Business Bondage

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Over a year ago, a friend recommended “Business by the Book” by Larry Burkett as a good introduction into business management and leadership. Recently, I was able to begin digging in and discovered that the book is indeed filled with timeless gems relevant to today’s culture even though it was written in 1990. Larry writes from a Christian perspective, basing his conclusions on biblical principle and keen insight into the modern day business person’s experience.

Shortly into the book, I was snagged by some examples of what he termed as “business bondage”. By this he means anything that interferes with your relationship with God, your family, or simply causes you to be out of balance with what God reveals in the Bible as His will for your life.  This is when some aspect of your work is consuming precious resources that are intended for other non-negotiable priorities. It is the point at which work becomes the sole contributor to a person’s worth and ensnares them in the cycle of propping up their own sense of value by achieving endless goals or accomplishments. As I continued to read, I realized that this bondage can reveal itself in other ways as well. Here are some of the signs that Larry described:

An Air of Superiority

Have you ever met somebody who made it obvious that they were God’s gift to your organization or team?  This happens often to leaders who are deceived by their accomplishments and they become exalted instead of humbled. For these, work is no longer about bringing God glory and other people blessing.

Overwork

In American society, people are often enslaved to work because it is the only way to have all the toys, possessions, successes, or experiences they want. Because the desire for more is never satisfied, neither are the work hours. Discontentment may motivate us for a while, but at some point, working too many hours may cause your health to run out or the people you love to walk out.

Excessive Use of Credit

Many companies and individuals seize opportunities on the back of excessive credit. Believing that the good times will continue to roll and that the current momentum will carry them on forever, they make the risky decision to expand production or buy the home on too much credit. The inability to say “No” to excessive credit for the sake of growing is an obvious evidence of business bondage.

Disorganization

While some personalities are inclined to organization, everybody has to grow to appreciate it. Those who choose to continually add additions to their business without first examining and reinforcing the details of their current structure, will soon regret their zeal. Refusing to slow down long enough to dive into the detail or hire someone who can, is a sure sign of slavery.

A Get-Rich-Quick Mentality

There is nothing wrong with becoming wealthy using the talents that God has given you, but too many people are committed to doing as little as possible while expecting riches. This is bad principle if this leaves others in the business deal scraping the bottom of the barrel while you are driving off into the sunset in your brand new car.

While you probably have a list of people who came to mind as you read each of these, it is important that we consider if any of these characteristics are present in our lives. It might just save us years of misery and regret. Whether you are in business bondage, or simply battling the tendency to let your work determine your identity, the Bible can give you hope… “ So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my committed followers,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  – John 8:31-32.

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