These are the notes I will use for our Sunday School Class tomorrow. Come join us.
Andy Stanley podcast “Taking Care of Business, Part 2: Current Market Indicators”. 8/11/2008
Andy Stanley, Choosing to Cheat. Multnomah Books. 2003
· In your workplace, which of these are valued more
o Economics of the deal versus the ethics of the deal
o Income versus integrity
o Cash flow versus character
· How do you justify Christian values in a capitalistic economy where return on investment, cash flow, bottom line, and shareholder , … are the ultimate “ends”?
· What happens if in your place of employment, you are called upon or expected to do things that are clearly in opposition to what God has called you to be as a Christian? (Does this ever happen?)
I believe that there is a tendency to develop two sets of books to operate out of – one for personal life and one for business life. We need to be careful in our work life otherwise we become idolaters – we say we are Christians, but we bow down to one of these
1. Security – I have to pay my bills, my mortgage, get my bonus to make ends meet, … The quest for security becomes the Lord of your life.
2. Recognition – I have spent years developing this client base, company profile, reputation, etc. People view me in a certain way, and if I all of the sudden interject my Christian values into the workplace, I would lose my reputation. Recognition of your accomplishments becomes the Lord of your life.
3. Progress – You want to move forward and going backward makes you cringe. I love God, Jesus and all that church stuff, but when it comes down to it, I’m not going to make a decision professionally that makes me take a step back. You have a hard time with decisions where the “right” decision may make you back up versus the “wrong” decision that may make you back up. Progress becomes the Lord of your life.
The market encourages and reinforces you to pursue these three idols.
A major problem arises when you live one way in your church/family/friendship life and a different way in your business life. Your ethics are like water – they seep. It doesn’t matter how high a wall you build between the two, eventually there is a relationship that will be compromised from living out of two sets of books.
· Parents that compromise themselves in the workplace compromise their moral authority at home
· Eventually you will lose self-esteem and self respect – You are caught in an awful tension and you realize that you are a coward and a hypocrite.
· “I’m afraid of what will happen if I do the “right” thing”
If you are willing to sacrifice your ethics for a “deal”, you are afraid of something – What is it?
· When you say “no” to the right decision, you compromise and you lose the opportunity to see what God could have done if you stood your ground.
· When you refuse to exercise faith and do the right thing, you miss an opportunity for God to show up, and you will always wonder what would have happened if I had done the right thing. (shame/guilt).
· The Old Testament is full of stories of men and women that have to make difficult decisions – often times with their life on the line – where God intervenes after they make the “right” decision.
o David and Goliath
o Moses and Pharaoh
o Saul and David
o Abraham and Isaac
o Ester and King ?
These stories capture out imagination. These are the stories we tell our kids. Why?
Look in the book of Daniel
Background: 605 BC, Babylon (King Nebuchadnezzar) destroyed Israel and took best and brightest captive. Integrated them into Babylonian culture – very metropolitan. Became most powerful nation in the world. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego identified as extraordinary administrators. Build up quite a professional reputation. All the perks that go along with being at the top of their game professionally – invited to all the parties, access to people of power and influence, had their own servants, …
The city is full of people worshipping different gods. King N. comes up with a crafty plan and says you can worship whatever you want, but ultimately you worship me. I’m the one that holds your fate in my hands.
Jealous people that were overlooked for these high positions plotted to present SMA in a negative light to the king. Jealous backstabbers.
King gets mad. Confronts the boys. Gives them a second chance (he really likes them and wants them to succeed). Finally asks “what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” He wants the boys to know that their life lies in his hands. He controls them and could squash them if he wanted to.
The boys stand their ground. “We don’t need to defend ourselves to you, O King” (i.e. tell that band to pipe down). Our God is able to save us. If he does, then it shows you don’t control us. If not, we die – still don’t worship your image – either way our God wins, and you lose.
King N. throws them in the furnace. They don’t burn and they come out of the fire not even smelling like smoke. King freaks out and declares their God the God of all Babylon and them gives the boys a raise.
You don’t belong to your manager, boss, ceo, board, etc. You belong to the Invisible King and he is in control of your life. Do the “right” thing regardless of the cost and give God a chance to show up.
Do you think you are where you are professionally due to God’s goodness, grace, and opportunities he has given you, or do you think you are where you are professionally because you are a hard worker and “got after it” and God didn’t have anything to do with it?
This is a binary question. You are on one side or the other. No middle ground.
Once you get to a certain level in your career, do you have to compromise the principles of God to maintain the blessings of God? (A question I would love to ask Politicians).
Wish every Christian in the midst of your success would come smack up against a situation that calls you to abandon your faith and Christian morals for the sake of income. In that moment you will discover something about you, God, and the strength of your faith. (As a parent you will also have a story to tell your kids about a time you made the right call when you had a lot to lose).
Do the right thing and give God a chance to show up!