LIFE Leadership and the Christian faith
Thank you everyone for the great comments, emails and discussion on the first of three articles I am posting on faith and business. Here is the second article that was published by LIFE Leadership member Raymond Abernathy. Please read this article and discuss the reifications of our actions.
Feel free to comment on this article and create a discussion of what is being said. I believe this is such an important topic for people looking into LIFE Leadership to understand.
Click here for last article and background on Raymond Abernathy
Does mixing business, family, friends and Church cause inevitable disagreements and strife?
A major concern for some Christians is the mixing of relationships and business. Church leaders often cite this as a very real concern when evaluating LIFE Leadership. I too was very hesitant in sharing LIFE with members of my Church for fear that the business of LIFE might interfere with the business of God. For some reason, based upon the traditions of men, I believed that business should be kept separate from personal relationships in order to maintain both. Often business decisions are tough and have to be made for the sake of survival in the market place, and as often the case, the effects of such decisions may adversely impact the people that we know and love. This undeniable fact has destroyed many relationships and has created rips in the very fabric of families and church congregations. Many business owners have sacrificed the individual on the altar of profit, so we naturally think that all business owners are required to act in this manner. We have to walk on a thin line between care of people and the building of the business. We cannot afford to misuse God’s children for the “lusts” of the world, and we are reminded of this in Romans 12:2…
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Since my involvement in LIFE I have heard the leaders promote the idea of people before business, and I have personally seen the founders of LIFE act according to this mantra on several occasions. My wife and I make it a point to tell people not to sacrifice the sacred for the sake of the secular. By design LIFE Leadership has been structured in a way that insolates the members from the tough realities of traditional businesses. We have no employees; no labor disputes, no leases, contracts or lawyers are needed to build the business. LIFE members are free to focus on helping build relationships and equip God’s people with the life changing information. In reality, we have very little opportunities for conflicts to arise, but we are still human, and issues both real and perceived have to be addressed. Over the years, I have had issues with members of my team where personalities clashed, egos ran amuck, and misunderstandings have arisen. I have also had very real disagreements with the founders and leaders that had to be resolved. On each occasion I have experienced a unique graciousness that should inspire all Christians to follow the words of the prophet Isaiah 1:18…
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
We are called to reason together and avoid the temptation to conform to business practices of the world. Christians must not resort to name-calling, backbiting, slander, or gossip. We should never turn to social media to smear another man’s character. In the world’s business ethics, these sinful ways are all too common but it should not be so for the Christian. On one occasion a few years ago, my brother-in-law and I had some issues with team members from another organization, and the problems were brewing to the point where the relationship was in serious jeopardy. Instead of resorting to name calling, slander or division, we had a chance to sit down with LIFE founder Chris Brady as Christian men and reason together towards reconciliation. We opened in prayer, and we conducted ourselves in accordance to the words taught by Jesus in Matt 18:15-20…
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
We left the meeting having touched and agreed to preserve fellowship over feelings, and I believe that in doing so we had a chance to bring God glory. We could have chosen to sue, or slander one another, but we chose people over business. If by chance that we were not able to reach an agreement, then the Bible provides the Christians with stern and simple instructions in regards to moving forward in I Corinthians 6:1-7…
If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers! The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?
I have had members of my family, church members, spiritual leaders and neighbors all register in LIFE as members, and I have strived to follow the example of the LIFE founders by maintaining the relationship over the business. I believe that not only is it acceptable for Christians to be in business together, I believe that in doing so in the proper spirit we bring Glory to God. LIFE Leadership offers help in marriage, finances, faith, family, and a host of other aspects of our Christian walk. We would be remised if we did not share that life-changing information with our family, friends and fellow worshippers. And if by chance they decide to join the business for gain, regardless of their ambition levels, we are called to love and accept them as joint heirs with Christ. The intermingling faith, family, friends, fellowship and business are an extension of our calling to be in the world and not of the world. We get a chance to prove the world wrong by showing that there is no difference between ethics and business ethics. We are called to overcome the temptations of strife, conflict and disagreements, and who better to shine brightly with than those that we know and love? Who better to build stronger relationships than our friends and family? Would we be wrong for equipping the teens in our Churches with the information found in the Edge or the AGO subscriptions? What family in America could not benefit from learning the Godly principles found in the Financial Fitness Pack or subscription? What Christian would be harmed by associating with other God fearing people more? And if all these things be true, then why would we not want to be a financial blessing to our friends, family and Church members? We cannot let the potential of strife stop us from pursuing God’s promises of prosperity. We must heed the words of Hebrews 10:24-25…
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
click here for original article