The Lord is the Owner and Operator of my business; He will supply all I need to serve my staff and customers.;

He invites me to take regular daily sessions alone with the Boss, to have periodic strategic discussions in a nice environment to gain a fresh perspective on our business.http://www.jhn316.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/shepherd.jpg

He restores the balance in my innermost being, between my thinking, my emotions and my will, so that I can make the right decisions at the right time;

He gives me direction to do the right things in the right way, so that His reputation is maintained by the way I do business;

Even though I am overwhelmed with problems and deep in crisis, I remain calm knowing that He is with me; that He will provide a way out of the crisis and give me the power to overcome the problems I’m facing.

In a tough marketplace with aggressive competitors, I don’t have to worry about what everyone else is doing but allow God to help me work out my unique business model to fully serve the customers.

Goodness and love, essential business assets will be constantly at my disposal both to receive and to give, and I will enjoy experiencing the Lord’s activity in every area of His business forever.

Read the accompanying article: “Discerning God’s leadership in business decisions.”

The businessman was visiting his psychiatrist. “Are you finding it difficult to make decisions,” asked the shrink. The businessman replied after some thought, “Well, yes and no!”
If you are like me, you are confronted with many tough choices each day and you seem to go from one decision to the next. Wrestling with important decisions in business can be like a mental tug-of-war in our minds, thoughts going this way and that at great speed, contemplating conditions and consequences; often a battle between our emotions and our rational thinking.

Entrepreneurs are known for their ‘gut-feeling”, the inner signal that you should just “go for it!”  The work of Jennifer Lerner at the Harvard Decision Science Laboratory (yes, this does exist!), shows how impossible it is to make the rational decisions we all think we make. In fact, she says she can predict decisions based on your mood. Get angry in the commute, and you’re more likely to make risky decisions at the office! Marketing and advertising people also target our emotions as a major motivator in making decisions.

So, what about the Christian in business? How should he or she make decisions? Rationally? Emotionally? Or maybe spiritually? Where can we turn to for leadership and guidance? How can we learn to hear God’s voice? How can we find the steps to take in developing our company? When should we decide to change plans if our current business is not working?

I love the analogy from David in psalm 23 and see 7 steps we can take to realize Gods leadership in making business decisions, as he guides us as a shepherd guides his sheep.

1.     The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

This tells me that the Lord is the source of guidance and wisdom and we are to look first of all to Him. Many times, when in a tough situation, we find ourselves trying to pull ourselves up using our own shoe laces! It cannot be done; the weight of the problem is too great. We need a force outside of ourselves to overcome the weight of the situation. As a shepherd He will guide us and lead us in to situations in which our needs will be provided for. God is our Provider. The promise is that if I acknowledge the need to look to the Lord first, then He will provide everything I need to operate the business as a manager of the assets He provides!

2.       He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,

Inactivity seems to be strange for us as ‘busy-ness’ people. We want to get things done, and do them quickly! When seeking the Lord’s guidance first, He tells us to quieten down, take it easy, rest a while. Hearing Gods voice is done mainly in quietness. It is often very tough to discern what God is saying amongst the cacophony of noises in everyday business. We need to take time away alone with God and listen to His voice. Every day at the office, I first spend some time reading some of the Bible and praying for my work. Now and then it is good to take a full day in retreat to be alone with God – not something I find easy to do. However, time alone with God gives me a new perspective, a ‘God’s-eye view’ of my circumstances and helps me to see the right course to take.

3.       He restores my soul.

Our soul (psyche) comprises our  mind, emotions and will. Taking time alone with God and getting to know His ways, will bring a restored balance between these three faculties. We will think more clearly, feel more intensely and be more decisive. Each of the three will influence one another as the Spirit of God interacts with my spirit to influence my soul; thoughts, feelings and will.  My emotions will not dominate and cause me to make impulsive decisions, my rational thinking will not be foremost causing me to miss the supernatural or emotional needs of others, and my will will make a decision taking both rationality and feeling into account.

4.       He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

God’s leadership will never, ever cause us to contradict His will as revealed in the Bible.  He will also never give us a Business principle we cannot keep. Our very popular workshop “Business by the Book” teaches many Biblical principles about doing business as a Christian to ensure we always walk in the right pathways. Our chief purpose in business is best stated quoting the Westminster Confession. “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever!”  My business is to glorify God. That means that He gets the credit, that His reputation is held high, that His good name and character is maintained in the marketplace as I do business bearing that name as a Christian.  I can also ‘enjoy Him forever.’ I can enjoy His activity in and through y business, seeing God at work in every department of the company en enjoying His supernatural provision!

In Psalm 32: 8, David repeats a promise from God who says “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” When facing a decision to cut a product line, terminate an employment agreement, raise prices or whatever – claim this promise!

5.       Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Times of crisis will come. Troubles will be our constant companions in this world.  Our faith will be tested in the marketplace. Sometimes God will discipline us in the personal development programme He has for each one of us. Through all of this, we can be assured of His presence. He has given us His Spirit to give us comfort, strength, discipline, faith and endurance in tough times. He will never leave us or forsake us. The metaphor of ‘His rod and staff’ has nothing to do with punishment! The rod of God ensures deliverance that no sheep is missing! The staff of God ensures His authority over all circumstances and over all evil. I experience God the most in difficult times. Then His power shows up strongest and people see Him at work more clearly when the going gets tough!

I think the most stressful time for an entrepreneur is when the time comes to pay the bills; especially payroll. Not having enough cash on hand can make you feel like you are in a dark valley.  Experiencing crises like these  is our invitation to change, to seek God’s will in operating my business; maybe to look at my cash flow, inventories and capital requirements again, and ask God for new resources and wisdom to be a good steward.

6.       You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

The marketplace is a tough environment. The policy of most businesses seems to be ‘shoot first or get shot’; cut corners if you have to – just don’t get caught; short term profit comes before people. When in survival mode, as many businesses are today, the rules of the jungle apply. Our competitors can quickly become our enemies and we can suffer. When ‘preparing a table’ nothing is hurried, but all is prepared for a peaceful occasion of fellowship with a meal.  As a business owner, I do not need to worry about what my competitors are doing, but instead concentrate on what God wants me to do and enjoy His provision.  I can then prepare the unique way in which God wants me to provide for my clients, as He helps me develop my business model.
The picture of oil, describes the ministry of the Holy Spirit in my business. First of all the Spirit anoints me for my task as a priest and king in the company. A priest represents people (my employees, business partners) before God and God before the people. A king carries out the operational tasks, leading, deciding, and judging. As a Christian in business I am anointed to the task with Gods approval and commission. The Spirit also overflows daily as I experience this anointing in my daily business.

7.       Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The Shepherd assures me of His never ending attention. I am certainly called to follow Jesus, but I only later realized that God follows me and gives me the goodness and love with which to serve all people with whom I do business.  Goodness is God’s grace.  Grace is unmerited favour. Looking back on my 40 years in business I can conclude that most business deals are finalized because of favour which God gives in the eyes of the customer.  Loving your neighbor in business, also means putting them first, serving their best interests and treating the other as you would like Him to treat you.

These wonderful business assets of ‘goodness and love’ come from the Good Shepherd and are essential ingredients of all business transactions.  The promise is that if we keep close to God, these priceless business assets will follow us and be available to our employees and customers.

Dwelling in the house of the Lord means to be the manager of His business, to experience His provision and leadership, to enjoy all that He wants to do through me – forever!

The Lord is the Owner and Operator of my business; He will supply all I need to serve my staff and customers.;

He invites me to take regular daily sessions alone with the Boss, to have periodic strategic discussions in a nice environment to gain a fresh perspective on our business.

He restores the balance in my innermost being, between my thinking, my emotions and my will, so that I can make the right decisions at the right time;

He gives me direction to do the right things in the right way, so that His reputation is maintained by the way I do business;

Even though I am overwhelmed with problems and deep in crisis, I remain calm knowing that He is with me; that He will provide a way out of the crisis and give me the power to overcome the problems I’m facing.

In a tough marketplace with aggressive competitors, I don’t have to worry about what everyone else is doing but allow God to help me work out my unique business model to fully serve the customers.

Goodness and love, essential business assets will be constantly at my disposal both to receive and to give, and I will enjoy experiencing the Lord’s activity in every area of His business forever.