What to say about the unique challenges for the Christian business owner? It would seem to go without saying that ethics would not be an issue for them, right? How subjective is their perspective when the line of separation between morally right and socially right is blurred? How does a Christian businessperson weigh out the choice between using their skills for a client with a substantial wallet but abhorrent practices and a client with limited resources and honorable intentions?
Seems like a no-brainer, right? Christians always choose to the right thing, correct? Things get interesting though, when checks or even cash are presented in exchange for the Christian’s anointed skillset or ability. The challenge is real and many Christian business owners reason themselves in and out of this scenario hanging on to a specific scripture:
A good [man] leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous. (Proverbs 13:22)
I find it contemplative that this scripture is often twisted in order to justify questionable practices in business when the profit to be gained from the venture is substantial. The idea is clenched that “God is blessing” the business owner with the wicked person’s wealth through their dealings with them.
My contention is that “good” and “righteous” are not necessarily synonymous in this verse. Good, here, could reference a man who is agreeable or one of intellectual understanding. Surely, a good man is agreeable and understanding of the importance of leaving an inheritance or strength to future generations in their lineage. So, the value in this effort is duly highlighted and not to be dismissed as frivolous. It may be that this perspective does not necessarily imply that the “good” man gained or built the inheritance scrupulously, just that they realize that their future generation should be strengthened by their gain.
But what is to be made of all that is stored up for the “righteous” person? Righteous here implies “just in conduct, character and cause”. This means that, the one who chooses to be just in these 3C’s, stands in position to receive the strength (wealth) of the sinner. Well then, who is the sinner? In this verse, it refers to the one who has missed the mark, who has wandered away from what is right, the one who has chosen to forfeit what was right. This could happen to any person, even a “good” person who knows what is right and what is right to do, but choses to do otherwise.
I know, I know. When we think of sinners, we think of those who cuss and chew and run around with those that do (among other things in this day and age). But, this vantage point also suggests that the sinner, could also be the embodied “good man” who has chosen to lay aside what they knew to be right, in order to solely lay hold of gain or profit. Herein lies the possible juxtaposition of this amazing verse.
Now, back to that business question: How does a Christian businessperson weigh out the choice between using their skills for a client with a substantial wallet but abhorrent practices and a client with limited resources and honorable intentions? The businessperson has to decide if they will merely be a “good man” solely for profit or “righteous” for the profit of the soul. It is here where the promise of this verse is likely realized.
As a Kingdom Builder, your decisions in business have to go beyond the fence of “me, mine and ours at whatever cost” solely for profit and shift to “thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” for soul profit.
The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. (Psalm 37:29)
©2012 LR Rodgers All Rights Reserved.