Throughout the Bible, God cautions us about the perils of selfish ambition. However, in today’s society, there is a strong emphasis on outshining others and achieving personal success. Despite this, numerous individuals possess a genuine longing to contribute to others through heartfelt enterprises.
It is indeed feasible to prosper as a business owner with a service-oriented mindset. This can be done without compromising one’s integrity. In fact, authentic leadership necessitates this approach. Just as churches prioritize security measures, business owners must develop a safeguarding strategy against detrimental practices that can harm themselves and the business.
Here are just a few of the ways that selfish ambitions that can derail everything.
1. You focus more on profit and accolades rather than what God desires for you.
The desire to serve our neighbors through a heart-centered business is often instilled in us by God. However, it is easy to lose sight of our true purpose and fall into the trap of prioritizing material gain over fulfilling God’s will for ourselves and those around us.
If you find yourself spending more time at work than with your family or in church, compromising your values for the sake of certain jobs, or solely focusing on personal gain when considering employment opportunities, you may have succumbed to this trap. As stated by Jesus in Matthew 6:24:
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
In essence, God and family should be the two most significant aspects of your life. It is crucial to earn a living, provide for your loved ones, and assist your neighbors. However, placing your business at the forefront of your life can gradually distance you from God.
Furthermore, if you prioritize work over spending time with your spouse or nurturing a relationship with your children, you may ultimately find yourself heartbroken and alone, with strained family ties.
2. You expect customers and the business to serve you, rather than serving your purpose.
At first glance, it may seem absurd that customers would willingly spend their money if they didn’t perceive their needs being met. However, as Proverbs suggests, a foolish person can easily part ways with their money. It’s tempting to be misled into thinking that customers exist to serve your interests rather than vice versa.
If you find yourself harboring resentment towards your customers’ requests, you may be on the verge of falling into this trap.
As a God-centered business owner, it’s essential to express gratitude for the customers that God has bestowed upon you. Even a challenging customer may be a hidden blessing in disguise. Perhaps God intends for you to learn how to interact with a particular type of individual. Maybe treating this seemingly bothersome customer with kindness could lead to unexpected blessings.
Turning customers away because they demand much from you may result in a lack of further blessings from God in the form of new customers. Let us not forget the cautionary tale of Moses, who was denied entry into the Promised Land due to his loss of faith, impatience, and misguided actions.
Customers Don’t Owe You
Some business owners adopt an entitled mindset, feeling as though customers “owe” them something. They become frustrated if customers choose not to purchase from them or if they encounter resistance. If you find yourself pressuring customers to buy your products or services, it likely stems from a fear that God will not provide.
Take a moment to reread Matthew 6:25-27, which serves as a reminder that God faithfully meets all your needs. Follow that by revisiting your business’s mission statement. This allows you to reconnect with your original intentions of serving others through your business.
3. You ignore injustice or don’t speak out for fear that others will disapprove and negatively affect profits.
God’s call to each of us is clear: we must stand against injustice wherever it lurks. This involves refusing to partake in harmful business practices, speaking out against news that contradicts God’s will, and addressing allegations of discrimination within our own businesses. However, some entrepreneurs remain silent, driven by fear that potential customers will respond by taking their business elsewhere.
By succumbing to this fear and choosing silence, we fail to trust in God’s provision. We also perpetuate injustice. This directly contradicts God’s command to “do justice and righteousness.” Let us not forget that Jesus’ Crucifixion was not solely a result of Judas’ betrayal. It also came from Peter’s denial, choosing silence instead of speaking up on Jesus’ behalf. Let us avoid this same mistake.
It is crucial to eradicate any form of injustice, particularly within our own businesses. Let our practices be beyond reproach. Envision an employee approaching you with a complaint about harassment or discrimination in the workplace. Do not allow their plea to go unheard. Conduct a thorough investigation and take necessary corrective measures, even if it means parting ways with an employee you value. Failing to act would only strengthen injustice, and God will not reward such actions.
4. You end up harming clothes in the quest for fame, money, or power.
The Bible recounts numerous tales of individuals who prioritized their selfish ambitions, causing harm to those around them in their relentless pursuit of money, fame, or power. These individuals ultimately find no true prosperity and often endure significant suffering.
Consider, for instance, the story of King David. David schemed to send his rival to battle, aiming to remove the obstacle blocking his desired romantic relationship. However, as a consequence of David’s inappropriate actions, his own infant son lost his life.
The consequences we face are equally severe. While your children may not suffer literal death, inflicting harm upon others to advance oneself will undoubtedly lead to immense personal suffering. Whether it involves engaging in unfair competition, knowingly selling harmful products, or betraying someone’s trust to gain an advantage over competitors, such actions ultimately harm oneself.
God has granted us a conscience for a purpose, and it will not remain silent if we engage in such behavior. Moreover, neither you nor your business will receive God’s blessings. Instead, take a moment to reflect on the potential repercussions for others. Whenever tempting offers of substantial monetary gain or opportunities to partake in harmful business practices arise, someone always bears the brunt of the consequences.
5. You use God as a profit selling point but don’t put him first. This gives people of faith a bad name.
One of the gravest consequences of selfish ambition is that it reflects poorly on oneself and tarnishes the image of the God we are meant to serve. Jesus specifically warns us against resembling the hypocrites who pray ostentatiously in public to showcase their piety.
When we proclaim our faith loudly but demonstrate selfish actions, people associate such hypocrisy with God. This causes them to turn away from Him. Given that churches already struggle to encourage regular worship, let us not contribute to the problem.
As a business owner centered on God, you carry unique responsibilities. Your role extends beyond solely making profits; you also represent God in your business. Ensure that your conduct aligns with His desires for us.
This means that when faced with a choice between making a substantial sale solely benefiting yourself or fulfilling a smaller order that aids those in need, opt for the smaller order. It also entails refraining from cutting corners to save money at the expense of your customers.
Engaging in lies, deceit, or unfair business practices to gain an advantage is inappropriate. Always prioritize God over profits. Adhere to Jesus’s command of being the light of the world. Otherwise, you will contribute to further darkness instead.
6. You try to score points by encouraging the oppression of others.
God unequivocally disapproves of any practice that inflicts harm upon others. This is particularly true when it comes to oppressive business behaviors. His commandment urges us to embrace foreigners with open arms. Jesus takes this principle even further by emphasizing that whatever we do to the least of God’s children, we also do to Him.
As a business leader, you face numerous choices on a daily basis. Some of these decisions involve whether to engage in business with companies that actively oppress certain groups or whether to deny service to customers whose choices do not align with your religious beliefs.
It is crucial to remember that God’s commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves is the most significant of all His commandments. This is highlighted by Jesus Himself. It may be tempting to turn away a customer due to their divergence from God’s teachings. However, engaging in discrimination or oppression merely because some church members approve deviates from God’s teachings!
Moreover, by making others feel judged, you hinder the opportunity to guide and save them. Instead, act with compassion as commanded by God.
Embracing a God-centered approach as a business owner can be challenging. The prevailing culture in corporate America emphasizes self-centeredness and a winner-takes-all mentality. Business owners often feel pressured to adopt any means necessary to succeed, even if it means disregarding the well-being of others in the process.
However, such practices are contrary to God’s ways, and engaging in hurtful or deceitful actions will ultimately bring harm to oneself. Every instance of dishonesty, harm, or action contrary to God’s will erodes one’s own soul and opens the door wider for the influence of evil. Furthermore, by claiming to act in God’s name while perpetuating negativity, you push others away from God.
If you choose to embark on a business journey, ensure that God remains at the core of your enterprise. A genuinely God-centered business has the power to positively transform the world, aligning it more closely with the vision God had when He created it.