We’re all involved in business dealings every day of our working lives. Many of you have the pleasure of actually running all or some portion of a viable business. I’ve been overseeing my financial services practice for more than 35 years.
There’s one question we really should always ask and that’s “Whose business is it anyway?”
I imagine most would proudly respond “It’s our business.” That would be a typical answer for any family involved in a venture somewhat small in stature. Larger businesses are usually owned by a group of partners or a substantial number of stockholders. Often only a few majority stockholders truly have control of the largest business enterprises.
Frankly. I believe we’re kidding ourselves if we feel the businesses we run are our own. The Bible tells us Who really owns everything! It’s all our heavenly Father’s but He does allow us to oversee business affairs for a short time while here on earth. And we may even get to pass the business on as an inheritance to the next generation.
Yet sooner or later, it all comes back to Him. It’s all part of His wonderful provision! In my opinion, work is good and should be enjoyed. It should not be a drudgery, but we must have the right perspective in order to truly enjoy it all.
Let me share my journey:
Just a few months before my 40th birthday, I took a leap from corporate life into the financial services profession. Having never sold any products before, I knew I was taking a substantial risk. Yes, I did have skills that made the jump a bit easier, but there was no guarantee of success. What I did know is that I needed to get out of the corporate culture.
I’ve always been entrepreneurial in my thinking. New York Life was willing to take the risk in training me, and 35 years later I’m still giving back to the company that saw something in me I did not know existed.
The first year in my new discipline turned out to be quite challenging. Fortunately, I was allowed to pick a new sales manager after my first boss was transferred to the Santa Barbara general office. My second boss was abruptly forced back into the field.
A few months earlier, I accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord. I was allowed to chose my third boss, whom I admired for his strong Christian faith. Most of his agents were fellow followers of Christ!
In my fourth year in business, I was promoted to a sales management position in Santa Barbara. Early on I was introduced to CBMC (Christian Business Men’s Connection). The relationships formed in that nondenominational international organization gave me the tools and encouragement to stay the course during some extremely challenging times along the way.
One of the most important lessons I learned was coming to grips with the previously asked question “Whose business is it anyway?” How might you answer that question!
Volumes have been written on business success over the past few decades. Having read my share, there’s one book that stands out above all the rest. Jim Collins’ best-seller, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t, has become a modern classic in management theory. I remember reading this detailed comparison of companies soon after it was published in 2001.
Business greatness does not come easily. It comes from first understanding Who really owns it all, appreciating all who work in the business, and recognizing God and others for the successes that will certainly follow. Yes, there will be difficult times and tough decisions, but we need to persevere with Him through those trials.
In Luke 12:16-21, Jesus tells the parable of one rich man who decided to tear down his barns and build bigger ones to store all the bountiful crops he had harvested. This foolish man realized he had many good things and felt he could simply “Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”
In verses 20-21, Jesus warns “But God said to him, ‘You fool. This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”
We need to be rich toward God and realize that all we have is His. This day forward, I trust you will sense His presence in all you do in business and life in general.
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.