I’ve been asked many times throughout my career if I am a pastor. And since I am not an ordained pastor, I respond in the negative. But I am a minister. And for that matter, so are you. Because your business is God’s business.
What you do for a living matters to God. While God wants some of us to become pastors, He does not want all of His kids to become pastors. He wants some of us to be involved in the business world. By serving Him in business, we can be ministers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-20) to those we work with, those we work for, and those who work for us.
God wants you to do your work so that others see Him in your work. You do that best when you conduct yourself as a person of integrity. God wants you to do the right thing even if no one is there to check up on you. He wants you to use, what Proverbs 16:11 (NIV) calls, “honest scales.”
Based on Proverbs 16:11, here are three reasons why “honest scales” are important in God’s business.
1. Commerce is God’s work
When people exchange goods and services for money, the transactions are built upon a relationship based on trust. People need to know there will be a fair exchange in order to want to do business with each other. Otherwise the relationship foundation breaks down, and no transactions take place.
In biblical times, people used weights and scales to determine how much something was worth. Today, in a grocery store when we weigh produce, we assume that the scales are accurate. If one doesn’t work, then most likely there will be another that is functional. But a merchant in biblical times would have his own set of weights and measures, and he might have “honest scales” or he might not.
No doubt you have done business with a company where you felt like you got taken advantage of. That loss of trust made you feel like you couldn’t trust them. As a result, you did not want to do business with them anymore, and neither did you want anyone else to do business there. You didn’t want to be taken advantage of again, and you didn’t want anyone else to have that happen to them.
People intuitively know that fairness should operate in a business context. God ordained it to be that way and He wrote that law on human hearts. Because business—your business—is God’s business.
2. His Way or the Highway
God does not want to play second fiddle to anyone. Because He cares about you—and every other person on this planet—enough to care about how you do what you do.
God is most interested in how we do our work. He wants you to point others to Him. So let your chosen profession show that you have chosen to follow God.
God wants you to conduct your affairs as if they were His affairs. He wants you to run your business like it is God’s business. That’s because He wants people to see Him in action when they see you in action.
God wants commerce to be done in a way that people see Him in the transaction. He wants commerce to be done in a trusting environment in order to deepen the relationships that people have with each other. It’s not about getting as much as you can out of a transaction. It’s about representing God in all of your business dealings.
God is not interested in allowing people to cheat others. That causes division and tears the fabric of society. God wants His way for business to protect us from ourselves. God keeps us on the narrow path so that we can enjoy our relationships with others more. He wants our business dealings to draw us closer to each other and not further apart. He wants you to have “honest scales” so you can have communion with your fellow humans in a context that benefits all parties.
3. It all belongs to Him
Your business is not really your business. Your business is really God’s business. He owns it—because He owns it all. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10). The world and all its fullness is His (Psalm 24:1; Psalm 50:12; Psalm 89:11).
When you realize that you do not really own what you own, it puts everything in a new light. You do not really own your business; you are but a steward of that business. And that business belongs to Him. That means that you must submit it all to Him anyway. Because He is your boss.
God doesn’t just own your business. He doesn’t just own the “honest scales.” He owns the ground where your business is located. He owns the space where your business operates. And He even owns the air that you breathe.
As the Scripture says, in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). And that involves what you do each day—every day.
God is not interested in abdicating the business sector: business is all about relationships—and God is all about relationships. As Abraham Kuyper said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!’” And that includes business—and that includes your business. Because it’s ultimately God’s business.
Robert McFarland is the author of the #1 international bestsellers, Dear Boss: What Your Employees Wish You Knew and Dear Employee: What Your Boss Wishes You Knew. Robert is also President of Transformational Impact LLC, a leadership development consultancy helping companies improve their employee cultures to make the companies healthier, more productive, and more profitable. Robert has worked with myriad organizations as a leadership consultant, executive coach, and conference speaker. Robert is the Blogger-in-Chief at www.RobertMcFarland.net, where he helps intentional Christians lead impactful lives.