Business demands results. The bottom line is still the bottom line. You can rebel against this reality if you like–you can ignore it or deny it, but that won’t change Wall Street’s demands . . . and don’t be fooled–small business owners often have a greater intolerance for poor results!
We’ve all known those willing to do “whatever it takes” to get results–the people who give business a bad name. However, that shouldn’t lead us to the conclusion that profitability is not important. On this subject, we can learn from God’s character . . . because God is very interested in outcomes. Can you think of one thing in creation that He began but didn’t finish? Even His most complex project–human souls–are given a clear picture of His intentions for us. “He who began a good work in you will perfect (complete/ finish) it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
God was careful to give us specific principles to guide us toward excellent stewardship. This ethic absolutely indicates that we should run our businesses in a profitable manner. However, as hard as it is to accept, we don’t control the final results. There are always circumstances outside our control. For the farmer it may be the weather, for the insurance industry an AIDS-like epidemic or terrorist attack. For a commissioned sales person, it could be a difficult economy. We can do everything “right”, but interest rates can rise, or a resource on which our industry depends may dry up. Where does this leave us?
We are called to continue exercising wisdom, practicing sound business principles, and working hard. We must always work with an eye toward specific, positive results, knowing that they are safely in God’s hands. That is where faith and trust (certainty about things unseen) come into play. This mindset moves us into a new paradigm. If we know we can’t control the outcome, yet trust God for it, we are freed to give more attention to the process for pursuing our targets . . . a host of actions and attitudes like valuing people, maintaining integrity, avoiding shortcuts. “Make me know Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths . . .” (Psalm 25:4) Focusing our energy on these actions and attitudes can not only restore the joy in our work, it can revolutionize the marketplace we work in.
Years ago, I took my family to the Smoky Mountains for a long weekend. There were several beautiful views and lookout points. I was so anxious to get from one destination to the next that I wasn’t fully enjoying the moving moments of taking in God’s creation together. I almost missed the joy of the journey. For those of us in the marketplace, this same pleasure can be found in our daily work and routine–our interaction with clients and associates, and our creativity in problem-solving. Ultimately, it leads to a deep satisfaction of knowing we have given a task our best shot. Are you making the most of the “process” today? Are you enjoying the journey?