Updated: 2 days ago
I want to talk to you today about running a business that pleases God.
In business, we're taught to constantly be testing products, examining customer response, and measuring profitability so we can please others. We know what pleases our investors is more return on investment. We know what pleases our social media followers by measuring the likes, comments, and views. We know what pleases our customers by their willingness to buy more and pay more.
So often, measuring and testing, and examining business initiatives allows us to make wise decisions and so to run healthier, more flourishing entrepreneurial lives.
However, when we are so focused on measuring and testing everything in business, we end up valuing the things that we can easily measure - and not valuing what we don't measure. The danger here is that we could be so focused on getting the numbers right that we forget about the most important kind of test: does this decision please God?
This happens to me with this blog, Daily Godpreneur. In the monthly operations of this business (yes, this is a business), my team and I can easily place a high value on those things that are easy to measure and see.
How many website visitors did we get this year versus last year?
How many blogs did I write this month?
How many minutes do I spend writing each day?
How many people took my YouVersion devotionals this month?
How many followers do we have on our social media platforms?
How do I appear to others around me?
Do people look up to me and praise me?
These things are easy to test, and so my team and I value them. The danger is that if I get into the routine of measuring these numbers, I might not pay attention to something else the Lord wants me to see.
We all have metrics to measure our effectiveness and success in various ways in our businesses. However, we must ensure those numbers don't become the idols that could lead us instead of God leading us.
What we should do is start the other way around. We should first work out what matters and then test our businesses against what matters. But that’s the challenge. What does matter? What are the standards we should test our God-first businesses by?
In his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul tells us Godpreneurs to test our Christian walk. Paul gives us a standard - a measure - to use when doing that testing. But the measure he gives us is not something we might naturally use in our day-to-day business operations.
The Bible says
Test to see what is pleasing to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:10)
Paul brings up two themes in this brief verse. First, a Godpreneur is to be discerning. Romans 12:2 says, "that by testing you may discern what is the will of God." Second, a Godpreneur is to please the Lord. Christian business owners can't be "people-pleasers," though we are to serve the marketplace well. We are to live to uplift and serve others. However, the Kingdom entrepreneur's ultimate aim is to please God, not people.
Do your products or services please the Lord? Does your social media please God? Do your operations please the One who allows you to run a business in the first place? Will hiring that potential employee please God? Does that new revenue stream opportunity please the Lord?
“What is pleasing to the Lord”: this is the standard and mindset you run your business by. This is the measure that gives value to everything in your God-first business. And this is what you need to scrutinize and examine your decision-making by — not what is easily seen or even measured in your accounting or marketing reports, but what is pleasing to the Lord.
WHAT IS PLEASING TO GOD?
How, then, do we know what pleases the Lord in our business today?
Paul always instructs his readers on how to live out the Christian faith. Ephesians 5:1–21 has priceless instructions on how we Christian business owners can operate in a God-first manner in our respective marketplaces. Rather than imitating the business world or being controlled by worldly success, Godpreneurs are to be filled with the Spirit. Specific flaws like sexual immorality, crude speech, and wasting of time are discouraged (we've all seen publicly what it looks like for a celebrity or successful business owner to have his or her entire business life fall apart by some kind of scandal). Instead, believing business owners should submit to one another out of respect for Christ, providing a powerful witness to the world.
In a nutshell, this is what will please God. However, I'm going to apply the Godpreneur Method to Bible verses so you can do your own research on what will please God in your business.