that I have dealt with
is the fact that management displayed high ethical values. Of course this does
not mean that people who display high ethical values are Christians. We do not
need to be Christian to do that. All we need to have is a developed sense of
what is right and what is wrong. When this is applied to our business dealings,
the long-term effect is always positive. The rules are really simple – be
honest with customers and suppliers, pay suppliers when money is due, and
respect your customers. Deal honestly and fairly with your employees and other
stakeholders in your business such as the bank and the old favourite – the
Revenue Authorities. Pay what is due when it is due. All these actions combined
will usually result in a good successful business. The implications are that if
the house is in order from an ethical point of view, there will also be a
strong work ethic, the quality of products or services will be of a high
standard and customers will reflect that in their payment patterns. This is a
description of a business that will stand up to the test of time. It is likely
to exist for many years to come.

As a Christian, I often think about this. The things that we list as ethical
behaviour is certainly taught in Scripture and should really be a question of
Christianity 101 for most Christians and those who apply them are also listed
amongst the successful business people. The sad thing though is that one can
hardly distinguish between a truly successful Christian business and a truly
successful non-Christian business. We are called to be the light of this world
and the salt of this earth, yet we are so part of this world – even in the
“good things” that we do – that as Christians we are really indistinguishable
from the world.

So the question is this: How will the world know that we are disciples of the
King. King Jesus himself gives us the answer. He says, “A new command I give
you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By
this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John
13:34-35 – NIV)

This then must be the one thing that makes us as Christians different to those of
the world. The love we have for one another. But it is not any kind of love. It
is not an emotional warm, fuzzy feeling we have towards each other. No, it is
much more. The love that we are to have for each other is the love that Jesus
has for us. Taking a few moments to ponder on this, we will soon realise that
this is a special kind of love. Jesus gave up His glory as King of the Universe
to become a lowly man, and to die the most ghastly death known to man –
suffocation while nailed to a cross, humiliated before the whole world. And
this He did not do because he deserved it in any way. He did this for us
undeserved sinners so that he may take God’s wrath in our stead so that we can
stand before the judgment throne pure and holy before the Almighty God, creator
of Heaven and Earth. This is a special kind of love to do something like this for
those whom you love – knowing that this ultimate gift of love will be rejected
over and over again. In years to come people will still mock this act of grace,
yet, He continues to love those who so desperately need His love, but do not
deserve that.

In our business dealings, dealings with our families, and community – are we
prepared to love those around us with this kind of love. It would serve every
Christian businessman well to read 1 Corinthians 13 every now and then – just
to be reminded what it is to love those that you deal with on a daily basis
with the love of Christ. Let us really be the light in this dark world by
showing the world how Christ loves us.

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Christian business principles, based on Biblical Truth