Christian Perspective of Work
Christian Perspective of Business
by Dan Kaibel, CFP®
There have been many surveys over the years that revealed that it is far less of the majority of workers that feel fulfilled in their work. Many feel their roles are less important and less connected to who they are than they would like. I have had similar thoughts in the past but am thankful that I didn't accept the many (mainly well-intentioned) attempts at advice that others gave me that included, 'no job is perfect', 'as long as you're making good money and not hurting anyone' and 'be grateful that you aren't persecuted for your faith at work.
I went on a search on how best to view my work as a Christian. In other words, what did and does God have in store for me when it comes to work. So, during the search I found in Genesis that God found delight in His work when He said in Ge 1:31 that after seeing what He had made, declared it as good. As I continued to read in Genesis 2 I found God caring for His creation and then He commissioned human beings to work it. Then it hit me, god meant work to be a good thing, in fact it was good enough to be included in Paradise. For many the idea of Paradise wouldn't include work, but this is exactly where we first see work...in Paradise.
One of the thoughts that had significance to me was that God wasn't as interested in what I did, but how and why I did it. While it is true that God is more interested in my character than the exact nature of my job I realized that I wasn't getting out of work what I thought I could. It occurs to me that since He cares about everything in my life he does care what I do for a living. Something I had previously done was connecting some dots that said that since God put a low emphasis on what I did I postponed pursuing what I really wanted to do. After all, making good money, doing some things I enjoyed and working with good people seemed like it should be enough, until it wasn't.
I once spent some time pursuing church or parachurch ministry as a career and could see how that could work, but still I felt like only part of me was being 'used'. The thought of it still left me somewhat unfulfilled. One of the difficulties I was having was in how I viewed business. It seemed easier to see how a pastor benefitted God's plan by leading people to Him and His Word. Other areas that seemed easier for me to see as part of God's plan was the medical or mental health profession. Providing ways for people to be healed seemed an easy connection to God's plan. I saw the important roles of a police officer, a good attorney or judge helped bring order and justice, which certainly reflected God's character and plan.
I had difficulty getting a Christian perspective on business, so I continued to search and I fortunately found some good Christian books on the topic. I eventually could see more clearly that business is a big part of God's plan, not just as a source of funds for good things but business itself reflects the care He has for us. Business provides the needed resources and services that allow others to flourish. A good business transaction results in at least two parties gaining good value. That, in itself shows that God put a 'practical' way for us to not only serve others but gain in wealth or pay for our necessities as we do so.
So, knowing that business is also an important part of God's plan I wanted to better know what would a business that reflected His glory look like. Coming across a definition that a business exists first and foremost to make as much money as it can, I easily discarded it since that didn't line up with biblical principles that point us to integrity and love for others. Since businesses are in essence an entity, shouldn't that entity reflect something more than just a legal construct intended on producing some good or service for a price? Given than everyone that works there and those who began the company were initially created by God, then it would seem to make sense that the entity that was created also to reflect the Glory of God. So, while the business does need to make profits it needs to do so while serving others and giving its' employees an opportunity to use their gifts and abilities for not just pay but for the fulfillment that comes with doing a good job serving and adding value to others. I remember a time in business that it seemed a 'new thing' to look for new ways to add value rather than only looking for short term results. It occurs to me that since I am created by a very creative God, I should constantly be looking for ways to add value. This should result in not only a good business but one that brings God glory.