Christians business leaders face many interpersonal struggles that can challenge who they are in Christ with the role they play in their careers. One such struggle is the pride and sense of personal accomplishment that often comes with success. Certainly, there is a healthy level of personal satisfaction and pride in our work but, when we start to forget about God and part His grace and provision play in our success, we are entering into dangerous territory. Here are a few ways that we can remember our place and give credit where credit is due.
1. Remember Who Enabled Us to Be Successful
James 1:17 tells us that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.” God has given us the ability, strength, focus, and circumstances that have permitted success. Without His blessing, we would have nothing. In talking about the success of preaching the gospel, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:6, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” I believe the same principle applies to our business success: we work hard to bring about results but, in the end, it is God’s providential hand that gives us growth.
2. Remember Why We Are Permitted to Be Successful
God does not bless us so that we can keep everything for ourselves; he blesses us so that we may bless others. “It’s more blessed to give than to receive,” Paul quotes Jesus in Acts 20:35. Sometimes, we mistakenly think that, because we are successful and another is not, we are more righteous than him. God’s favor clearly is shining upon us and not on that other person. What we don’t realize is that God intends to bless that person through us–and we are merely withholding the blessing. Why build another barn to store all of your food when your neighbor has nothing to eat?
3. Remember Job
Perhaps the time that we are most successful in our business is the time that we need the most introspection. We need to honestly ask ourselves, “What would we do if we lost everything?” Would we curse God for taking everything from us or would we confess that it was His all along? Paul says in Philippians 4:12, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” Have we learned that secret? Are we willing to take whatever God gives us and be happy with it? If not, maybe we’ve gotten too big for our britches.
4. Remember What Our Real Business Is
Jesus says in Matthew 6:19-20, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” If we become proud of the work that we accomplish here in this world, we are taking pride in the wrong thing. If we really want to do something worth bragging about, we’ll focus on the business of sharing Christ’s love and saving souls. The financial success we have in this world is only good for so long. Our real net worth is how many people we can get into heaven. And, again, God is the one who gives the growth. It is merely ours to do the work.
Pride is a dangerous attitude to have as Christians. The moment we start to think that it was us that made our success possible is the moment we lose the support that truly birthed it. Let us remember where our blessings come from, and let us be thankful. God knows our needs. In the words of Paul in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Doug Rice is the webmaster for the Lake Milton Church of Christ. We are small community of Christians in Lake Milton, Ohio, who focus on deep Bible Study and showing Christian love. If you would like to write for Faith and Finance, find out how right here.