Business for the Glory of God: The Bible’s teaching on the Moral Goodness of Business by Wayne Grudem is a book based on the teachings of God being used within a business setting and how each conceptual aspect of business including, but not limited to, ownership and employment is a biblical concept. Grudem points out the association between the Bible and business concepts as well as how sin is not how one should glorify God.
Current law indicates ownership as “any word, name, symbol, or device or any combination thereof adopted and used by a manufacturer or merchant to identify and distinguish his goods, including unique product, from those manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods, even if that source is unknown” (Bagley, 2010, pg. 394-395). Owners of a business often consider the business often consider the business a personal possession and sometimes forget that what he owns was given to him by God. Leviticus 27:30 states, “a tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord.” Ownership is not wrong, but it can be easily abused (Grudem, 2003, pg.24).
Productivity in business is the skill set, knowledge, and materials that God has provided to build and produce items. Efficiency in productivity means that you can throw out more products in a short period with fewer resources to obtain a higher producer surplus. Resources given to man by God should be used to advance and not lust over material items (Grudem, 2003, pg. 23). Unethical conduct such as price discrimination and deception with defective products would be sinful and harmful to productivity. The Lord speaks many times on disturbing wealth, such as in Deuteronomy 8:18, by stating, “But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth.”
With man subduing the land as the Lord commanded in Genesis 1:28 and considering God has given all this to man, praise and glory should be given back to him as thanks for what he has provided. This could maximize the ability to help the neighbor and return the glory of productivity to God.
Employment within itself is not a sin. In fact, God promotes it to be a good thing because it is mutually beneficial to the employer and employee and those who benefit to the goods and services as indicated in Matthew 10:10 and 1 Timothy 5:18. It is when the employer or employee becomes greedy and twists the arrangement in such a manner that it harms the relationship between the employer and employee. If the arrangement between the employer and employee are carried out in a Godly manner, it has a positive benefit for all humanity. For insurance, a Christian employee will want to do the best job possible and the Christian employer will treat them fairly and with respect. This will allow production to reach higher levels and enable consumers to enjoy the product faster. Therefore, this will increase monies received and allow the employer to give back to God.
Trade is the root of productivity. One may trade goods or services; however, only certain goods would be worth trading without some standard exchange. Money is a tool in which the world has designated as the standard exchange for goods and services. God said in the beginning that there will be currency by weight (Genesis 23:16). Money, although it can be very easy to hoard, is a necessity for humankind.
Money does not bring happiness; one should remember craving countless riches could bring destruction. This stands true a business as well. If a business owner is consumed in the process of making money, not the ethical responsibility to the consumer by making a valuable product at an affordable cost, the business will eventually fail. The number one thing people don’t realize is in order to run a successful business you need to put your ethics first, if you don’t have ethics your business will eventually fail and flounder. 1 Timothy 5:10 states that loving money is the root of all evil.
Remove the greed and the desire to be rich before beginning a business. A person needs to go into a business not only for the money but they need to go into it for the love of whatever business they form. I know I would never open a business if I didn’t love the business I was thinking about opening. Businesses are not meant to make an individual extremely wealthy.
The bible is a set of instructions that teaches man how to live as God wants, which includes how to be proper ethical business people. As mentioned, sin is not the right approach for obtaining the glory of God however, the imitation of God would be. God created man in His image (Genesis 1:27) and Paul explicitly reiterates this in Ephesians 5:1. Grudem states “God created us in such a way that we would want to imitate his character” (2003, pg. 15). God wants the human race to do what is right, just moral and truthful in a way He would. Business can glorify Him as long as one does not fall temptation to sin. Sinful actions within a business are, but are not limited to, greed, dishonesty, producing harmful products or resources, treating others unfairly, and not serving God.
Businesses will prevail when compassion, honesty, grace, giving, generosity, stewardship, pride, humility, and moral ethics are used regularly. God says “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future” (Jeremiah 29:27). This is showing that the day we are put on this earth, we are destined for greatness and we just need to make sure that we are living up to the plans that God has for us and do everything in our power in order to make sure we achieve the goals that God gives us.
ReferencesBagley, C. E., & Savage, D. (2010). Managers and the legal environment, strategies for the 21st century. 6th Edition. Grudem, W. (2003). Business for the glory of God: the Bible’s teaching on the moral goodness of business. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books.