Friday, December 4, 2009

Integrity in Business

I am a committed Christ follower. I'm far from perfect, but I desire to be more like Jesus everyday. I absolutely love being around other believers, and I especially love being around transparent and "real" Christians. Confession: I will not do business with a company just because they prominently display the Christian fish on their logo or business cards. I also know many companies who are VERY hesitant to offer their services to a church or ministry because churches often expect a discount, or for the services to be donated. On the other hand, I'm personally acquainted with lots of people who will only work with someone they know to be a Christian. Their reasons are varied - everything from wanting to support a Christian venture, to desiring to work with friends, to a distrust of non-Christians. This post isn't about discouraging people from working with Christians, but rather to ENCOURAGE transparent honesty and integrity in and through your business.

My friend's elderly parents hired a Christian friend and contractor to remodel their vacation home. Three years later, the project that should have taken 9 months was still not done and the contractor was charging the elderly couple by the hour! But he was "a friend" and a believer. The contractor was taking advantage of a friendship and a shared faith. The project was eventually completed, but it went WAY over budget, and the elderly couple will likely never recoup their investment in their lifetime.

A co-worker shared with me the other day that she was struggling with how to help her parents. She had just learned that they had paid a friend and church member a great deal of money to perform a service for them and he had yet to deliver on his end of the contract. Mom and Dad had no idea what to do, as they believed they should not take the fellow believer to court. The contract they had with the gentleman consisted of little more than a handshake.

Many years ago a family member worked for a Christian run company. There were many weeks when the paycheck was late or didn't come at all. My family member would frequently have to ask the boss whether or not he could actually expect a paycheck on payday. It seems unconscionable to me that a professing Christian would run a business that way. Leviticus 19:13 says, " 'Do not defraud your neighbor or rob him. " 'Do not hold back the wages of a hired man overnight." Withholding wages that have been earned is the same as defrauding and stealing from them! When the paycheck didn't come and the employees asked for their money, they were told they didn't have "enough faith". All the employees of this small company were even required to watch training videos which taught them the importance of tithing. Now, I'm certainly not discouraging tithing, but for a boss that wasn't paying his employees, that seems a bit hypocritical!

Come on Christian business owners and leaders - get off the pew and set an example of integrity and honesty for your community! Costumers should be drawn to us, not because of the fish printed on our Yellow Pages ad, or emblazoned on our business sign or letterhead, but rather because of our integrity. Get off the pew!

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