What is a business relationship?
I have recently come across a disturbing and trending issue within Christian businesses and ministries regarding relationships that is making me grind my teeth and go to my knees in prayer.
It is becoming a regular occurrence. Those that are in a Christian “ministry” or business have an attitude of entitlement, an expectation of something for nothing, or even one where, because of their more “elevated” place in the Christian community (“My ministry”), that they expect to receive, AND fail to give credit to, those that have provided for them.
For example. I was at a Christian fundraising event and had my book, HWJDB How Would Jesus Do Business? to share with others. A Christian two seats away from me asked to see my book. I handed it to them and began speaking to the person sitting in the opposite direction. After I had done speaking with them, I turned back to the person I had handed my book to and saw that they had placed it with their personal stuff, as if I had given it to them. I retrieved it back.
Another example at the same event. I was milling around the room and carried my book with me and a person wanted to take a look. After a few moments, they handed it back as if they were upset it wasn’t a gift to them. But yet, they never indicated whether or not if I had given them my book that they would have returned, in exchange for my book, with either a book review on Amazon or some other compensation for my labors!
It’s becoming disgusting to see and hear these actions within the Christian community. In fact, it’s a common comment from non believers that they will no longer do business with a Christian.
A video from One for Israel regarding evangelizing to the Jews in Israel, brings up a similar point that I am making that occurs even in the Jewish community. This relationship issue of coveting crosses all the boundaries, both the Jewish and Christian communities: The hypocrisy of business dealings (start watching at 0:53 for hearing of this Jewish issue)!
I am not pointing this out to be anti-semitic, far from it, I’m pro-Jewish, pro-Israel, pro-Christian, but just like in all of society, a certain percentage of people at any given time do not conform to the Jewish or Christian Bible’s ethics. Even while following the Bible most of the time, we all have moments, some more than others, where we fail to live up to it’s standards. But habitually? That’s a different story altogether.
Where do we fail in a relationship?
The 10th Commandment: Thou shall not covet!
Exo 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Pretty explicit! NOTHING is to be coveted that belongs to your neighbor. That includes, time (people donating their time to you), tools (experience, hammers, intellectual property, etc.), and treasures (money). There is one thing for someone to say, “You have a Mac computer, I’d like to have one, too” versus “I want YOUR Mac computer.” Coveting means I want what is yours, YOUR time, tools, and treasures (the 3 Ts).
Greed as an attitude, not an amount, and is the root of all evil
Greed, avarice, is never an amount, it is a relationship attitude that is exhibited by the poor, rich, and the politician alike. “I want what is YOURS!” It’s about disrespecting another person and their property: their time, tools, and treasures. It’s disrespecting what God has blessed and given your neighbor. It’s coveting, pure and simple.
Greed is about using FORCE (“I’ll ruin you if you don’t give me your property”) or FRAUD (“l’ll do a book review for you” and NEVER intending to do it) to get what you want, not using negotiation for a win/win transaction. Greed is about exploiting the other for personal gain.
The 10th commandment is about thought control. How do you control your thoughts about your neighbor’s property, the 3Ts? If you can’t control your thoughts, your thoughts turn into actions.
Exo 20:15 You shall not steal.
If you covet, you’ll more than likely want to steal. It starts with our thoughts.
Attitude determines Behavior. Behavior determines Character. Check your attitude about coveting.
Greed is an attempt to get something for nothing, to take without an exchange
Thou Shall Not Covet: The eternal business principle
The commandment “thou shall not covet” is a fantastic business principle to follow. Not only does it work between a business and their customer, a business and their vendor, but it works, too, between business leaders and employees or employees with their leaders. We should not expect to get anything for free, to make someone “work hard for your money” because that means you’re extracting more work for less money. Or for an employee to want more money without providing more value to their employer.
There is nothing wrong with working hard, but to try and extract more from others is to belittle their worth, that can be looked at as coveting.
But what it comes down to is this: you reap what you sow.
If you reap coveting, you’re going to get coveting.
So don’t covet.
Negotiate. Barter. But don’t covet.
The next time you look at what you neighbor has, negotiate how you can both win with the transaction and have a good ROI.
Or, read how God’s economy works regarding blessings: