From the Bible on Business – Opportunity

Your Opportunity

We have an opportunity in our day to day business life to make a difference. Many times these opportunities are viewed as obstacles or challenges and no matter how scary or how much we fear them, it is through Gods power we are able to get through them.

Some examples might be working with non-believers or working in difficult environments. Your situation may be hard to deal with and you find yourself wondering why you are in this position and how it could ever turn into an opportunity from God?

I have found myself in this position many times throughout my career and constantly find strength in the story of Esther.

Mordecai believed Esther was placed in the King’s household by divine appointment to do God’s timely work. He had witnessed the power and faithfulness of God unfold over the years and sensed God was bringing all the pieces together. He pleaded with Esther to put her life on the line because he believed in the promises of God. It took an unparalleled amount of courage for Esther to go before the king.

We have our opportunity as Esther had hers.

Difficult situations are no excuse for failing to perform the duties God puts in front of us. With opportunity comes choice and we can choose to sit back or to grasp the opportunity we have been given and draw from our faith and make a difference.

With God we are able to face those fears head on and accomplish what he has put in front of us. God also helps us overcome those fears through our faith and obedience to him. We can choose, just as Esther did, whether or not to respond. It serves to remind us, God takes care of us no matter what the circumstance.

Dianna Benavides is a regional director for EmployBridge and resides in Houston, Texas.

““All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live.

Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days.” So they told Mordecai Esther’s words. And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!””

Esther‬ ‭4:11-16‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

From The Bible on Business – Stewardship: Part II

The things that we are given to steward have an owner, and it is not us. The verse says, “…he entrusted to them his property.”

I tell people I own a company. They agree. Bill you have a great company they say. So I believe it. But this verse says I steward His company. He entrusted to me His property. Which one is it?

My behavior will reveal what I believe.

I had a company for over 25 years. One day, my finance manager informed me I must provide $350,000 in 14 days, or we would have to close the business.

Years earlier, when I believed I was the owner, it would be my problem and I would worry, lose sleep, and pressure my friends to get the money to save the business. You probably already know how anxiety feels.

But this time I believed I stewarded the company, so I reported the problem to the true owner. I told Him He needed to come up with $350,000 in 14 days, or I, His faithful steward, would have to close His company.

Then I asked, “What do you want me to do?” He said, fast and pray. So I did.

On the 8th day, $172,000 came in and on the 11th day a major customer changed how they paid us and sent $200,000. So in 11 days we received $372,000 which was more than enough to cover the $350,000 need and the company continues to exist today.

During the process of going through the 14 days, I did not have anxiety. I did not worry. I was looking to see what the Lord would do after I reported His problem to Him. Since it is His property, I felt certain He would act for His own benefit. And He did.

We are used to thinking is terms of me doing things or Him doing things. Actually, it works best when we do things together. He does the heavy lifting.

Because I did not take on a task of solving His problems, I did not take on more responsibility than I was supposed to. He promises an easy yoke. If my yoke is heavy, I have picked up the wrong one.

Bill Job has been a faithful steward of multiple businesses throughout China.

From the Bible in Business – Resolute Leadership

Resolute Leadership

I’ve always been intrigued by Luke’s phrase “and Jesus fixed his face for Jerusalem” (9:51). Others have translated this action as “resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” Regardless of the translation, it is clear Jesus adopted a posture of focus on the mission and he calls business leaders to do the same. If we’re going to follow Jesus in this manner, let us consider three leadership principles from this passage:

  1. Good leaders know the mission.

Throughout Luke 9, we see Jesus reveal significant aspects of his character and work to the followers. Although often misunderstood, the gospels paint a picture of Jesus as one with clear purpose and passion — that he pursued resolutely.

  1. Good leaders pursue a purpose beyond themselves.

From the miracles to Simon Peter’s proclamation to the Apostles debate over greatness, Luke 9 weaves together several instances where Jesus could have easily decided to pursue his own greatness. In fact, it seems the disciples in their misunderstanding actually believed this to be His intent. In the end, Jesus knew his purpose was to pursue the will of the Father and only in His “leastness” would “greatness” be found (9:48).

  1. Good leaders strive for goals that require the work of others.

Luke opens chapter nine with Jesus’ commissioning of the Twelve and follows with multiple instances of Jesus doing work requiring their participation. From managing the crowds (9:13-17) to conversation about His identity (9:18-27), the disciples were integral to Jesus’ mission.

So, the work of business leaders is to build culture and lead organizations that create value. In order to do these things, Jesus’ lessons from Luke 9 encourage us to (1) be clear on the mission, (2) make sure that the mission is more than our personal gain and (3) pursue goals big enough to require the work of others.

Dale Gauthreaux teaches leadership and organizational behavior at Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business in Atlanta, Georgia.

Yes, indeed. Good fundamental words of advice.

Get a hair cut

I went for a job at 16. I was laughed at, and told they would never hire a high schooler. Then jokingly he said as I left the room “If you cut your hair you got the job”.

So I show up the next day with my beautiful locks sheered off. When the gentleman that interviewed me saw my hair, his eyes widened in shock. Half laughing, half nervous he said “I was joking…” but then he thought for a minute, and said “A deal is a deal, you’re in”.

Not only did I become the highest performer on his team, I eventually started a new branch for him. Then bought the branch, and then ended up being his business partner.

Opportunity comes to the bold. The ones who take action. The ones who want it. You can live your whole life wanting more. But until you cut your hair, or make that phone call, or buy that domain, you will stay where you are.

Be the force driving your life.

Levi Lindsay, from LinkedIn

This reminds me of a story. There was a high school boy who wanted to borrow his old man’s car for a little trip.

His father was not a fan of his son’s long straggly hair nor the idea of him driving that far. So he said, “Son, if you cut your hair so it’s high and tight, you can take my car.”

The teen replied, “But Dad, come on. You know, Jesus had long hair and was trusted by His Father.”

His dad instantly replied, “Yeah, and He walked everywhere too.”

What can a religious guy offer a business guy like me?

“So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.

When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”

And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.

And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.”

Luke‬ ‭5:1-11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The fishermen (small business guys) are working hard, despite a disappointing night. In the distance the religious are following this new holy wise man around, listening to every word he utters.

The workers (fishermen) are not happy, after failing to meet the sales quota the night before. Imagine …. possibly owing money on the boats, worried about nets lasting, no fish means no money to pay debts and feed family and tired having worked all night. Too tired for religion, probably falling asleep in the sermon!

What can a religious guy offer a business guy like me?

Though the workers are stressed, the holy man Jesus steps into the boat wanting to use business assets for church purposes. He asks to be taken out from the shore so he can continue his sermon.

You can imagine the thoughts, “I’m busy, I’ve got work to do. This boat is for work, not idle chatter.”

Jesus, a carpenter, then tells Simon how to run the business – “throw the nets out again.” Simon knows his business – you don’t fish in the middle of the day and there are no fish, having tried unsuccessfully all night.

We can fall into the trap of believing faith has nothing to offer the world of work. In the everyday, work is about logic, faith is about dealing with the unknown. Most do not get paid for that.

But to leave Jesus out of our business world is to miss out on an abundant blessing. Jesus entered Simon’s world of work and his work was blessed, his life was turned upside down, and the salt and light effect drew others to what God was doing in Simon’s life.

Simon was humbled to see God’s gracious and abundant blessing pour over him. It’s that humility which helps us be most available to God, so the mission can be blessed and God be glorified.

Jesus wants you to invite Him into your “boat”. What business or work circumstance do you need Jesus to step into – into your boat – to bring significant blessing, calm the storms of business or take your business to a new place?

Liam Glover is the director of Arrow Leadership and resides in Melbourne, Australia.

Quick take: We see in this passage, Jesus is a gentleman and politely asked Simon (later renamed by Jesus, Peter – the Apostle) to help Him by using his boat, though He could have walked out and stood on the water. Apparently, Jesus preferred co-operation and enjoys teamwork in that instance.

Peter complied and obeyed though it didn’t seem logical. Sometimes we just need faith and to trust God when He calls upon us. God’s gives us free will to make many decisions but not their consequences. In this case, big time abundance came AFTER Peter and his crew’s obedience.

Peter said, “nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” Then he DID it.

What might God be asking you?

What will you say and do…nevertheless at Your word I will _______.

Leave me a comment below, if you wish.

A Good Name / Reputation

“A good name is more desirable than great riches, and loving favor is better than silver and gold.” Proverbs 22:1

Avoiding shortcuts and not burning bridges are two ways of protecting your reputation. Being pleasant to deal with, regardless of how difficult a situation or how bad a deal goes, will ensure your reputation stays in place. 

Being a leader we will rise or fall on our reputations. Leadership is not an excuse to lord it over others, it is a position from which to serve both individuals and organizations. How we do so will determine our reputation.

The Bible places such things above material gain and above precious jewels. We too should have the same perspective. We are the physical manifestation of God’s love to the world, after all. Often people will judge God by how they see us.

Protecting our reputation protects God’s reputation; we are, after all, His representatives.

Quick Prayer: Please protect my reputation. Amen.

From Seven Proverbs for Leaders by Mark

Proverbs 21:5

“The plans of the diligent surely lead to profit; and everyone who is hasty surely rushes to poverty.” (Pro 21:5 NASB)

The old adage goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Is it a cliché, yes, but it is nonetheless true, and the Scriptures agree. I have seen many business plans that have been so long and so complex that they are rendered useless. They go straight in someone’s bottom drawer, only to see the light of day at the next ‘strategic review.’ 

Planning in its purest sense is clearly identifying what you want to look like in the future. Take a view—say three years hence—and very clearly, and more importantly, demonstrably and empirically, write down in the simplest measurable terms what your business should look like. Then work out the simple steps to get there, and ensure your people are empowered to deliver their piece.

Quick Prayer: Lord, help me to plan, and as I commit these plans to You, bring them to pass according to Your Word. Thank You and amen.

From 7 Proverbs for Leaders by Mark Biltom