Friday, April 17, 2015

What Succeeded Then Will Succeed Now ... Given Time

To speak of a "Christian Businessman" is more than simply a title. It is a way of life and, therefore, a way of conducting all of the affairs of life including business.
Whether as a customer or a business owner, "Christian business" methods are the same. Be consistently fair to everyone equally. Be an example of diligence, hard work, organization, and wisdom in purchasing and in pricing. Keep your word no matter what it costs you. Care about other people's needs and problems and help them accomplish their goals. Pray for them and do not hesitate to be a witness for Christ to them. Above all, be honest no matter the cost or loss to yourself. Making a profit is not a sin. Not making a profit is a quick exit into bankruptcy. Living well is not a sin. Not caring whether others live well also is a sin. Christian Business practices will and do lead to a successful outcome of any worthy venture but do not think it will come quickly. You must be proven to prospective customers. They have all been deceived, lied to and taken advantage of by other, more unreputable business people. Stay the course, do not compromise your Christian principles and keep on keeping on. You do not have to pursue business success. If you pursue Christ and His teachings long enough, success in business will pursue you. Isn't that the kind of people you want to do business with?  Everyone else feels the same but it is very difficult for them to break old ties. But they will .... given time and a better deal. RB

Here is the classic example of Christian 
Business success ... J.C. Penny.

J.C. Penny reached it's zenith until he died and they soon lost their rudder.

In this day when business in America seems to be all about money and when there is crookedness in both high and low places, it is refreshing to think of businessmen who have put God first. James Cash Penny (1875-1971), founder of the J.C. Penny stores, is an example. His father, a Baptist pastor, died when James was a teenager, but not before he was instilled with biblical principles of living.

When the young James got a job with a grocer, he bragged one night at supper to his mother and father about how "foxy" his employer was in selling low quality coffee for the price of expensive coffee. Even though jobs were rare in that small town, James' father told him to quit. Though he was dying of tuberculosis and they needed the money, the preacher would rather that his son be unemployed than associated with a crooked businessman.

At first the J.C. Penny stores were called Golden Rule, because he was "dedicated to following the Golden Rule as a basic commercial principle." The Golden Rule refers to Christ's principle of "thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Penny offered quality products at fair prices and treated the customers with respect. He kept the profit margin small. He tested every policy by asking if it was "right and just?" He made his managers part owners of the stores in order to share the wealth. Yet though he was Christian in name, he didn't come to saving faith until he was older.

He had become embittered at churches in his youth when his father was fired for wanting to start a Sunday School. (Primitive Baptists officially hold to extreme sovereign election and often do not believe in gospel missions.) After experiencing a financial crash during America's Great Depression, Penny's health broke, physically and emotionally, and he ended up in a sanitarium. There he attended a Christian meeting and saw that he had been trusting his good works rather than God's grace in Christ. Through the words of the hymn "God Will Take Care of You" and Christ's invitation in Matthew 11:28-30, J.C. Penny was converted. He recalled, "I can't explain it. I can only call it a miracle. I felt as if I had been instantly lifted out of the darkness of a dungeon into a warm, brilliant sunlight. I felt as if I had been transported from hell to paradise. I felt the power of God as I had never felt it before. From that day to this, my life has been free from worry. The most dramatic and glorious 20 minutes of my life were those I spent in that chapel that morning."

Penny gave millions of dollars to Christian charities. He said he would rather be known as a Christian than a merchant. In an advertisement he said: "Business is therefore as much religious as it is secular. If we follow the admonition to love God, and our neighbors as ourselves, it will lead us to understand that, first of all, success is a matter of the spirit." This is the attitude that will permeate Christ's coming kingdom, and it is the attitude that should permeate the lives of those who belong to Christ in this present world.