Saturday, April 22, 2017

It's Not Personal; It's Business

            In the movie, “You’ve Got Mail”, Meg Ryan is fighting to keep her business from going under. The big discount store, Fox Books, just opened and is putting her out of business. The man she has been secretly messaging online gives her some business advice, not knowing that he is the one who owns Fox Books, her nemesis. He tells her that what she is facing is not personal, it’s business. He tells her to repeat that to herself over and over again- “it’s not personal, it’s business”. As a
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Christian business owner, I find myself struggling with this truth every day. It’s not personal, it’s business. But where is that line drawn? I am a Christian business owner, seeking to glorify God in all I do. Yet, there must be a balance, because I still have a business to run, and a business to build.
            There is a certain level of business, I believe, needed to lead a successful ministry, and there is also a certain level of ministry needed to run a successful company. But how do we know when we have found the right balance? How do we keep the scales from tipping too far into business and less into ministry? How do we keep the scales from tipping too much into ministry and not enough into business? This has been my struggle since the moment I decided to hang my shingle out!
            My business is growing by leaps and bounds and I am doing my best to keep up with it. Lately, I feel like Lucile Ball in front of the conveyor belt, trying to shovel in candy as fast as I can to keep up with what is coming down the line. I am moving as fast as I can, but the belt keeps speeding up and I am overwhelmed. The first quarter of 2017 was a rough one for me. There have been trials, issues, fires I have had to put out, and bombs exploding all around me. I have been close to discouraged, and close to breaking, but every time one of these bombs go off, I find myself digging deeper into scripture and praying longer than I was before. This first quarter has driven me to seek the Lord like never before.
            One of the things I have asked of the Lord is to teach me to be a wise and faithful leader. My desire is to be a godly leader over the people who work for me and my clients. I want to be who God needs me to be for them, for my family and for my business. What He has taught me is the need to draw lines; to set boundaries. I need to make boundaries and I need to stick to them. It’s not personal, it is business.
            A good leader, a godly leader knows the boundaries and not only sets them, but enforces them. One of my biggest downfalls is my inward desire for people to like me. It is in all of us, deep down, buried in the depths of our soul, this desire to please. We were created with a desire to please God, but sin has twisted that desire and caused to us seek the pleasure of others and ourselves. In business and in ministry, this desire to please others will be your end.
“But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side. There is neither adversary nor misfortune. And so I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord said to David my father, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, shall build the house for My Name.’” 1 Kings 5:4-5 ESV
            Solomon was created for a purpose. He would lead the nation of Israel and would build a temple for the Lord. He was called to do a work. God did not call Solomon and his friends to do a work and then together they would build it. God called Solomon, and Solomon only.
            Those whom the Lord has given me to work for me are not my partners, they are my employees. They are not my friends, they are my employee’s. God has called me to do the work. He has brought people to support me, to work for me, but none of them have been called to build this company. We may be friends outside of work, but in the end, this business is mine, and I alone bear the responsibility for it.
            If we seek to be successful in business, or even in ministry, we need to set up a boundary that distinguishes between our calling and the work that needs to be done. As you read through 1 Kings 5 & 6, notice there is no mention of the names of the people who were building the temple. The Bible says that Solomon gave, Solomon hired, and Solomon built. The reason I believe it only mentions Solomon by name is because Solomon alone was accountable to God for its rise and for its fall. Solomon hired people to do the work, but they followed his direction and his leading, he followed God.
            The people who work for me can walk away from the company and have little repercussion happen to them. They may be out a pay check, but God will not hold them accountable to whether the business follows Him or not. He holds me accountable. I stand before God alone and give an account for every choice and decision I make regarding this company. Why? Because I alone have been given the great responsibility of building it. It’s my calling, not theirs.
“Now the word of the Lord came to Solomon, ‘Concerning this house that you are building, if you walk in my statutes and obey my rules and keep all my commandments and walk in them, then I will establish my word with you, which I spoke to my David your father. And I will dwell among the children of Israel and will not forsake my people Israel.’ So Solomon built the house and finished it.” 1 Kings 6:11-14
            God spoke a promise to Solomon, a promise that would bless the entire nation of Israel, but it was spoken only to Solomon. Solomon, before God, is held accountable to do the work the Lord has given him. There is no mention of a partner, servants or people who are building the temple because God only sees it as Solomon’s task; this is Solomon’s calling, this is his ministry, this is his business.
            We must draw those boundaries with those who work for us, and even those who serve alongside us in the ministry. A godly leader will understand the need to separate their calling from those whom God has given to work it. If we don’t set those boundaries then the responsibility gets blurred and the lines get crossed. We start to seek to please those who work for us, rather than seeking to please the One who gave us the work.

            You alone have been given a great work to do. You alone will be held accountable to God for the task He has given you. He has called you to build it, and to lead others in the building of it. Don’t let those lines get crossed. To God alone you will answer for its rise or its fall. Set your lines and don’t let them get crossed. Remember, it’s not personal, it’s business. Amen?