More Paradoxes in Business
By: Rick Boxx
In September I wrote about paradoxes in business, how commonly held and widely accepted views about how to conduct business often run counter to a biblical worldview of the same practices. Here are two others we should consider, both involving money management:
Financial Stewardship. When I was a commercial lender, a young man excitedly began telling me that Steinway Piano, a well-known company with a storied history, was for sale and he wanted our bank to loan him the money to purchase the company.
I admired this individual’s ambition, but was stunned when I asked how much money he needed to borrow. Without hesitation, he replied, “I think they will probably want $200 million, and I will need to borrow all of it. I’m only 25 and I don’t have any money.” Apparently he expected me to walk out to the bank’s “money tree” and get him the amount he needed without any questions, not to mention collateral.
As you might guess, we did not loan this big-idea young man the money, but this experience has always stuck with me as a reminder of how casually people consider the use of debt in business. This illustrates a paradox we find in the business world about the use of money: The world often says use all the debt you can borrow, whether it is for a business, buying a house or even going to college, but God says we are to trust in Him, not the bank.
Proverbs 3:5 teaches, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” We are tempted to wonder whether God truly has our best interests at heart, especially when a seemingly good opportunity presents itself and we think we must act quickly to capitalize on it. However, the Bible teaches we are stewards or managers of financial resources God has entrusted to us, not the owners.
We see this declared in 1 Chronicles 29:11, “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O LORD, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things.” God entrusts much to our care, but expects us to use it with wisdom – and by seeking His guidance – rather than acting by impulse.
Generosity. Here is another area where we see a great paradox between common practice and a biblical worldview. When I was in banking, one of my largest accounts was a construction-oriented business led by Sean. He squeezed his vendors for all he could get out of them, rarely providing anything in return.
Sean’s business was profitable because he drove his people hard and pressured his suppliers to minimize the expense side of the ledger. But few people enjoyed doing business with him. He was operating according to a philosophy we often hear in the business world, that we should hoard our wealth. God, however, says we are to be generous, willing to freely give as He directs.
Then Sean had a dramatic spiritual conversion. He went from being a “taker” to becoming an extremely generous “giver.” In fact, over the years since he has given away millions of dollars to many worthy charitable causes. A changed man, he is doing what the apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:18 when he admonished, “Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.”
Until next week!
Copyright 2013, Integrity Resource Center, Inc. Adapted with permission from “Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx,” a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. To learn more about Integrity Resource Center or to sign up for Rick’s daily Integrity Moments, visit www.integrityresource.org.
© MONDAY MANNA is a weekly issue of CBMC INTERNATIONAL a non-profit, evangelical ministry that exists to serve business and professional people as followers of Jesus; to present Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior to business and professional men.