Leaders are under a lot of pressure to make good decisions. We have to choose the right employees, vendors, customer markets, and strategy to make our businesses grow. These choices are often made at the expense of another. When we choose one strategy, we are saying no to the other. This reality is less black and white when we consider our businesses as ministry.
Consider these questions. Do we:
Build our practice by applying best practices, disciplined contacts, and employing strategies OR does God bring the increase?
Chase leads OR wait for God to provide?
Set goals and work a plan OR Trust God?
The questions are flawed because they all lure us into, or reveal, the very duality that cripples Christians across the marketplace!
When asked to speak into the dilemma of resting in the grace of God versus the pursuit of achievement, Dallas Willard thoughtfully responded, “Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning.” This is not a typical response, because we tend to rush toward choosing one option or the other. The reality is we are made to work hard, to put forth effort that comes out of the overflow of our understanding of God’s grace. We don’t work hard to earn God's favor; we work hard because God has invited us to participate in His Kingdom.
As Christian CEOs and business owners, our work is greatly about destroying the duality most Christians walk in separating their work lives from their spiritual/ministry lives. We celebrate business AS ministry as the hallmark of our paradigm. It’s the power of “And" that leads us to:
Make greater profits AND generously give more of it to the poor.
Employ more people AND share the gospel with them.
Execute a well developed strategy AND acknowledge all the fruit from the strategy comes from God.
If we fall for the bait in the trap of choosing one over the other, we will fail at this mission! We are called to run business AS ministry. It’s a tension to manage that if separated is no longer the powerful paradox intended. It’s the depth of the “all things” threaded throughout Colossians 3:17-23!
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Consider where this faulty paradigm has crept into your own world. How do we preserve the healthy tension of this as leaders, as stewards of practices? Do we deem some things sacred because they are ministry, and despise or neglect others because they are just business? Or do we tend to put business first because we think ministry should be left up to the church? It’s time we stop asking "or" questions, and begin to embrace the power of “AND!”