Have you ever had an incredibly selfish business partner? I have, and it's a terrible relationship to experience.
This person only lived for himself. Whatever decision was made for the business, it was made with only his interests taken into consideration. The very few times he "seemed" to help someone else, it was because he had something to gain from it. To him, every relationship and move was transactional, and I was sitting front row to experience it all.
Imagine being a Christian entrepreneur like myself and getting into business with someone like this. The entire time I thought about how self-destructive his behavior was and how opposite we are in business. I would see how he talked to contractors, employees, vendors, and even his business partner, and I would cringe. It was the opposite of a peaceful working environment.
Ultimately, the business fizzled away in less than four months, and we went our separate ways. After dismantling the business, I saw this person sink into the darkest depression and extreme debt. It was painful to watch because I truly have a love for this person. I genuinely wanted to see him grow and succeed as an entrepreneur. He has great potential.
We've all experienced someone like this in business. Whether it was a client, employee, or business partner, we've come face to face with this kind of selfishness, and it's terrible to be around.
Some of us have even been this selfish person. I know I used to approach business selfishly.
We all fall into one of three categories.
Like my business partner, we operate a completely selfish entrepreneurial lifestyle,
A growing Christian that is leaving a selfish lifestyle and the Holy Spirit is taking over, or
A mature Christian who walks a Holy Spirit-led entrepreneurial journey alongside Christ for the glory of God.
How do we change from putting ourselves first to becoming the loving, Christ-centered Godpreneurs we are created to be?
I believe we all start selfish until the true work of the Holy Spirit begins to change us.
God's word holds the key to achieving selflessness in business relationships: we must serve one another as if we're serving Jesus.
The Bible says
"Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ." (Ephesians 5:21)
Ephesians gives several practical ways Christians can express being filled with the Spirit. In verse 21, Paul brings out another, which is mutual submission. Submission in the context of a Christian's business relationships includes the idea of putting others, and their needs, above yours. This is not for personal benefit but somewhat out of "reverence for Christ." When you serve employees, clients, and business partners, you serve the Lord (Matthew 25:35–40). It's a mutual submission because you submit to both simultaneously.
This approach, however, stands in stark contrast with worldly marketplace wisdom. I suspect because money is involved, the principle is often taught to put ourselves first or help others so that you can benefit. Yet Paul offers us, Christian business owners, a higher and better way, noting that our service to others is service to the Lord. This is an essential principle in Godpreneurship. This is an integral part of kingdom-driven leaders following the example of Christ, who submitted to the will of the Father and gave Himself as a sacrifice for us.
Imagine if we all accepted the open invitation to have Christ's attitude towards others in the business world - LOVE!
Prayer for Today
Lord God, we thank you for sending your son Jesus to save us. Jesus is the example of life, and we want to lead our businesses with the same attitude that He did. We want to empty ourselves and humbly obey You until the end. Fill us with Your love, Lord. Give us Your eyes to see our employees, clients, vendors, business partners, and even competitors the way you do. Give us Your ears to hear them. Give us your heart to love them. In the name of Jesus, amen.