business stewardship
The act of stewardship in business
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

Small business owners – regardless whether you are a Christian or not – should understand that what you receive today is not a coincidence; it’s God’s blessings. Your small shop or multi-million-dollar business is entrusted by God for you to take care; it’s a gift for your hard work.

Sure, success is a result of hard work; but without God’s blessings, your hard work is pointless. You can be rich and own a successful business, but without acknowledging God’s role in your business, your success is, again, pointless.

In order NOT to have a pointless business life, you need to do what you have to do: Acknowledge that God is the owner of your business, and you are a steward appointed by Him to take care of the business. And it’s God’s wish for you to use your business to serve others. How?

Your challenge in business stewardship: Serving your clients well as God’s steward

Here’s a question for you: Your business is likely to serve a list of clients – are you serving them for their money or because you are really doing so because you really care? Or are you taking care of your clients because they bring you money? It’s not easy to tell, but you know the truth deep in your heart.

Of course, helping clients will almost always mean business revenue to you. But are you willing to take extra miles to take care things for them because you are really caring for them; because you know without them your business won’t exist?

One prominent example of business stewardship

I have heard and read great customer stories that are examples of business stewardship. Here is one of them that stands out beyond the we-will-replace-your-defective-product-with-a-new-one-right-away customer service stories we often heard:

Ritz-Carlton, Bali, Indonesia

A family of three stays in Ritz-Carlton, Bali, Indonesia has to bring with them special eggs and milk for their son who suffered from food allergies. Alas, upon arrival, the eggs had broken and the milk had soured. What does Ritz-Carlton do? The manager and dining staff search all over the area for such eggs and milk, but couldn’t find any.

Not stopping there, one Ritz-Carlton executive chef remembered that a store in Singapore sold such food. He asked for his mother-in-law who was living in Singapore to help him buy the eggs and milk and fly with those for over 1,000 miles, all the way to Bali to deliver them just for the family (read the story here.)

So – are you serving your business clients just for their money?

The family in the amazing Ritz-Carlton story is just an ordinary family – not a celebrity or other important public figure. Are you willing to do that for your clients, even for the small ones? Are you willing to travel 1,000 miles to deliver eggs and milk for a customer in need? Are you a steward of God’s gift for you, or do you merely serve your top clients because they bring the most profits into your business, the nothing-personal-it’s-just-business style?

Remember, you can be successful using many means – by scamming others; by scratching your clients’ back; by doing unethical business practices (i.e. damaging the environment with toxic wastes, etc.); or by serving your clients in such a way that you pass good deeds to others because you are God’s steward?

The path you take will determine where your business will end up. Do you like being “successful with an asterisk”? Or do you want real success by serving your clients the best you can and get more clients driven to your business via buzz marketing – thanks to the well-spread great customer service stories? The choice is yours.

Ivan Widjaya
Business stewardship