Leadership in the Marketplace
by: Mr. William M. Moeny and Dr. M Marie Sanders
Motionless, I sat staring out the plate glass window to the shop floor below. Work goes on as usual, machines hum, the staff hurries from place to place. All seems normal. But, my stomach churns as I sit in silence and stare.
What did I expect? For one thing I expected it to be much easier than it is! After all, there isn't all that much to being a Christian on Sundays. I go to church, I'm nice to others, and I give a little money. So a few months ago when my friend, Bob, invited me to that meeting about running my business for Christ I thought, "Sure, why not? How hard can it be? I already treat my employees fairly - well, within the law anyway. I pay the company bills on time and we make a pretty darned good product, too! So, what else can there be?"
But you know, after going to some of those group meetings, I'm beginning to see that there's a bit more to it than I'd thought. It seems that it's getting harder rather than easier to handle this 'stewardship' thing they teach at these meetings. I keep wondering - where am I supposed to get the energy and power to do all the things they teach? I certainly can't do it all! Truthfully, I don't even know where to start!
Bob's friend, Phil, is a typical Christian business leader from just about anywhere in the world. His heart is in the right place. He loves Jesus and truly desires to please Him. But, like so many of us, he doesn't truly understand what is required as a steward of a business owned by God. He is finding that the greater his understanding becomes, the less he is capable of accomplishing the task. He lacks the power and the wisdom needed to truly succeed. What is he to do? What are we to do?
Philippians 2:13 tells us that God provides both the will and the way to work for His good pleasure (paraphrased). Contained within the riches of the Scriptures are the power, wisdom and direction for leading a company for Christ.
The New Way
Jesus is calling us to a new way of living - a new way of leading our companies. He is calling us to allow Him to operate "our" companies through us. Phil is learning is that Jesus was serious when He said "Without me you can do nothing." (John 15:5). We can do nothing that makes an impact on the Kingdom of God without Christ doing it through us. The transformation from leading our companies our way to leading them for Christ as the business owner is significant.
Jesus said "Remain in me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." Our goal as business owners is to bear fruit - fruit that will last. In other words, we want our actions and activities with the company to have eternal significance. Jesus is simply telling us we cannot do so without Him. So, how do we "remain in Christ"? And, how do we lead our companies so that the power of Christ flows through us in all we do?
Steps and Stages
There are a series of steps or stages of understanding and belief that lead from operating my company the way I want (according to the best business wisdom I can find) to operating it Christ's way.
The first step is to understand that when Jesus paid for my sins on the cross He purchased me, thus He purchased "my" company. "You are not your own; you were bought at a price." (I Corinthians 6:19b-20a) The purchase contract was complete: all I have, including my company. I have been bought out. It is no longer my company, but the company and I belong to Christ. Understanding the truth of this passage of scripture is key to effectiveness for the Kingdom, as a business owner or leader. Therefore, the first (perhaps most significant) step is releasing control of "my" business to Jesus Christ.
Much like the experience of salvation (where we recognize that we cannot save ourselves but rather require the sacrifice of Christ to pay for our sins and save us), the same is true with our businesses. We cannot operate our businesses to make an impact for the Kingdom by ourselves, but require Christ working through us to make an impact for the Kingdom.
From a logical perspective, why would I not release the control of the company to Christ? If I would hire a business consultant to help me lead my business, why not have the Lord of all creation telling me how to operate His business? This is the most logical business decision.
So, the questions facing us are:
- Have I acknowledged that Jesus is Lord over "my" business?
- Do I act and make decisions that are consistent with that fact?
- Do I believe John 15:5 to be true?
- How does my behavior reflect my belief?
- Am I willing to make the change needed to allow Christ to lead the business through me?
May we suggest you take these issues to the Lord in prayer? Does He agree with your answers to the questions? Ask Him to show you where the changes need to be made.
This article is from Christ@Work, an organization committed to: Changing our world, one company leader at a time
Their objective is: Reaching the Workplace for Christ.
In 1977, current Chairman of the Board Robert "Bobby" Mitchell and a handful of Christian business executives formed what was to become the very first "small group" in the history of FCCI (Fellowship of Companies for Christ International).
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