Jesus Means Business, Part 3 of 5

Here’s the sad truth.  Most business people don’t know what Jesus would do.  If they pray about it, they’re looking for a concrete answer, perhaps a divine intervention where Jesus himself whispers into their ear what they should do.  I might be wrong, but I don’t think that happens a lot.

So what is a business person left with?  And is giving money to the church the most Christian use of our funds?

Questions, questions.

Perhaps we could acquire a concordance and track down ever verse about money.  Maybe that would give us specific directions?  Not usually.  What we would get would be the principles of a Godly use of money.  Principles, weren’t what we were looking, but it seems that that is what God wants us to learn.

In our next post we’ll take a look at an actual business person who had to figure this out and see how they did it.

Jesus Means Business, Part 2 of 5

“Honor the Lord with your wealth,  with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”  Proverbs 3:9-10

Well, fine.  Just try putting that in your business plan and presenting it to the Board of Directors.

Of course, a lot of their reactions will depend upon who they are and what they believe.  But trust me, in the average business, you’ll be asked to do some re-writing.

Why?

Well, because most businesses people don’t believe it.  And before you think about looking around for the nearest pile of stones for ammunition, think about it.  You’re a business person, your payroll is coming Friday and you barely have the cash to pay the employee.  So in normal Business-Think you can’t do both.  You only, after all have so much money.  Do you pay the employee or give it instead to your church?

What would Jesus do?  And that question isn’t a trap.  It’s the key to changing the way we business people look at money.

Think about.

What really would Jesus do?

 

 

Jesus Means Business- Part 1 of 5

It’s hard to say when lying became a standard procedure in business.  A friend of mine claims it was the politicians who taught the business people.  Maybe it’s a chicken and egg thing, but in the end it’s the devil Jesus said is the father of lies.

Jesus means us to run our businesses in ways that glorify His Father.  Which means, I think, honoring his commands and teachings- which means following what is written in the Bible.

That sounded good to me when I first thought about it.  Then I tried to find specific instructions regarding business in the Bible.  It wasn’t as easy as I thought after I finished harvesting the low-hanging fruit.

In subsequent posts, I’ll share with you what I found and how I think we can best put that knowledge to work for us.

Which Road? Part 4 of 4

Eventually, I learned which was the right road to follow. It was the road where the cross of Jesus Christ is always before you. I don’t mean the church, I’m not talking about a particular denomination. I’m talking about what it says in Hebrews 12:2―

2…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2 New International Version (NIV)

Over the years, I learned the lesson that in order to find and walked the Jesus road, I needed to do just that, to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. So how do we do that? Usually early in the morning or late at night, and wonder what am I supposed to be doing. I don’t mean whether I should be taking out the trash or where I should be going to eat. I mean I wonder what I should be doing to be on the Jesus road. It seems to me that too many of us think that staying on the Jesus road doesn’t require our attention.
This concept reminds me of drivers who are technically on the road they’re driving, but texting while they are doing so. Although they might claim otherwise, it just seems to me that there really not on the road. Their car is, but their mind isn’t. As a result of this, they can miss turns. They can drive through stop lights without meaning to do so. They can even, hit another car. They are an accident waiting to happen.
In order to make sure we stay on the Jesus road, we need to pay attention to that road. In the Gospel of John we read:

18Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him. “Follow me!”
20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”
John 21:18-22 New International Version (NIV)

The only thing we need to follow Jesus down the road named after him is to keep our eyes fixed on him. We do that, of course, by reading God’s word. In the real world, we can’t see Jesus. Physically see him, that is. But we know what the cross he was crucified looked like. We don’t have a photo of it, but we know what a cross looks like.

So, we have to stay awake, we have to keep our eyes open and remember the cross. If we do that, it’s a lot easier to stay on Jesus road.

Which Road? Part 3 of 4

philosophical machinery

Which road?  The road where men and women are mere organic thinking machines collaborating in a mechanical life, or the road where we are valued children of God.  At that time, I didn’t know there was such a choice.  I had grown up thinking that God was only a construct for social control.  I had a lot to learn.

You might be wondering why I ran away from home at sixteen years of age to meet the most effective atheist of our age—Ayn Rand, the author of Atlas Shrugged.  You’d think I made the journey because I wanted to meet the woman who I also considered to be the most brilliant writer alive.  Or because I wanted to become a card-carrying member of the Objectivist Institute.

At the time, I probably did think something like that.  At the time, if you’d told me I was traveling a different road than what I thought I was, I would have been shocked.

I thought I was running to something.  Toward a logical explanation of who I was and what to do with my life.  It seemed that the philosophy of the Objectivists could explain all of that to my satisfaction.  To my amazement, my discussions with the Objectivist Institute produced the opposite result.  In their advocacy and defense of atheism and “pure” logic, they still could not provide a basis for living.  The weaknesses at the core of Objectivist thinking I’ll leave for another time, but for now I’ll just say that one night, after making the point that without God there was no basis for human rights, that instead there could only negotiated social contracts—I realized how far apart people could become without God to hold us together.

It was a peculiar discussion in that the Objectivists I was speaking to were floundering so badly in their defense of Rand’s basic postulate regarding rights.  It was that shortfall that convinced me that if I wanted real answers, I needed to look elsewhere.

That’s when I began looking for the Jesus Road in earnest.  I just didn’t know it yet.

Which Road? Part 2 of 4

I did general labor around the Objective Institute—I don’t even know if I was paid on the record.  Probably not, since I didn’t have a checking account and ATM cards were unheard of back in the mid ’60s.  So I was most likely paid in cash.  With it, I paid for a cheap room at the YMCA, bought a pocket knife, and worked at the Objectivist Institute.  As a bonus for working part time there, I got to attend the lectures free.  Well, not exactly free—I had to arrange seating, usher people to the chairs and help sweep the lecture room clean afterwards.

It was heady stuff.  The first lecture I heard was on Objectivist Epistemology.  I was where I thought I should be.  A sixteen year old runaway in search for truth.  I hadn’t told my parents I was leaving because, I didn’t think they would let me go.  Later, I heard their side of it.  I heard how they contacted the police.  How they thought I was dead or worse.

I thought a lot about that on day two and even more on day three.  But then I met Ayn Rand, the atheist of the age.

Which Road?- Part 1 of 4

One September morning, when the other kids in my neighborhood were on their way to high school, I took a bus to downtown Detroit, went to the train station, and took the first train I could get to New York City. No, it wasn’t a field trip, I’d made up my mind over the last few weeks to go meet I Ayn Rand. I had $99 in my pocket, and no plan other than to meet the great writer, the great author of the Fountainhead and Atlas shrugged. It wasn’t really an in-depth plan. That was as deep as it got. Go to bus stop, take bus to Detroit, get ticket at the train station for New York City, try to find I Ayn Rand. Although I did not have many clues in my head, I at least knew where to find her. No, it wasn’t her home address. It was the address of the objectivist Institute, which I found in the back of my copy of Atlas Shrugged.

As I look back on this years later, one thing that strikes me is the number of times I should have died during the trip. Even in the late 60s, the world was not exactly a safe place. I wasn’t carrying a cell phone. I didn’t even have a map. My plan was, at least I think it was that when I got to New York I would simply ask someone where the address was. Being that the objectivist Institute was in the basement- or perhaps the subbasement- of the Empire State building it seemed like an easy enough task. However, I did not have money for a cab.  So, I had to walk.

Most of my memories of the trip from the New York train station are vague. I have no images to recall that I seem to be able to get my mental hands on, but I do remember a sense of separation. I remember the lack of noise. I assumed that all big cities would be filled with cacophonous noise. But I don’t remember a lot of noise in the area I walk through to get to the center of New York. In fact, many of the streets seemed vacant. Of course, that may have just been benchmarked against my expectations. I may have been expecting thousands of people jam packed together in the streets, so when I didn’t see what I expected by the time I was a few blocks into the city, it probably made the city seem pretty well empty.

Unknown to me, my perception of the city was fairly well true in a way that would have surprised me had I considered it.   I really was alone in New York City; I really did not know anyone. If I was attacked, or in any way assaulted who would I turn to for help? Total strangers? It wouldn’t take me long in the Big Apple to realize that most people just did not want to get involved in anything dicey. Or risky.

I learned this the day I saw a lion walking down the sidewalk. No, I’m not kidding. I actually saw it happen. The lion was walking down the sidewalk and New York pedestrians were walking around him as though it was just another person. Occasionally someone would look at the lion, but then they kept walking.  I’m fairly certain this sort of thing did not happen on a daily basis.  I’m not sure how close the area I was in was to the New York zoo. But I did find it fairly disturbing. But it may help you to understand why it is that the city seemed vacant to me. Most of the people seem to feel more interested in looking at their own reflection in window glass as they passed, then they did looking at their neighbors.

If this sounds to be a harsh assessment, so be it.

The time I was taking this journey, it never occurred to me that I might be in danger. Logically, this was complete idiocy. New York City is not exactly Disneyland. I remember concrete- more than anything else concrete everywhere.

I can’t imagine it is healthy to live in the city such as New York. It is the most unnatural place on earth, except for places such as Toronto Atlanta Los Angeles, etc. Never mind the violent people equipped with firearms knives and you name it. Never mind the drugs and the alcohol. Never mind the perverts and maniacs and grifters. It was the confluence of all of these elements combined with the sordid history of a city with too many buildings, too many people, too much pollution and too much human suffering and violence. Perhaps because of my youth and naiveté, I was unafraid because I was, in a word, stupid. I was on a mission. I admired Ayn Rand’s hero John Gault in her novel Atlas Shrugged. He seemed more logical to me than my friends in high school, to my parents, than my full family, than the neighborhood, and even more sane than the town I had grown up in. Ayn Rand’s characters were the first light of sanity in my young life or so I thought at the time.

My father worked as a postman and our local post office, and when he got off work he also had a washer and dryer repair business. In a word, he seemed terribly uninteresting to me. Hard-working, long-suffering and family-oriented, but boring. I did not want to grow up to be boring—anything but that. My mother, and a bank and took care of us kids. Both of my parents were loving and affectionate. It was no fault of theirs that I became possessed with the idea of taking the train to New York City and walking from the train station to the Empire State building to meet the famous author Ayn Rand. I did not think of it at the time as being a coming of age adventure, but looking back to more mature eyes, that seems to be what it was. But, it really was much more than that.

It was the beginning of my search for the Jesus Road.

Blind Guy on the Road

Careful. There’s a blind guy on the road and he doesn’t know the rules.

He’s not wearing dark glasses and he doesn’t have a cane. He’s being led down the side of the road by a group of guys so he doesn’t wander off into the desert and die of thirst.

And, well, he’s been acting nuts. Hearing voices and even answering them! He says Jesus was speaking to him- Jesus had already been crucified by the way. Crazy days. The Bible doesn’t say whether the guys leading him to Damascus thought he was crazy or not, but there’s a real chance they did.

The guy, of course, is the Apostle Paul.

Most Christians have heard the story, of course, but there’s something I’ve always wondered about. At what point did Paul become a Christian. Was it when he was baptized by Ananias in Damascus? Or was it when he heard the voice of Jesus on the Damascus Road and obeyed the Lord by going to Damascus and following the Lord’s commands?

I’m still thinking about it, but what do you think?

Time Out for Glorious Music

I’m working hard on the next book, titled “The Jesus Road” because after reading my collection of science fiction stories titled “Tales from the Jesus Road” exactly what the Jesus Road was. And so, since it’s good to follow up on requests from serious readers, I’m not only writing it, but being inspired by glorious music like the song from the Newsboys titled “Born Again” while I do.