As a Christian Business Owner, do you see gratefulness as a characteristic that needs to be baked into the culture of your business? I would suspect that most business owners have not thought about how gratefulness (or thankfulness) relates to their running of their business. At best, I would suspect most find it to be a personal thing.
There are some magazine articles on gratefulness in business – most of them concluding that it is good for business because it increases customer engagement, employee engagement, its’ better than moping around or being critical and it’s generally thought to be some type of positive energy thing that will lift the moral of your company.
While those things might all be true, I find there are two core issues concerning gratefulness in business. The first core issue is that gratefulness is part of an integrated, well-functioning Christian personality. You can’t be grateful and also be discontent – at least not in extremes. Elsewhere on this site, I have written about a core assumption I have about business ownership, namely – that an owner’s personal dysfunction will be imprinted onto the business but the results of his or her dysfunction will be seen as business problems to solve, not personal problems that the owner needs to address personally. Having an owner who is grateful will alleviate several other core problems that the owner’s personal dysfunction may create in the business. In short, a grateful owner is a healthy owner and the business will be able to function at a higher level as a result.
The second core issue is that gratefulness means that you’re keeping at the forefront of your mind God’s provision – His sovereignty over all things – and you’re taking rest in what He gives you. In short, you’re stewarding your entrustments from the Lord well. Do you recall the parable of the talents in Luke 19? To two of the servants, God gave five and two talents respectively. Both doubled God’s investment and both received the same reward. The size of the entrustment didn’t matter as much as their faithfulness to steward His entrustment well. It’s impossible to be a good steward of that which God has entrusted to us and be ungrateful for what He has given us.
In this respect, we are like pastors or ministers of the Gospel. God doesn’t call everyone to preach to millions – he calls some of us to preach to 20 or 30 for a very long time. The size of the groups to whom we preach doesn’t matter. Our faithfulness to deliver His word accurately and in love does matter. We’re representing Him – we are stewards – so we need to be grateful that He has called us and has given us platforms from which to preach.
Christian Business owners are ministers in the marketplace. We have a unique calling from the Lord and a unique entrustment as well. The size of our business – $3M, $30M, $300M – whatever the size – doesn’t really matter in God’s economy. What does matter is that we steward those businesses well and that we fulfill His purposes for business as much as possible: Products, Passions, Profits and Philanthropy.
If you’re a Christian Business Owner, take a moment to check yourself. Are you operating from an attitude of gratefulness? If not, why not? Go to the Lord, get on your knees and seek His forgiveness. Let Him transform you in ways you couldn’t imagine so that you’re not only a grateful business owner, but an effective steward of the business which He has given you.
CEO, Service Ideas
Executive Consultant, The Platinum Group