Business professionals obviously like improving the bottom line. If you work for others, you are frequently faced with performance reviews of one kind or another.
Even top executives of publicly held corporations must face performance reviews from their boards of directors and scrutiny from their major stockholders. And the bottom line becomes extremely important during those reviews.
It’s only natural to desire an improved bottom line whether you’re in business or just striving to attain desired personal goals. Frankly, I’m no different, but these days the bottom line that concerns me most is how I’m doing in my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
This world places great emphasis on improving bottom lines. Whether in business, sports or wherever we participate, it’s only natural to want to be recognized for doing well in every endeavor. It feels good to attain our business and personal goals.
There’s nothing wrong in striving to reach those goals, but we need to consider the consequences of placing too great an emphasis on the goal itself.
We would all be wise to consider our methods in reaching improved bottom lines and the expense it might cost others. Have you considered the impact on others in striving to reach your goals to win at any cost?
The Book of Ecclesiastes addresses this dilemma over its first 11 chapters. King Solomon, the Preacher as he calls himself, presents an emotional dissertation on the topic of our lives “under the sun” as he calls our earthly existence. He continually calls our effort to improve our bottom line as “chasing the wind” or I prefer calling it a self-centered vain existence.
In the final chapter, he takes us into the realm of seeing the big picture — realizing that there’s more to life than our pitiful existence here on earth. Solomon brings God into the picture so we might have a clearer view and experience a new deeper perspective in our life journey.
He ends with these words of wisdom in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter; Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”
Did you hear that — whether it is good or evil God will bring everything into judgment. His judgment not ours. We are simply to do the whole duty of man.
During my 30-plus years as a follower of Christ, I’ve come to understand that my duty is to be obedient to my Father in Heaven and to do my best to please Him and love others as much as I possibly can.
I’ve also discovered that I can’t truly love others until I have learned to love myself with all my faults and shortcomings. And when it comes to the bottom line, I now know that my personal goals are not that significant. I’m more concerned about the process God has laid before me.
Each day is a new day and my desire is to please my Heavenly Father and simply watch for who, what, when and where He is working in my life. Yes, I continue to set goals and naturally track the bottom line, but I’m most concerned about my relationship with the One who put this world on its axis and created everything that I get to experience during my short time here on earth.
Remember, this is only the beginning of an eternal existence that can bring us into a deep relationship with our Maker, if we simply accept His plan of salvation and follow Him for a short time in this life under the sun.
Passages to Ponder
— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. He can be contacted at email@example.com for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.