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These articles provide insight to the most current events relative to Christian business and its success.

Monday, 12 August 2013 02:29

Three Lessons in Christian Business

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Did you ever notice how many of Jesus apostles were called from the business world? Most often, we think of them as fishermen. That was their trade, but in fact, they were operating a fishing business. In Luke Chapter 5 they even referred to one another as “partners.”

Matthew also ran a business. He was a tax collector, meaning in those days he had responsibility for a territory, to maximize the revenue from that territory from which he kept a portion. Matthew operated what was an ancient form of a franchise.

Paul made and sold tents during his missionary journeys, so that he would always earn his own living while preaching the Gospel.

In John 21, seven disciples went out fishing, worked all night and caught nothing. But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. … He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. … Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat… Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”–knowing that it was the Lord.

These verses give us three principles for Christians in business.

First, notice the number of fish that were caught – 153. John does not say that it was “a lot of fish”, and he does not estimate the number. He tells us exactly how many were caught – 153 fish. In one of the great stories of the New Testament, John, writing by the Holy Spirit, tells us precisely how many fish were in the net.

A Christian who is going to succeed in business needs to know how many fish are in the net — each business quarter, each business day. Your business cannot be put on automatic pilot, just because you are a Christian. You cannot ignore the basics and details of business, or “trust the Lord to work out the details” as though Jesus Christ was part of your staff. The Bible never promises that the Lord will save your business. It promises that Jesus Christ will save your soul.

Reading this, you get the sense that John was used to counting the number of fish caught in a day. It is no different now. Your business needs cash flow to survive; it needs to be properly capitalized. You have to know your product; you have to know your market; you have to know how to get your product to market. Sound specific business planning with real reliable numbers – like 153 fish — is an important part of your success.

Second, notice that once the apostles got to shore and sat down with Jesus — no one asked Him anything – no one dared to. Rather, knowing it was the Lord, there was a reverence that manifested itself only in silence.

Today, there is far too much business done trading on the name of Jesus Christ. There is a critical difference between marketing your faith as a Christian, and seeking excellence in your business of choice as a testimony to Christ.

Sometimes Christians who are in business almost negotiate with the Lord like He was a partner. Lord, you can get the fish to swim into the net, and I can get the net to shore and the fish to market. So if you’ll just get the fish to swim into my net — well then I’ll make sure to give You credit, and to give You 10% of the profits.

Do you know any Christians who think like that? I do. But that day by the Sea of Tiberius none of the apostles were thinking that way. They realized it was the Lord working as they were fishing, and that realization manifested itself in a reverence and a respect as they sat in silence and listened for Him to speak first.

Finally, note the phrase the net was not broken. Regardless of how many fish there were in the net, the net did not break.

If you are in business, whether in a sole proprietorship, a large corporation, or a non-profit, then you are going to work under pressures that most people in the economy don’t know about. You know what it is to have the pressure of meeting a payroll. You know what it is when product has to be delivered under a deadline, or when something has to be fixed to satisfy a client (maybe because once you were less than excellent) or to have to deal with someone who fails to pay you – maybe even a Christian who fails to pay you.

You may be a salesman and your income is dependent upon that next sale; or a small business whose cash flow is dependent upon getting that next contract; and other people’s livelihoods depend on your business and your performance. We read that the disciples were in a small boat – maybe your is like a small boat.

There may be a lot of weight on your net. But in Jesus Christ the net does not break. Let other people talk about burn out and exhaustion; about discouragement or escape. A Christian is sustained from within by the Holy Spirit of God and that net does not break.

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