Christianity rightly embraced, will bring about change for the better in the person. Paul spoke of himself as having been “an insolent overbearing man”. That changed.
There used to be a saying that some person “was too heavenly minded to be of any earthly use”. But this is not so. In reality, a person with a truly heavenly outlook will be a better husband, a better wife, a better child, a better employee or employer. Being occupied with the Lord and His interests will develop a keener sense of responsibility to all things around me. The Ephesian epistle, where the highest level of Christian privilege is outlined, instructs us in the need to fulfill everyday, earthly duties. Our responsibilities are determined by our relationships in life.
It is a shame that so many times Christian employees are not what they should be. I remember many years ago a brother who was the owner of a company that sold typewriters complaining that he had never been so disappointed as he was with Christian employees. My father had a small business and found the same. In my own area of business I was sorely disappointed by such. Is it because a Christian working for another believer thinks that he can do as he pleases? In English, we have a saying that “familiarity breeds contempt”. The apostle Paul combats this problem in 1 Timothy 6:2, ”And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them because they are brethren; but let them the rather serve them with subjection, because they are faithful and beloved, who profit by the ready service rendered”.
In Colossians 3:22-25, bondmen are given an extensive exhortation. They are reminded that they are not just serving a man, but the Lord. We have a higher motive than that – “ye serve the Lord Christ”. He is our motive and it is He who will ultimately reward us. In Ephesians 6:5-8, we have a similar instruction.
A Christian can use his business to be a blessing and a testimony to others. I quote a good example of C. R. Ogden in Sydney, makers of ‘CRO’ furniture. Some 40 years after the owner died, he was spoken of in terms of respect and awe. Tradesmen were speaking of their previous bosses in the lunch room, and Claude Ogden’s kindness, his Christian witness and his interest in his workers’ welfare was recounted. He had also been a financial support to the Billy Graham crusade in Sydney in 1959. The latter came and spoke to the workers.
A person is tested very much in his own business, because money and love of it is the issue. One businessman and preacher, when challenged about something he had done that was not straightforward, answered: “That is commerce”. He seemed to have two compartments in his life – business was one, and the Lord’s things another. Some Christians have the idea that because a Christian businessman is wealthy, it means the Lord has blessed him. This is not necessarily so. We get what we go in for. It may mean that he has just given undue attention to his business and his heart has been set on making money. Making money itself is not wrong – it is wrong when it displaces the Lord, when it becomes avarice. Experience has shown me that some believers are just as harsh in their dealings as any man of the world.
This leads to another point – we should be able to be like God in our dealings with others. Are you selling something? Can the buyer feel that everything has been fair? One brother was boasting to another how he was able to get such a high price when selling his house. The second brother replied: “But was it a fair price?” I have never forgotten that comment. God is always fair. Even in matters of judgment, neither men nor angels nor demons will be able to say that God has not been fair.
Francis of Assisi is quoted as saying: “Preach always; use words when necessary”. My actions amongst men should be such that I should at any time be free to speak the words of the gospel.
MM December 2008