Unequally Yoked in Business

What does it mean to be “unequally yoked” in the business world. I used to think that it meant you couldn’t have partners in business who weren’t Christians. I no longer think that way – at least that specific thought. I’ve now met too many Christians in business who lack enough ethics that I would never want to do business with them. I’ve also met enough non-believers in business who had great ethics that I wouldn’t mind doing business with them.

I think some of it comes down to spiritual authority and giving the enemy a foothold in your business. Sin always gives Satan a foothold. Alignment with another who is not aligned with Christ will certain give him a foothold. But what about investors? What about venture capitalists? What about stock option plans, ESOPs, buy-outs by employees or other arrangements in which some or most control is given away as part of the larger deal?

All of these methods of selling or sharing ownership have several variations that are not neatly discussed in Scripture. But based on my current thinking, here are some ideas to work with.

  1. The greek for the phrase “unequally yoked” means that you don’t enter into intimate relationships with non-believers because the value systems and the spiritual dimensions are just too diverse for those relationships (at least most of the time) to be successful.  You’ll need to decide, with the help of the Holy Spirit, what an “intimate relationship” constitutes for you in business.
  2. I would advise that you choose someone you can trust – and let trust be developed over time.  Never give it.  Allow for time for them to earn your trust.
  3. Don’t assume you can trust another brother in the Lord. Sorry, to be so blunt. But many Christians cannot be trusted.
  4. Don’t assume you can’t trust another person who isn’t a believer.
  5. Align your business relationships based on clearly articulated values and business goals. Then use process and accountability to measure progress toward those goals.
  6. Don’t confuse your business relationship with a friendship. The two are not the same thing and when combined, provide a measure of fodder for the enemy to work with that doesn’t exist when they are not combined.
  7. Look at your stewardship role before the Lord and ask yourself if this partnership will further your call in business to steward God’s resources effectively.
  8. Don’t be slavishly tied to this phrase because of your theology on marriage. Marriage and business partnerships are not the same thing, though at times, they will feel nearly the same. There is no sin for ending a business partnership. There is sin for ending a marriage.

I hope you all find this helpful.

Bill English