Investing in Business

investing in businessInvesting in your business is more than just money.  It is time, effort, practice and prayer.

Our biblical principle for investing is from Matthew 25:14-30.  This is called the parable of gold or the parable of talents.  (Talents was a term for money usually gold in ancient times.)  We won’t go through the whole parable, but I want to glean some things from it.

The owner knew how much to leave each person.  The owner expected a return on his money. The owner was harsh with those who did not perform.

Yes, this is a parable.  It talks about the Kingdom of God, yet it has truths in this world or Jesus would not have used it as a teaching story.

When we talk about investing in our business we always think about money.  “You have to spend money to make money.”  That’s basically true, but we have time and talents that can also be invested.  Not to mention using the time and money of other people.

Investing in your business means that you are being wise about how you treat your employees, budget, income and leadership.  We keep track of budgets with income, expenses and all of those fun financial things, but how much do we keep track of how much we invest in our employees?

Again, I am not talking about money. I am talking about training, time and using their talents.

We can see from the parable that the owner knew what each employee was capable of.  He had trained them and spent time with them so he knew what he could entrust with them.  One of them did not perform, but that employee knew what he should have done.  It was not the return that was the problem, the effort and disobedience was the issue.

What to Invest in your business:

  • Money: Yes, you can invest money. You may need equipment, supplies, etc.  Just make sure you are accounting for these properly and you have a good strategy for long term growth.
  • Time: Investing time in your business is one things.  You want to invest time ON your business. You want to step beyond running your business and invest time in developing your business system as a whole.
  • Training: This one has two parts.  You need to keep training yourself so that you are always in the know and you want to train those that work with you.  Buy books, give them days to go to training, buy them affordable online courses.
  • Prayer: We should be investing prayer in our business, in our employees, in our families, etc.  I have never seen a business fail for having prayed diligently for God’s guidance.

 

Investing in your business means you are investing in the future. #Christianbusiness #Christianentrepreneur Click To Tweet

Investing in Others

business mentoringAs a Christian, you have the ability to bring others ever closer to their God-given potential. All throughout the Bible you see honorable men and women mentoring and investing in others.  We have names like Moses and Joshua, Naomi and Ruth, Paul and Timothy . . . just to name a few.

If you read yesterday’s article you understand the power that comes from investing in yourself.  Let me assure you that investing in yourself comes first.  It is how you honor God with all that you are.  Once you have your purpose in place, it’s time to invest in others.

Let me say it simply: The world needs people to believe in them. Each individual you meet is craving for someone to notice how God created them.

The more we believe in people, the more we show God’s love to those around us.  Just look at social media comments and you can easily see how people are treated.

Our world is a vacuum for positivity. There are so many people in this world just craving one little compliment to let them know they are worthy.  That one compliment may be just what they need to keep them moving forward in life.

I guess it all boils down to the question, who do I invest in?

I know that each situation is different, but let’s look at how Jesus spread out his time.

  • He spoke to crowds of people in open markets. (1000’s)
  • He had a large group of disciples that followed him. (100’s)
  • He had a small group that He lead and talked to personally. (10’s)
  • He had an even smaller group that He empowered. (1’s)

Jesus spoke to crowds of 5000 or more.  He had over 500 people who were following him as disciples.  He had 12 disciples in his core and he had 3 disciples in his inner core (Peter, James and John).

We should take Jesus as an example of our lives.  We have 1000’s on social media.  We may impact 100’s with our business.  We probably have 10 or so people that we can really see potential in and we probably can hone that down to three people who really need accountability, inspiration and motivation.

That is as simple as it gets.  Find someone to teach (lead) and set the example for them.  Talk to them specifically and if you can create a small group of three people working together you will have a strong core of people to invest in who can hold each other accountable.

The next two areas: inspiration and motivation, are similar, but I want you to see them as different.  Think of inspiration as encouragement and motivation as challenging.  For instance you may send a hand written note of encourage to one of your core about a project they completed.  On the other hand, you may send that same person a book on how to better manage a project if the project did not go quite as planned.  In each instance, you are helping that person move forward in understanding how God created that individual.

Inspiration and motivation are two side to investing others.  Paul had Barnabas as an encourager, but if you study their relationship, you will see that Barnabas often challenged, strengthened and questioned what Paul did.

Remember Proverbs 27:17  “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

If you have ever sharpened a blade, there are times when you need to scrape off the rough spots in order to get a good clean edge.  After you get a good clean edge, you then smooth that edge and keep it sharp.

Use this example and find three people you can help. It can be formal in a group setting or informal as you go about your day to day business.  Be careful about ‘playing favorites’ if you work with a large number of people.  You want to be seen as fair and honorable to everyone.

Motivate, Inspire, and hold others accountable, that is how simple it is to invest in others.  You don’t need formal training, you just need a good listening ear and a little bit of time.  If you have invested in yourself, you will be closer to God and by doing so you will bring others closer to Him.

Quick note of caution: Always work with same gender groups.  If you are a male and want to mentor some women in your office, make sure you have a group to work with and never be alone with one of them to avoid any office talk or accusations.

 

The world needs Christians to inspire others to reach their God-given potential. #ChristianBusiness #Christianentrepreneur Click To Tweet

Investing in Yourself

investing in yourselfWhen it comes to owning a business, your most valuable asset is you.  You were given the dream, desire and decision to grow your business.  God created you in such a way that you were meant to do something to impact the world.

Before we go too far, let’s look at the biblical foundation for this concept.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

You may say, “This is not about investing.  It’s about worshiping God and loving others.”  I would agree to some extent, but I want you to look further.

The verse says to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  How can you do that unless you are healthy in heart, soul, mind and strength?  How can you do that unless you have invested in yourself in all four of those areas of growth?

When we invest in ourselves we are investing in our worship of God. 

 

We want to love God with all of our heart.  We must invest time in emotional development.  We must seek deep into who we are and find our purpose.  We must then, worship God out of that purpose.

We want to love God with all of our soul.  We must invest time in developing our spiritual lives through Bible study, involvement with church, accountability, giving, worship, prayer, etc.  We must develop who we are as spiritual beings and children of God.

We want to love God with all of our mind.  We must sharpen our minds so that we can worship God with all of our faculties.  We must be ever growing our minds in the purpose that God has given us here on earth in order to honor Him.

We want to love God with all of our strength.  We must start by understanding that our body is God’s temple.  We must feed it healthy food.  We must commit to regular exercise, rest, etc.  We can’t worship God unless we first have the strength to do so in our body.

Investing in yourself is the first way that you begin honoring God.  If we go back to the verse, it says to love our neighbors as ourselves.  If we don’t love ourselves, how can we love our neighbors?  If we don’t love ourselves, how can we truly worship a God who created us the way we are?

As Christians, we should always be striving to be better in all areas of live.  When we start with the simple things we can control, we find ourselves loving God and loving others in increasing capacity.

Think of a 1% growth in each category over the next year. Here are some ways you may want to consider investing in the following areas:

 

Heart:

  • Take a personality test and get to know yourself better.
  • Evaluate your family life and your relationship with friends.  Get rid of any grudges and live in forgiveness.
  • Read Psalms and other Bible stories to identify emotions you relate to and see how people in the Bible dealt with those same emotions.

 

Soul:

  • Take a spiritual gifts test online and determine how God has made you to interact with the world.
  • Commit to regular spiritual habits: Bible reading, Prayer, Church involvement, Giving, etc.
  • Listen to Christian music (any style you prefer).
  • Listen to Christian leaders in business, pastors, or other areas that interest you (Youtube, Podcasts, etc.)

 

Mind:

  • Read a book that helps you in business.
  • Listen to a podcast from a leader you respect in the business world, preferably Christian leaders.
  • Watch a video about a topic that stretches your mind. (Don’t be afraid of opposing views.)

 

Strength:

  • Keep a food journal for a week and evaluate your typical diet. Adjust small areas to better your nutrition.
  • Implement a simple exercise routine start once a week, then three times a week, then six!
  • Get a fitness coach or accountability partner to help keep you on track.

 

I am not saying do all of these at once.  Pick ONE AREA and do ONE THING. Investments grow best little by little.

Life and growth is about small incremental moments.  1% growth in any area is easily attainable.  It could be a simple walk around the block, read a chapter of Bible each day and find a Christian podcast to listen to.

Note: you can do all three of these at the same time.  Listen to the podcast while you walk and eat a fruit or veggie while you walk . . . that’s a three for one . . . and if the podcast is Christian, it could be a little growth in all four areas with one simple activity.

Investing in yourself is not hard.  It just takes a bit of planning and strategy.  If you need help, contact a Christian business coach or find a mentor in your local area.

Remember, investing in yourself is honoring God with all of who you are. #ChristianBusiness #ChristianEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

You don’t need to compromise your morals or act ruthless to be successful in business. There are many Christians who are succeeding in business without compromising their values.

Thanks to SmartandRelentless for sharing this wisdom.

You don't need to compromise your Christian values to grow a successful business. #ChristianEntrepreneur #ChristianBusiness Click To Tweet

If I have put my trust in gold or said to pure gold, ‘You are my security,’ I would have been unfaithful to God on high. Job 31:24;28b

Listen as you read along

(running time 2 minutes 13 seconds)

(Right click here and “save as” to download audio MP3 – 2:13)

 

Job seems like an unusual place for a Bible study on business, but it holds some great wisdom for each of us.

If you know anything about Job, you know that he is tested when Satan makes a deal with God.  We won’t get into all the questions about that situation, but let’s look at this section where Job is recounting what he has done in business.

We must remember that Job was a business owner.  Everything was taken away from him and instead of wallowing in self-pity he began to regrow his business.  In doing so, he began to consider how he has treated others and how he has treated business.

Let’s take a brisk walk through this chapter.  He starts by talking about his morality and acting appropriately with women. (vs. 1-4) He talks next about being honest in business and making sure his scales are set correctly. (vs. 5-8)  He reminds himself not to covet. (vs. 9-12)

Then, in verse 13 he talks directly about how he treats those that work for him.  He talks about being honorable with them when they had a question about him or his business.  He reminds himself that God made them just like he made him.

He then cries out for the poor.  He takes account of his life to see if he has acted honorably with those in need.  He talks about the basic needs of food, clothes and even goes into situations like the orphans and widows.

Now we come to our focus verse where Job accounts his relationship with money.  He wants to assure himself that he has put God before everything in life including pure gold.  He praises God for simple things like the sun and the moon.

Lastly, he apologizes for thinking wrongly about his enemies.  He prays for any sins that he has committed and asks God to reveal any hiding guilt in his life.

As business owners it is easy to get caught up in running our business that we forget to set aside time to evaluate our morals and how we treat others.  Job is showing us that even in the middle of horrible times, we can assess our lives and give praise to God.

Honor, charity, value and sincerity are the traits that Job is showing.  He is recounting each part of his life and making sure that he is lining his life up with God’s word. When was the last time you went through all areas of your life to make sure you were lining up your life with God?  Let Job be a reminder for you:

If I have put my trust in gold or said to pure gold, ‘You are my security,’ I would have been unfaithful to God on high. Job 31:24;28b

A Question of Biblical Values

biblical values in businessWhen we talk about business, we talk about mission statements and value statements. Yet, we forget the foundational values of the Christian business owner based on God’s word.

We talked about the action of integrity and the decision of character.  Today, I want to get into the values found in God’s word.

Biblical values are the core beliefs that guide everything we do in life and business as a Christian. . . or at least they should be.

Instead of listing all the values we can find in God’s word let’s look at a good and bad example of using values from God’s word.

Let’s start with the bad.  There was a time, horrible as it was, when people used God’s word to force others into slavery.  They took the Bible out of context to fit what they wanted in this life.  They distorted God’s word to suit their needs.  Honestly, there are some churches that exist today that distort God’s word to make life comfortable for them or miserable for others.  That is not and has never been what God’s word is about!

Now the good.  I could recount hundreds of personal stories and all kinds of business stories I have read about God’s word impacting lives.  I could talk a bunch about Zig Ziglar who built an ’empire’ based on Christian values.  He is famous for saying, ‘You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”  I heard him say he got that right out of God’s word.   He ran his business and his life on the Golden Rule. (Here’s a great interview with Zig about his faith.)

Christian values simply means we are basing our lives on the Bible.  We have a foundation to God’s word that undergirds. . . upholds or braces…our entire life.  We use God’s word as the ‘glasses’ by which we see the world.  They tell us how we worship God, treat people, and interact with the world we live in.

The only way we can live by God’s word is to know what is says.  2 Timothy 2:15 reminds us that we must “correctly handle the word of truth.”

As Christian entrepreneurs, we must understand God’s word foundationally.  We must dig down deep into the solid foundational truth of what God says.  If God does not directly state a fact, we must be cautious to tread where only angels dare walk.

The Bible is not a convenient book.  It is however a book that will shape your life and your business in ways that will stand the test of time.  I think back to Zig Ziglar.  He left this world and what he built still stands and still grows because he based his entire concept of life on God’s word.

How good is your biblical understanding of God’s word?  How much do you really know about what the Bible says about business?  How much time do you spend digging into God’s word to find how He wants you to run your business and live your life?

If you need some help getting started, we have a free membership to help you get a strong foundation to what God says about the Bible.  If you would rather, I have a 10 minute webinar that helps you understand how to understand the Bible better.

Whatever you do, take action.

I urge you, plead you!  Until we dig into God’s word and apply His principles to our business and personal lives, Christians will never be respected as the Children of God we are called to be.  Do something TODAY, Christian!

 

Biblical values are the core beliefs that guide everything we do in life and business as a Christian. #ChristianEntrepreneur #ChristianBusiness Click To Tweet

 

Here’s some additional reading:

A Question of Character

business characterWhile integrity is something people see through actions, character is what arises beyond those actions and causes the decision to act with integrity.  It is something that comes from the core of who we are.

In our last article we defined integrity as treating others as anything less than valuable children of God.  Let’s try to nail down character in the same way.

Character is the internal driving decision to act with integrity.

Character is internal and never changes.  Having a high character does not mean you always do the right thing, we all mess up.  It means that you always strive to do the right thing no matter how you feel, how someone treats you or how the circumstances look.

One of the questions we had in the article on integrity was: Do you pay what you should pay even if you are charged a different price from a supplier?

Character is what it takes to notice the difference.  Most people would write it off as getting a good deal, but a person of character would make the call and verify the price.

Another question was: Do you show up when you say you will show up even if an emergency pops up?  This one is a tough one, but let’s identify character.

Character takes the moment the emergency arises and communicates to all outstanding responsibilities.  In other words, you would still be a person of integrity if you did not make the meeting if you called and explained the situation to the person you were meeting before the meeting actually takes place.

Integrity would make the meeting.  Character takes care of the emergency and communicates value to responsibilities outside of the emergency.  Character prioritizes while still handling responsibilities and the emergencies.

I guess you could say that integrity is the action and character is the decision that initiates the right action.  We have to become aware of what the right thing is to do and then our integrity comes out to make it happen.

Some people will say that character and integrity are the same.  That is fine.  But if you dig into the word origins you can see a difference. “Integrity” comes from the word ‘in tact” or “complete.” “Character” comes from a word that describes a stamping tool and means “a distinctive mark.”

As Christians, we are set apart and called to a higher purpose.  We act with a high moral character no matter what this fallen world throws at us. Character is the root of integrity, and ultimately, the internal drive that makes integrity possible.

 

 

Character is the internal driving decision to act with integrity. #ChristianBusiness #ChristianEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

 

Other reading on character

A Question of Integrity

business integrityWe are going to talk about attitude.  One of the first things we talk about as Christian entrepreneurs is integrity.

Integrity is one of those things that you know it when you see it, but it is hard to really nail down.

I want to make it as simple as possible and define integrity with a question and break that down into a statement:

Do you do what you say you will do? But, it does not stop there.  Anything less than valuing others as children of God is a loss of integrity.

With that simple definition in mind, let’s branch out on the various edges of the question and really ask yourself how your level of integrity is doing:

  • Do you give the highest quality to your customers as promised, even if it cost you a bit extra?
  • Do you do your best to get your products to your customers as expected and quickly fix any problems by going above and beyond to make up any errors?
  • Do you pay the extra hours when an employee forgets to put them on their time card even though you know he/she worked additional hours?
  • Do you pay what you should pay even if you are charged a different price from a supplier?*
  • Do you show up when you say you will show up even if an emergency pops up?*

*We will talk about character in our next article.

Integrity is something that Christian business owners should be known for.  A customer should never feel ripped off or slighted.  They should never feel that advertising and marketing leads them astray.  They should never feel like the business treats them anything less than a valuable child of God.

Anything less than valuing others as children of God is a loss of integrity. #ChristianBusiness #ChristianEntrepreneur #Integrity Click To Tweet

 

Here are a Couple of Interesting Reads on Integrity:

Henry Blackaby wrote “Experiencing God.”  I did not know until I saw this video that he was so involved in the workplace.

Listen as Blackaby shares about faith in the workplace:

 

Here’s some wisdom I caught from the video:

  • Character determines assignment.
  • Success is much more difficult to handle than stress and failure.
  • You are not to be recognized by man, but be recognized by God.

What did you find helpful from this video?

God wants you to be available to Him in business. -Blackaby #ChristianEntrepreneur #Christianbusiness Click To Tweet

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. 2 Thessalonians 3:5

Listen as you read along

(running time 2 minutes 08 seconds)

(Right click here and “save as” to download audio MP3 – 2:08)

Paul starts this chapter with a request for prayer.  He is praying that we, as believers, will continually spread the message of Jesus.  He asks for prayers of protection, deliverance and strength.

In verse 6 his whole message changes.  He warns about idleness.  I love verse 11.  Paul talks about idle people.  He says, “They are not busy; they are busybodies.”

He talks about how idleness leads to disruption.  When people don’t have a reason to work, they get involved in everyone else’s business.

This may sound like a weird passage to bring out for business owners, but there is a lot of value for us in this passage.  Look at how Paul set the example of others.  He did not take handouts.  He worked hard so that he could help others.  He was always in business and spreading the word of God.

I think we miss that point in scripture.  Paul worked in business as a tentmaker everywhere he went to minister.  He was called to spread the word of God and did so by working in his business ‘as an example to us.’

We must not discount how powerful our testimony is as a business owner.  We have the message of Christ living in our lives.  We have the privilege to be able to tell others about our Savior as we go about our business.

Let’s make sure we don’t get lost in the message here.  He is talking about idleness and working.  We are not to be busy for busy sake.  We are to work to make a good living for our family, help our employees and be a positive influence in our community.

If we provide a valuable service, others will want to get involved in what we are doing.  Those that are idle will see how we have developed a business based on integrity, faith and biblical values.  They will see you as an example.

In verse 13 Paul says, “as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.”  It is good to be in business. It is good to spread the love of God.  It is good to share the message of hope to an idle and disruptive world.

God gave you a great purpose. He placed you in business so that you may be an influence for Him.  You can’t influence others if you are idle and not lining your life up with what God wants for you.  God gave you a purpose, live out that purpose with His power, love and guidance.

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. 2 Thessalonians 3:5