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Doing God’s work God’s way

Business

Scott knew his company wasn’t a great business, but he didn’t realize how poor it was until one December.

During his annual planning time, Scott stepped back from his day-to-day responsibilities and asked himself some soul-searching questions. His answers startled him.

“If we manage the company extraordinarily well, how will we do?” The answer: Not very well.

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“If we sell the business, machinery, and equipment and rent the factory, how might we do?” The answer: Better with less risk.

Scott’s direction seemed clear: Sell the business and rent the facility. But there was one rub—and it was a big one.

Scott was a Christian and he ran his company with biblical principles. He had been upfront with everyone about that, and his employees had responded favorably. In the five years Scott had owned the company, it had doubled sales volume twice. His employees had worked hard, improved productivity, and were adapting to the new culture. He’d grown to love them and some returned the affection. Scott felt his place of ministry was his work, and how he handled this decision would be as important as any Sunday sermon. Asking God for guidance was the right thing to do.

A month later, Scott emerged with an answer: He decided he must shut down the plant, sell the business, and rent the building. But, in order to treat his employees as God wanted, he also decided to tell them of his plans three-months in advance and pray and work toward finding jobs for them that would pay more, provide increased security, offer better benefits, and promise a brighter future.

This plan was risky, and it went against the advice he had received from several local Christian businessmen. One told Scott it was a formula for disaster. Another said, “Your employees will leave before the three months is up and you won’t be able to produce orders.” Yet another responded, “The machine operators will sabotage the equipment.”

Scott listened, prayed, asked his wife’s advice, and sought agreement from his business partner, also a committed Christian. It became clear to Scott that he must begin this risky trek.

The day came for the announcement. There was sadness and disappointment among the employees, but the three-month notice received resounding respect. No one left before customers were satisfied, not a machine was touched in anger, and God miraculously provided jobs for all but a few who decided they wanted a break from work.

Scott and his employees learned two distinctly different lessons from this decision: The employees learned definitively that God was their provider and not Scott, not the state, nor the federal government, while Scott learned that God could do immeasurably more than he could ask or imagine if he trusted Him and did God’s work God’s way.

Most of us, like Scott, aren’t pastors; our work is our place of ministry—our calling. What would American Christianity look like if all Christians saw their work as their ministry and acted on that belief Monday through Saturday?

Bill Newton
Bill Newton

Bill is a pastor based in Asheville, N.C. He also serves as a member of God World Publications' board of directors.

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