Christian Business in a Competitive Me-First World
It’s true – He’s a Holy God. But our God is not a hard, unfair, uncaring and ruthless Lord. Some might read the Book of Deuteronomy and shake their heads at all the rules and regulations laid down for God’s people back then. If you unfairly focused only on selective verses, you might close your Bible and say: “I can’t believe it! God was so nit-picky! Does all that stuff really matter?”
Just to give you a little perspective – remember that you have grown up in a highly regulated society. There are societal norms and practices we take for granted today because that’s all we have ever known. For example, back then, there were no public health nurses to teach good personal hygiene or how to differentiate between what was sanitary and unsanitary. Inoculations and antibiotics had not been developed to prevent the spread of infections and disease. So make sure you look at the context and the setting of the verses.
But back to the point: don’t you love it when you are reading through a section and you bump into verses that give you an unanticipated glimpse into the beautiful heart of God. The faintest thought of God perhaps being nitpicky, hard, and uncaring quickly vanishes when you bump into verses like these:
“If you lend anything to your neighbor, do not enter his house to pick up the item he is giving as security. You must wait outside while he goes in and brings it out to you. If your neighbor is poor and gives you his cloak as security for a loan, do not keep the cloak overnight. Return the cloak to its owner by sunset so he can stay warm through the night and bless you, and the LORD your God will count you as righteous.”
Deuteronomy 24:10-13 NLT
Because the poor man needs to borrow money, the lender might think he is in a position of power. Intimidation tactics would not be uncommon. But here, the Lord says, even though you are going to lend him your money, you must still respect him – you do not bulldoze your way into his house and take something of value and hold it until he pays you back. No – you stand outside and wait. If all he has is a piece of clothing for you to hold as a pledge, then make sure you give it back to him in the evenings, so he can sleep in it. Wow! Now that is sensitivity. You might think that the Almighty God would not bother with such a minor detail – after all, who cares if a poor man who owes a lot of money has to shiver for a night? God does!!
Such business practices may not make sense in a dog eat dog world. “Well he owes me money. I have every right to make sure I get every cent back plus interest and to ensure I get my money back I have every right to take a lien against his car!!” Yes, business is business but, no, it isn’t. Christian business should be different from the cold, calculating, unscrupulous, win-at-any-cost business practices that characterize a godless society.
Christian conduct in business must always be characterized by sensitivity, compassion and care. Does it make sense to the corporate mindset? No! And it probably didn’t make sense back then either – but notice the last part of the verse:
“…it will be righteousness for you before the LORD your God.”
Deuteronomy 24:13 NASB
The bottom line for a Christian in business is not the company’s Balance Sheet or the Profit and Loss Statement; the bottom line for a Christian is the Lord’s perspective on whether it was righteous or not. It may not make sense in a cut-throat world but the important question is: does it make sense with the Lord!
Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today,
Warmly in Christ