So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 2 Peter 3:14

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(running time 2 minutes 4 seconds)

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Today we look at Peter’s second letter.  He jumps right in to tell you why he is writing.  He says he is writing as a ‘reminder to stimulate wholesome thinking.’

He points out that our world needs more wholesome thinking.  We live in a world that is full of scoffers and people following their own evil desires.  They devour and step on one another to get what they want.

He reminds us that we have to go back to the beginning.  Remember what God did at the beginning of time.  The world was born out of water.  He also reminds us that this earth is headed for destruction.

Jesus is coming back and He will keep his promises.  He is also patient because He does not want anyone to perish.  He wants to give everyone a chance to get to know Him. But, He will come back of this you can be assured.

Verse 10 says it will be like a thief in the night.  We won’t know when it is coming so we must be ready at all times.  Peter lays out what that looks like in verse 14.

We are to be spotless, blameless and at peace with him.  I went back to the Greek to see what the difference is with those word.  Spotless means unstained or pure.  This is the wholesome thinking Peter is talking about.  Blameless means without fault or unblemished. This means that even your actions are seen to represent Christ.  At peace means an inner peace.  It is used as a Jewish farewell blessing or a Hebraic sense of health and well-being.

Peter is reminding us that to live a wholesome life it comes from our thoughts, our actions and our inner spirit.  These are the things that keep us lined up with God.  It is about rightly handling God’s word and living it out in our lives.

Peter wants us to live our life by what the Bible says and not get caught up by what we see in this world.  It does not matter what the newest trends are.  It does not matter what the news says is important.  It does not even matter what laws go against our moral values.

What matters is the way we live our life.  What matters is the influence we have on this earth for God’s kingdom.  What matters is that we live our lives in a way that is always ready for God to come back.

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 2 Peter 3:14

business ethics scenariosWe have been talking about Christian business ethics this week.  We talked about what Christian business ethics are and we talked about how to set up policies for your business.

Today, I want to look at ethical scenarios.  There are no right or wrong answers as long as you are continuing to run your business on biblical principles.  With that in mind, take time to read these scenarios with your team, even if you are your own team.  Write out a step by step solution on how you would handle these scenarios.

 

Ethical Scenarios for Christian Business*

 

Business Ethics Scenario 1

The purchasing manager for a large company agrees to give you an order (their first).  He expects you to make a $200 donation to his favorite charity, a local youth sports team. How do you respond?

 

Business Ethics Scenario 2

A customer executive from Southeast Asia will visit your HQ facility and meet with your executive team. Your independent Southeast Asian agent requests that you reimburse the customer for his expenses, including expenses that could violate your company’s policies (and maybe even your Christian morals.) The agent will reimburse you. How do you proceed?

 

Business Ethics Scenario 3

A large, prospective client calls you and asks about a competitor’s reputation. One of your long time customers had a very bad experience with this competitor. What information do you share with the prospect? How do you respond to the prospect call?

 

Business Ethics Scenario 4

As department manager, you are hosting an informal celebration in the office. The food budget is $200. Your next door neighbor has just started her own catering business and asks to supply the food. Since she is just starting out, she’ll do it at cost and provide extra items at no charge. What might you want to consider?

 

Business Ethics Scenario 5

You see on social media that someone is smearing your company.  They are touting that your product or service is useless.  They claim that you charge too much and you are not a company of values.  This is on multiple social media channels including a review site that your company uses.  What do you do?

 

 

Business Ethics Scenario 6

You are in a head-to-head battle with your arch competitor, Evil Enterprises. One of your co-workers approaches you. He has recently joined your company after having worked for a second competitor for several years.

He suggests, “I made notes on all of Evil Enterprise’s bids when I could get the data. They use some clear cost standards. Would you like me to bring my notes to the office tomorrow and let you look through them?” How do you respond?

 

TAKE ACTION

Take time to go through these scenarios in depth.  Write down a step by step process on how you would handle each scenario.  After you have done this, answer the following questions based on what you found.

  • How would you respond?
  • What written policies do you have in place to guide your decisions?
  • What guidelines, policies or procedures do you need to implement in your business based on your decisions?
  • Do your employees know where to find these policies?  If not, consider a training event to focus specifically on ethics in the workplace.

 

Christian ethics in business means making the tough decisions for the right reasons. #ChristianEntrepreneur #ChristianBusiness #ChristianEthics Click To Tweet

 

*Scenarios from Markkula Center for Applied Ethics 

Christian Business PrinciplesThere are a lot of principles to consider when we are talking about Christian business principles.   It can be something practical like how and what to post on social media or it can be more general guidelines that guide day to day activities.

When I talk to Christian business owners, many of the issues that they bring up about being a Christian in business has to do with principles.  I have had people ask me if it is OK for them to make a profit.  I quickly tell them that if they don’t make money, they can’t help others.  Ultimately, it is about how helpful we are and charging what we are worth and their customers can afford.

As far as Christian business ethics, there are a lot of principles to consider.  I pulled together a list from various places online.  (See links at the bottom.)  These are issues that each Christian business owner must consider in their business.

Caring for one another vs competition

If you have a sales team, does competition overtake caring for one another?  When a new position opens up, is there resentment from those not hired?  How do you structure your business to enhance caring over competition?

Resource Management vs Waste

How do you handle buying supplies and keeping track of what is in stock?  How do you care for your employees with salaries and cost of living increase?  What happens when budget needs to be cut?

Greed vs Giving

How much money do you give from your business to Kingdom work?  At what level does giving change?  How much money do you keep in the bank?  How much money do you invest in your employees?

Earning Profit vs Helping Others

How do you define the parameters of how much you will charge for your products or services?  How do you define the value you bring to customers?  How do you help others who need what you have but truly cannot pay for it?  How do you mentor young people?

Borrowing and Lending

How does your business handle borrowing?  What is the policy for buying new equipment or larger facilities?  Do you lend money to others from your business?  Do you put money in stocks?

Protecting Reputation vs Attacking Others

How do you respond to negative publicity?  What happens when someone leaves a negative comment online?  Who is responsible to respond via social media or public events like a news conference?  What happens if someone else responds or makes a comment from your company?

 

Each business has their own set of rules and situations for their particular situation.  There are some universal principles which gives us a good foundation to build on.  As you can see, there are many other principles to consider, but these Christian business principles should be enough to get you started developing some principles for your business.

EXERCISE: Set aside an afternoon with no interruptions.  Take out a piece of paper.  Go through each of these questions and answer them honestly.  If another question pops up in that category, then put your question and answer on your paper.

What you are doing is developing an ethics and principles document for your business.  Keep it simple.  You can have each question on a sheet of paper in a binder with a simple table of contents.

 

Christian business principles guide us to be Christ’s ambassador in our business. #ChristianBusiness #ChristianEntrepreneur #ChristianEthics Click To Tweet

 

Here are some other online resources I found helpful and may help you as you develop ethics policy for your business:

Christian Business Ethics

christian business ethicsLet’s look at Christian business ethics.  What is it? Why does it matter?  What can we do about it?

 

Defining Business Ethics

Investopedia defines business ethics as “the study of proper business policies and practices regarding potentially controversial issues, such as corporate governance, insider trading, bribery, discrimination, corporate social responsibility and fiduciary responsibilities.”

Wikipedia defines it as “a form of applied ethics or professional ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that arise in a business environment.”

As Christians, we add a layer of accountability onto our business because we know that God is in charge of our business.  We have the Bible as our guideline for all of our principles and policies in our business.  We have a higher moral structure to everything we do, or at least we should.

Here’s what the Bible says about ethics in Colossians 3:1-6:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

 

Why do ethics matter?

Everyone wants to be treated fair.  Ethics help us define what is fair in business no matter what the circumstances.  We need to have a set of guidelines that helps even the newest person we hire understand how to handle tough situations.

Ethics are hard to nail down specifically, but you know it when you see it.  Setting up guidelines can be easier if you have the Bible to guide, but it may be hard to find all of those edges of things that could happen if you don’t take time to to really understand the core values in your business.

 

What can I do about it?

Write out some basic understandings in your policy and procedures manual.  Put in your values and the codes that your business operates by.  Allow the moral structure to be clear and concise, but make sure it is broad enough to cover your business.  Here are three questions from “The Power of Ethical Management” that may help you define the ethical policies of your business.

  • Is it legal?
  • Is it balanced (fair)?
  • Is it right?

If you really want to nail it down your business ethics run some scenarios with your staff or at least the leadership. This will get everyone in the same mindset and help you find holes in your policies.  Keep is moving and think about what ‘could’ happen and how your company should respond.

 

Conclusion

Christian business ethics is about living your life by biblical standards and running your company as though God is in charge.  It’s pretty simple in theory, but living it out is a daily decision.  When times get tough and shortcuts can be made, we have to stick to our true north: God’s word.

 

Christian business ethics means God is in charge and you know it. #Christianbusiness #ChristianBusiness #Christianethics Click To Tweet

 

God-given Passion – VIDEO

Today we look at James 4 and talk about our passions in business. God-given passions are part of what we do in business, but if we are not careful they can get distorted.

Thank you Coach Carey for continuing to share insight about business from God’s word.

Click here to read James 4:1-10.

growing business skillsBusiness grows as you grow gifts, talents and skills.

It may be weird to think about, but as your gifts and talents grow, so does your business.  God built you to grow and He wants you to excel in all you do.

Let’s think of a ladder.  You have to take a few steps up to get dishes from the top shelf.  A few more steps up and you are changing a light bulb.  A few more steps and you are out of the house and on your way to the roof.

It’s the same you and the steps.  The ladder may be different, but the steps are the same.  You put one foot in front of the other.

Business is much the same way.  You only need a few skills to get started.  As you reach higher destinations, you need to add a few more steps.  Then, when you are ready to really grow past the ceiling, you must step outside and really climb.  You must push yourself and have a sturdy system to take you where you want to be.

 

How are you doing in developing new skills to take you to the next level? 

(Click here to view a webpage where you can grow business skills for only seven dollars per lesson!)

God has gifted you to grow. #Christianbusiness #ChristianEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

Using your gifts

Christian business giftsThe Bible is full of failures yet each of those failures accomplished something great.

Look at Samson.  He had powerful strength.  He had the blessings of God, but he rejected them for a woman.  He was blinded and made to work hard without his strength.  But he turned back to God and in his last final breath brought down the enemies of God.

I love the story of Samson.  The ending is tragic, but it did not have to be.  Imagine what could have been accomplished if Samson had stayed in line with God. What if he had lined his life up the way God had planned: how much more would he have done for the Kingdom?

God gives us gifts.  We can choose to use our gifts for our own personal desires or choose to use them for God’s purposes.

You have a choice today.  Do you use your gifts to build God’s kingdom?  Do you build your business on the principles that God gave you?  Do you satisfy eternity before you satisfy yourself?

Make decisions based on eternity and the present will always point towards God. #ChristianBusiness #ChristianEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

Business Bible Wisdom: Growth

Business Bible WisdomBusiness Bible verse wisdom: Everyone is in some stage of growth.

Let’s look at 2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”

Quick Wisdom from this Business Bible Verse:

The Bible is full of images of growth.  We see images like seeds, babies and money.  Jesus frequently uses parables that include growth.  He talks about the Kingdom of God.  All that He teaches is applicable for this world as well as the Kingdom.

God built us to grow.  All through our lives we are growing. More than that, we are growing towards eternity.  Our spiritual lives are always growing and so is everyone else.  As a business owner, we must see people in light of eternity.

 

Putting this Business Bible Verse in Practice:

Evaluate yourself.  On a scale from 1 to 10, where are you in your spiritual growth.  One being a baby Christian, ten being as close to God as you can get here on earth.  Set a plan to read the Bible, prayer, get involved in church, etc. to get your spiritual life to the next level.  Remember, 1% change is all it takes!

Pray for each of your employees.  Pray that God will allow you to influence them for His Kingdom.

Encourage Growth: Take a moment to find employees who you see growing.  Encourage them and help them take the next steps.  You can also acknowledge them or reward them.  What gets rewarded, gets repeated.

Encourage Dreams: Take a moment to find an employee who is not doing well.  Talk to them and ask them about their dreams, goals and aspirations in your business or elsewhere.

 

Even business growth takes our mind from the now to eternity. #ChristianEntrepreneur #Christianbusiness Click To Tweet

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8

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(running time 2 minutes 23 seconds)

(Right click here and “save as” to download audio MP3 – 2:23)

 

The book of Romans is a great book to grasp how the spiritual side of life fits into our real life.  We start off chapter 13 with a talk about authorities.  When we see political debates, it is hard to imagine that God is still in control, but He is.

As a sovereign God, He is in charge of everything that happens, even in politics.  We can vote for our favorite candidate, but we must accept who God puts in charge.  We do our best to respect them and keep our mind set on eternal things.

In verse 6 we talk about taxes.  We should pay what we owe in taxes, revenue, respect and honor.  I love how Paul takes money and reminds us that paying for something comes out of our respect for the system, the people and God.

As business owners, we should respect our employees and show them honor.  We do so with our words, actions and the way we pay them.  As far as taxes, God wants us to pay what we owe, but that does not mean we have to overpay. Be wise in the way you treat money as well as the way you treat people.

The only debt that should remain ‘outstanding’ is that of love.  This is not about being in debt, it is about remaining in debt.  Pay what you should pay and continue to show love to all those people who surround you each and every day.

“Love your neighbor” is a phrase that ends this section.  We must realize that our noisy next door neighbor deserves love as much as the neighbors we like.  The people we work with are neighbors.  Our employees are neighbors. Our vendors are our neighbors.  They deserve respect, honor and love.

As we finish out this chapter, Paul talks about the way we live.  As business owners we know that people look to us as an example, especially when they know we are Christians.

Paul reminds us what it is like to work in darkness, then tells us to put on the armor of light.  We should clothe ourselves with Christ and not focus on how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

The masses are drawn to the flesh and flashy riches.  They love to see the Lamborghinis, Yachts, and rolls of Benjamins, yet what do those really represent?

It discounts people to serve money rather money serving people.  It doesn’t show how much we care for others.  It does not show how important people are to God. In our business, let’s step up and highlight people.  We can show them the love that God created for them.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8

business potential purposeBusiness Bible verse wisdom: People want to find their purpose.

Let’s look at Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Quick Wisdom from this Business Bible Verse:

As business owners we are specifically positioned to help others find their purpose.  Outside of parents, the only role that is more important is that of a teacher.  Yet, in reality that is what we are as leaders in our business.  We are teaching people about a solution we have in our business.  We are teaching people about their role in our business.  We are helping people develop and become the person God created them to be.

God plants a seed of purpose inside each of us.  Then God uses people and situations to water and care for that seed so that it may grow.  Each person you talk to becomes a seed that needs your care. As a business owner, you have the responsibility to care for all the seeds that God puts in your life.

 

Putting this Business Bible Verse in Practice:

Pray that God will confirm your purpose in your business.  Go back to the reason…the why…you started in business.  Why did God draw you into this business?

Find one person in your business that you believe has good potential.  Encourage them this week and water their seed of purpose.

Take the next step and select one person to mentor.  Create a specific time outside of business hours.  It could just be one evening or one morning a week.  Lead this person in understanding the Bible and help them find their purpose. (If you are a free faith member, you have Bible Study resources to help you in this process.)

 

Business is an opportunity to water the seeds of potential and help people find their God-given purpose. #ChristianEntrepreneur #Christianbusiness Click To Tweet