Despite some people’s belief, business and Christianity can and should go together. As Christian business owners it is important that we act like Christians in the business world. It just takes a post, customer service response, or even a single tweet to cast a dark cloud on our testimony. A Christian business should ultimately be led and decided by the Lord.
Having the Lord move and speak to you is an extremely powerful occurrence. If you believe in the Lord and open your heart to Him, He will help and guide you to run your business as a Christian would. Do not take this lightly, if the Lord decides to speak to you through your business represent Him proudly and spread His word to all those who will listen and read it.
If you haven’t started a business yet but want to, first, pray and ask the Lord if this is the right move for you. He will, of course, guide you in the right decision. Next make a list of business ideas that you are passionate about or a subject you could be considered an expert in. Whether that would be a service based business, selling products, or just about anything else, you want the love of your business to radiate to your customers and clients.
The Bible gives us specific characteristics that a Christian should have in Colossians 3:12-15:
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye. And above all these things [put on] charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”
Each of the characteristics listed in the Colossians 3:12-15 could, and should be, incorporated into our business. By displaying these Christian characteristics in our business we are following God’s Word and being a testimony to those who we interact with. So let’s take a look at them more closely.
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness,longsuffering;”
What is mercy?
God shows us mercy by forgiving our sins and not punishing us for them. God withheld judgment from us. Mercy is not receiving the judgment you deserve. As a Christian we are not to judge others.
According to the Webster online Dictionary mercy is:
1 a: compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offenderor to one subject to one’s power; also : lenient or compassionate treatment <begged for mercy> b: imprisonment rather than death imposed as penalty for first-degree murder
2 a: a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion b: a fortunate circumstance <it was a mercy they found her before she froze>
3: compassionate treatment of those in distress <works of mercy among the poor>
As a believer in Christ we need to show mercy to others. We are not to judge others but to show compassion. So how can we incorporate this into our business?
1. Dealing with hateful and rude remarks, comments, and feedback.
Have you ever gotten a rude or downright hateful comment or feedback in regards to your business? I’m sure most of us have at some point in our business careers. It is a fact of life that everyone is not going to agree with you, your opinions, and how you run your business.
The real question here though is how do you deal with those hurtful remarks, comments, and feedback? Are you quick to judge the commenter based on those typed words? Instead of being judgmental next time you get a rude or hateful comment respond in a kind and loving fashion. Let the commenter see the Jesus in you.
After the shock of the hurtful remark as worn off, go back and read it, see if it has any merit and if there are things in your business you need to pray about or change. Do you need to change a process to make things simpler for your customers?
2. Be respectful to others business owners in your same space.
Do you often make assumptions about other business owners? I am guilty of this. It is easy to assume that just because a business is growing, getting invited to events, have obtained sponsorships, have a large Facebook following, or has great blog traffic, that they have the perfect life. Or that they are stuck up and snobby. Or that they are undeserving of such success.
None of those things are for us to decide. Assuming things about a person is the same as judging them unfairly. We should be respectful to fellow business owners regardless of their success or lack of success.
3. Support other businesses.
Genuinely supporting other businesses is often easier said than done. Sometimes we think we have nothing to offer or we think we just don’t have the time. Of course, another reason could be, “Why help them if it isn’t going to help me?”
Part of showing mercy is having compassion for others. This includes helping when you are able. Many times we are only supportive because we get rewarded for it, whether it be some link love, making contacts, or just for kind words. By being compassionate we support and help others without looking for a reward. We do it because it is the right thing to do and it is what Jesus would do.
The main goal is not to judge others, be respectful, and be compassionate. If you start treating people this way, they will start treating you the same way. It’s like the old saying, “Monkey See, Monkey Do.” Be an example Jesus would be proud of.
What does kindness mean exactly? I found the perfect definition at DiscipleshipTools.com by Dr. Richard J. Krejcir:
“Kindness (Rom. 2:1-4; 12:9-21; Ephesians 4:32; Col. 3:12-14; 1 John 3:16-23) is the medium through which Christ’s love becomes tangible through us. It is practicing benevolence and a loving attitude towards others. Kindness is the essence that shows the world that we are a Christian, like the fragrance coming from a flower. It is being convicted with God’s Word, and then modeling it to others. Kindness is the subject to the object of who we are in Christ!”
WOW! Kindness is a way in which Christ’s love becomes tangible through us! It is being benevolent and having a loving attitude. Kindness is a way for others to see Christ in us.
Webster’s dictionary defines it as, “Showing tenderness or goodness; disposed to do good and confer happiness; averse to hurting or paining; benevolent; benignant; gracious.”
How can we apply this kindness to our business? Oh let me count the ways!
1. Have a loving attitude.
When you write your emails, social media posts, or create products who do you create for or serve and do you have a form of love for those people? If your business is targeted towards mothers do you have passion and love for them? I know there are a lot of different opinions on this, but I personally think you need to be running a business about something you have passion for. Something you love.
For me that is the Lord and technology. I have a business that teaches about the Lord and another that teaches about online technology. It’s effortless for me because it is my passion, my love. Your passion and love for a subject and audience shows through the way your run your business and the products or services you offer. Having a loving attitude will help you really connect with your idea customer.
2. Be Gracious.
Luke 6:31 tells us, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
This is common sense but it seems like it is forgotten a lot in today’s society. If someone leaves a comment on your blog or social media platform, tell that person hanks, visit their website or social media platforms and leave a comment, or even better do both! It always makes my day when I receive some type of response to my comments.
If you are hosting a giveaway, tell the sponsor thank you! If you have sponsors who purchased ad space, tell them thank you! Tell your customers and clients you! Most of this stuff is common sense but can make a huge difference in your business because few people actually do it.
3. Be adverse to causing pain.
Don’t knowingly cause others pain. If you know leaving a comment on a certain social media or blog post would cause the person to be hurt, is it really necessary to do so?
Don’t openly flame a person on your website or social media channels. According to the Bible if we have a problem with someone we are to talk them privately first to try and workout any differences. Blaring all your issues with another person online never does either of you any good. Just think before you do.
Humbleness is something, I think, we all struggle with. Being humble is no easy task. So what does being humble actually mean?
According to Webster dictionary it means:
1: not proud or haughty : not arrogant or assertive
2: reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission <a humble apology>
According to the Bible it means the opposite of being proud: “…Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” James 4:6
The best definition of being humble I have ever read is from the site, Foundations for Freedom:
“Humility is accepting ourselves as we really are before God.”
Being humble means not being proud, arrogant, or full of ourselves. We have to recognize that we not perfect, in fact we are sinners who need the Lord. We all have faults but with the Lord we can overcome them.
So how can we incorporate humbleness in our businesses?
1. Encourage other business owners.
Philippians 2:3 tells us, “in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves”.
We should encourage other business owners even if it results in them becoming more successful than you. If you find a business that has a great blog post, product, or service, give it some Twitter and/or Facebook love. Leave a comment letting the business owner know you enjoy watching their business grow. Email your mailing list about them. There are numerous ways we can help to encourage other business owners.
2. Accept that you cannot do everything.
As a business owner we often want to believe that we can do everything and be everything to everyone. One of the greatest things you can do for yourself and your business is to realize that you cannot do everything! It is impossible. We are not perfect. However with the Lord’s help we can get help to manage everything. Just make sure you prioritize what is really important, time with the Lord and your family.
3. Be Careful Not To Brag and Be Boastful.
This one is tricky. If you accomplish something exciting you want to be able to share it with your audience. However at the same time you do not want to sound prideful, boastful, or appear to be bragging. Just choose your words wisely and be sure to give all the credit to the Lord.
According to Random House Dictionary meekness can mean three different things:
1. humbly patient or docile, as under provocation from others.
2. overly submissive or compliant; spiritless; tame.
3. Obsolete. gentle; kind.
The biblical definition is a little different than the one from Random House. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words explains that the Greek word used for meekness in the Bible verse Colossians 3:12 is prautes, which is similar in meaning to gentleness. While the word meekness can at times refer to a person’s outward appearance, such as patience, gentle, kind, it can also refer to Christians who accept the Lord’s dealings with us as good and does not dispute or resist them. We are submissive to the Lord’s will.
The common definition of meekness is easy to incorporate in our business.
By being patient and kind, by not complaining publically, by not leaving a comment that could create conflict, we are showing the outward appearance of meekness. But what about the inward, spiritual, side of meekness? How can we incorporate that in our business?
1. Stay true to your faith.
In the business world it is easy to get sidetracked and involved in less than Christian-like activities, such as jealousy, envy, or gossip. We need to remember why we started our business and ask ourselves how is our business giving glory to God.
2. Pray for your business.
How are we supposed to know God’s will for our business if we do not pray for our business? Prayer is our way of communicating with God and allows us to have a closer relationship with Him. If we are praying for our business and doing God’s will in regards to our business then our business will be successful.
In Colossians 3:12 the greek word makrothumia is used for longsuffering, which simply means patience.
According to the Random House Dictionary the word patience has several different meanings:
1. the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
2. an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner.
quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence: to work with patience.
There are so many ways we can incorporate patience into business. A couple that jump right out at me are the following:
Don’t give up. If you start a business and then get discouraged because you are not getting the results you desire, don’t give up. Keep going. Pray. Ask for God’s will. If you do the work and it’s in God’s will, then success will come.
2. Without Complaint
Does it make sense to complain about things we cannot change? No it doesn’t and in the business world things are always changing. Ad networks change the way they work, social media networks revise their rules and regulations, and even platforms such as WordPress or PayPal make changes you may not like. If something changes that you do not like you have two options, deal with it or move on. Complaining is not an option and does not do anyone any good.
By doing these simple things we are incorporating the Christian values that we hold dear in our business and we are also showing the love of Christ. We are acknowledging that we are separate from the world and that we are children of God.
The greatest gift that you could ever give your customers is God’s word, even if it is just by example.
As a Christian you not only receive the blessing of being able to run a business that you are passionate about, but you also receive the guidance and the love of our Lord. Nothing can be a more rewarding experience than that. As long as we run our business God’s way we are becoming the type of person God wants us to be and will grow closer to the Lord. Plus we get the added benefit of being a great help to others and securing an amazing business testimony.