Business and God's mercy

When we rely on God in our business, we find new scope for doing good.

Are God and business at odds? Sometimes it seems as if they are. "But this is business!" one sometimes hears as an attempt to justify a harsh or less-than-honest decision. A young man was diverted from a business career by this kind of attitude, when one of the questions asked in graduate school was how long a company should continue manufacturing a product that had just been declared illegal because it did not meet new safety standards. Most of the answers in that class did not address the ethics of the situation. They were concerned only with how long manufacturing the banned product would be profitable. Incidents like this do make business appear quite at odds with a good God.

But is business really so godless, so separate from the good in our lives? What about the business that brought the cereal to your breakfast table, or the chair on which you sit? In industrialized nations scores of different businesses affect each individual daily—and usually in a positive way.

So, what about looking at business as evidence of God's love and care for us? To do this we may need to get a broader understanding of business. The first definition of the word business in one dictionary I consulted was "solicitude." Other defining words were "attentiveness," "care," "diligence," "industry." If we consider business as expressive of these essentially spiritual qualities, we find the source of true business to be in God. We also find not only a high standard for business practices but a sturdy support for success and progress.

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The boundless shepherding of the pastor
January 31, 1994

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