Can Faith and Business Co-exist?

Christianity in business
Faith in business
Christianity and business are two different worlds that many think can’t co-exist. It seems that following God’s principles in business and improving the bottom line are like serving two masters – which is one of the reasons why it’s difficult for many to put God first in business.

I understand that it was challenging, but I have just read an interesting success story of breaking through the business culture and putting things in the right priority. The story is about David Browne, now a retired CEO of LensCrafters.

Success often hide what’s important

When you and I start a business, as people with faith we pray to God for guidance. When we did start things right, we say, “Thank God!”

Then comes business success… success after success bring your business to the higher ground – to a point that it’s difficult to differentiate the rights and the wrongs. At times, things look like grey areas, whereas the boundary between what’s right and wrong blurs.

David Browne, then the CEO of LensCrafters I mentioned above, experienced those personal struggles. His Christian faith told him to put God and people first, his business told him that cash flow is king. Despite his business success, he was not successful in reconciling both worlds.

David’s problem is probably ours, too – we grew up believing that faith and business can’t co-exist. He and many of us then “create” two worlds for us to live in: Personal life ethics and business ethics.

Remember, the more successful you are, the more difficult for you to see that God has given all of those to you. Then, initially started with “Thank God!” now you would say “Thanks to our investors,” “I did it myself!” “Thanks to our customers.”

David came into a conclusion that the only way to go to be successful in both worlds is by applying Christian principles to his business.

Changes are always difficult

Indeed, changes are never easy – however, if you do them right, they are proven to be worthwhile.

David realised that applying the principle of servant leadership of Jesus Christ is the only way to go. He then called the team for a very important meeting, and let them know his plan for the company: Putting a servant leadership model to work – a model that aims to make everyone better, helping everyone to be the best they can be.

Well, then comes what must come: Skepticism; the employees were skeptic that the new changes will work. But not for long…

God favours those who put Him first

Yes… that’s the way it is. Trust in Him and He shall guide you. You are defined by what you believe.

David’s faith in God makes changes miraculously easy. It didn’t take the employees long to realise the positive impact of the servant leadership model. It was and still a successful transition – and an admirable success story of how faith and business can co-exist well.

Let’s face it – your success is not a coincidence. What you might call “luck” is actually God’s blessings. The question is, do you realise that? Are you insisting that your success is because of luck and your very own hard work? Don’t you realise that your hard work is in vain, eventually, if you didn’t receive God’s favours?

Your answer will determine where you and your business will go and eventually end up.

Ivan Widjaya
On Christian business success