A couple of years ago a friend of mine was touring Wilson Lumber. He owns a similar company in California. After walking around a bit and taking in our culture and seeing our Core Values and Mission Statement he said, “Robb, I think it’s great that your Christianity is so out front in your business. I’m just not sure how that would be received where I am.”
Well, true enough, the way of things is a bit different in California than it is in Alabama. But that doesn’t mean it was easy deciding to host prayer meetings, insert ‘Christlike’ into our Mission Statement, or change our thinking to the glory of God instead of the growth of Wilson Lumber.
I can only speak of my own experience, and I’ve never owned a business in California. However, I have yet to run across someone who disagreed with running a business based on doing the right thing, treating others the way you want to be treated, and kindness.
I should pause here. We are far from perfect. We make mistakes. I make mistakes. I am saying this is what we strive for. As people, we don’t always hit the mark perfectly.
What is my experience like as a Christian business owner? Well … it’s good. Really good. Frankly, I’ve found that ‘Christlike principles’ is a much better base for decision making than the whims of how I’m feeling at the moment. And I’ve found that doing business for God’s glory is way more fun than doing it for my glory.
Is it always easy? Well no, it’s business. But I’ve found a way that for me, it’s meaningful. We employee a lot of people, that’s cool. Our sales have grown, that’s cool. It puts food on my table, that’s very cool.
I suppose the difference is this: When we decided to intentionally run our business for Christ, there was suddenly a whole new meaning for it. In addition to profit growth as a goal (which is needed and important) there is now people growth as well.
Profit is fickle. It could be great this year and terrible next year. It is always changing and hey, that’s a great challenge that certainly energizes me. But it ends. People growth is forever. Think about it. As a follower of Christ, my belief is that caring for people is the most important thing I can do. And if the Holy Spirit works through that to bring some people to himself, I’ll be celebrating with those people forever.
Is there anything more important or awesome than that? Not that I can think of. Certainly not a little profit. God has been good to us. Why would we not honor him in every area of life, including the business he has given us.
Grace and Peace,