This is a Guest Post by Frank Viola, Frank is a friend I met during the last year. He is a prolific writer, and blogs at Beyond Evangelical. Frank is currently offering an online discipleship course that I highly recommend, and you can enroll here. The course closes December 31, so if you are interested you should take a look now.
When I became a Christian in my youth, I had the naive idea that all Christians were loving, honest, and reliable. So I would always seek to hire a Christian if I needed a product or a service.
Sadly, my youthful notion of Christian business people was shattered when I realized that virtually every Christian I hired (1) overcharged (2) did a poor job and (3) weren't exactly ethical or honest.
By contrast, the non Christians I hired charged less, did better work, did everything to insure that I was satisfied, and they were more pleasant in general.
Consequently, I raised a standard long ago that I would never hire a Christian to do anything for me. I would instead hire nonbelievers.
There have been a few exceptions, mainly with Christians that I know personally and trust. But these people aren't typical. In fact, they are rarer than hen's teeth!
They are genuine disciples of Christ.
Their hallmark is this: they treat their clients the same way they want to be treated if they were the client.
Ring a bell?
It should. That's Matthew 7:12, and it's the summary statement for how we know a genuine disciple of Christ. They treat everyone the same way they want to be treated in every circumstance.
Strikingly, Jesus said that this one sentence summarizes the entire Old Testament (the Law and the Prophets).
Treating others the same way we want to be treated is the way that God's own life operates. And as Christians, we possess that life.
How do you want to be treated when someone works for you?
You desire honestly, reliability, and great work at a reasonable price. You also desire that the work is fully guaranteed and that you are satisfied with the product or service.
Well, that should be the hallmark of how you treat others when they hire you.
Why do so many Christians not follow this precept in their business practice?
I believe it's because they have been taught to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil rather than by the Tree of Life.
Living by the former is simply being religious. It's trying to do the “right thing” and avoid the “bad thing.” And when we try to do the right thing and avoid the bad, we usually fail. Why? Because we're relying on our own human abilities and resources in “being good.”
Eating from the Tree of Life, however, is learning to live by the very life of Jesus Christ Himself. And the DNA of that life is to treat others the same way we want to be treated in every circumstance.
When we learn to live by Christ rather by our religious nature, being honest, ethical, and walking in love toward others isn't a duty or a chore. It's second nature.
I've spoken a lot about this elsewhere in very practical terms, but I wanted to sketch out the difference in this brief article.
May God raise up countless business men and women who are learning to live by Christ and express His nature in their work, making Matthew 7:12 a visible reality rather than a pious precept.