“If riches increase, do not set your heart on them. God has spoken once, twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God. Also, to you, O Lord, belongs mercy; for you render to each one according to his work” (Psalm 62:10b-12).
My friend Mike used to say, “growing old ain’t for sissies!” Now that I am older, I get the point. Getting old is tough—and so is choosing to operate a business following Christian principles of faith; it takes courage to put your faith on display in a work environment.
Business leaders are accountable to define the rules of engagement at work—those policies and procedures governing how employees are to interact with one another, with the business, with customers, with vendors, with regulatory authorities, and with the community at large. Mission statements express purpose, statements of values and culture provide the moral compass, but the rules of engagement establish boundaries of behavior.
Poorly designed or unenforced boundaries of behavior expose the business to corporate scandal, fraud, theft, unfair competition, insider trading, misappropriation, betrayal of the public trust, and other assorted misdeeds. And even though the government has acted to shore up corporate responsibility in public companies by requiring certain standards of behavior be adopted, the parade of offenders keeps right on coming anyway. Pride, envy, greed, and idolatry are root causes of such behavior, and written rules of engagement are not always persuasive against them.
Even though some break rules, their offense does not obviate the requirement of leadership to be vigilant. What then? Start by examining yourself, squaring up your philosophy of business with your beliefs as a Christian. Your company has a mission statement and likely has a set of core values. Can you link them to specific Christian values? If you cannot, neither can your employees.
Here are some examples of Christian values that would be helpful in a work environment:
- “Remind them (the congregation) to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show every courtesy to everyone” (Titus 3:1-2).
- “You shall not steal” (Deuteronomy 5:19).
- Be a servant and have the mind of a servant instead of lord and master (Mark 10:43).
- “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).
- Treat others as you would be treated (Luke 6:31).
- Work with all your heart, as working for the Lord (Colossians 3:22-24).
There are real benefits to choosing to build your company’s rules of engagement on a foundation of Christian principles. For starters, you will sleep better. Second, inviting God into your Company exposes it to His blessings and guidance. Third, your faith will be tested and you will grow in your relationship with God. Fourth, you will make better decisions.
One hurdle to overcome in a secular society is the skepticism that accompanies overt displays of Christian principles (as in “People who live in glass houses should not play with stones.”) Still, good is good; and a Christian value system is a very good one—no pun intended. Look again at the list above. Nothing in that list should give a leader cause for alarm.
If you are a Christian, the truth is that God is your real boss. Someday you will be face to face with Him. He is interested in knowing the depth of your trust and your faith and that you are not afraid of being known to the world at large as a Christian.