Stop Making Bad Decisions Now!by David Ferguson
Being a Jesus Led Business has less to do with your actual business and more to do with you as the leader of that business. So let’s talk about you as a leader and what happens when you make decisions that are not “Jesus Led.”
It happens…and for some more than others. But no one is a perfect human (there has only been 1 of those in history). And, just because you are a faithful Christian, doesn’t mean you’re a good business person. So, just like we fall to temptations and make bad decisions in life, we also make bad decisions in business. In this context, I am referring to a bad decision as something that conflicts with the teachings, morals, and values that are taught in the Bible and what, as Christians, we try to live by.
When Christians make bad decisions it’s a double-edged sword. Not only do we get the consequence of the bad decision, but we also give those non-believers watching us the opportunity to call out hypocrisy and have another arrow in their argument against God. When we make bad decisions in business, it magnifies the consequences because the potential impact of that decision can be so much greater.
I recently read a comment on an Internet forum where an employee complained about their boss who, as they put it, “claimed he was a Christian and running a Christian business and laid off the entire staff without warning and with no severance!” I have no clue what happened to this business, but what is clear is that some business owner had made a lot of bad decisions and ultimately ran his business into the ground. What this employee may not have known was that his boss may be going bankrupt because he personally put up his house and everything he owned, and may not have been paying himself a salary, just to keep everyone else paid on his team. While the owner may have had good intentions, his bad decisions not only ruined his business, but also gave the opportunity for non-believers to scream how hypocritical Christians can be.
I would add that one of the owner’s bad decisions was announcing to everyone that he was a “Christian Business.” See my previous blog series, “Is Being a Jesus Lead Business an Anti-Customer Magnet (Part I, II, & III)” on this subject, where I discuss how being a Jesus Led Business is about you as the leader, not about something your business is. A business isn’t a person (no matter what the Supreme Court says), so it can’t be a Christian.
Let’s take a look at Galatians 6:8 – “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
Here we have both the understanding of what a bad decision is and the consequence of doing it. Here’s how I apply it to business; if I’m doing something in my business that is not serving the Lord, then my business is not going to be blessed. That’s a pretty simple concept. Unfortunately, I have tested this a lot in my 15-year history by making a lot of bad decisions. What did I learn? Well, I discovered that the consequences you pay in your business are not worth the small advantage you think you’ve gained.
I’ll give you one story of how a bad decision came back to bite me. I was doing work as a sub-contractor to a large Internet company. I had an agreement with the partner who introduced me to the company that I wouldn’t compete with them or take any work direct with the company he introduced me to. Pretty standard stuff. Well, when the company approached me and wanted to do a direct, side contract with me, pay me more money, and promise me more work, I jumped at the opportunity. I was a new business and this contract would accelerate my business greatly (See clause about sinful nature in Galatians 6:8). I LIED to the partner and said we couldn’t help them anymore. They lost the contract with the company and I took it over. Are you seeing how bad this decision was yet?
So you probably are guessing the partner sued me and that was the consequence? No. God works better than that when teaching us a lesson. I started working the project and the money was flowing. The contract grew from 1 person to 4. But then the payments stopped flowing as frequently. The company was slow paying me by 30 days, then 60 days and finally 90 days. They kept promising me “the check was on the way,” and I believed them (another bad decision triggered by greed). It got to the point where all the company credit cards were maxed out and I told them I could not even buy my guys’ airplane tickets to show up at the job unless they paid me some money. They started cutting me emergency checks just to keep us coming. Long story short, after owing me $220,000 in payments their company went bankrupt. And to add insult to injury, their lawyers came after ME for the $60,000 in emergency payments they had paid me as “preferential payments” (look that law up if you’re not familiar with it).
So what I thought was my blessing (more money and more work), became my curse (no money and no work). Oh, and by the way, my partner got another contract with the company and spotted my guys there too. So, they found out that I lied and cheated them out of some money.
The good news is…I survived. I hit rock bottom and the ultimate blessing in the story is God revealed to me that I had turned away from Him in my business and gave into my sinful nature. He showed me that I had come to love money, which is not what he originally called me into business for. When this revelation hit me I was in the middle of talking with bankruptcy lawyers and trying to understand if I got to keep my house and my car in this situation. Once I put into action what the Lord asked me to do at that moment, my circumstances completely changed. I got new contracts, my business started to grow again and in less than 6 months I was bigger than ever. That wasn’t the last time I made a bad decision, but it was the last time I made one of that magnitude.
Think about what seeds you are sowing in your business. What decisions you are making that are contrary to the teachings of Christ? Examine all areas of your business…how you treat customers, employees, and partners. How you deal with money, with relationships, and what your motivations are for the things that you are doing. Now examine the issues in your business. How many distractions do you have dealing with lawyers, debt collectors, employee issues, disputes, or even just negative growth in your business? Instead of blaming the economy (or even blaming God for not answering your prayers), take a look in the mirror and stop making bad decisions.
I challenge you to stop making bad decisions. If you are doing something in your business that is not serving the Lord, then your business is not going to be blessed. Ready to be blessed? Check back often and sign-up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any future posts about being a Jesus Led Business and other actionable steps to help drive your business.
And, in the meanwhile, continue to… Pray About It, Be About It, and Praise About It!
Thanks for reading and God Bless.