The first time I read the Bible cover to cover, I was in the middle of my climb-the-corporate-ladder days and ended up as a corporate manager inside the headquarters of a Fortune 500 retailer. More than anything, I was curious how this book applied to business.
Needless to say, it does.
One of the great challenges I hear from other Christian business leaders is how to systematically study and apply the wisdom of the Bible in their business. Beyond spiritual development, which is critical, they struggle with how to find the time to uncover how the Word could impact their companies that day?
Here is a simple approach I use that Christian business leaders can implement today to jump start how better to apply the Bible at work.
Chapter a Day Challenge
Three years ago I began a daily Bible reading accountability group. Today we have 10 men (including me) that read one chapter of the Bible every day and group text each other their insights, thoughts, aha’s, and more.
It began for me as a personal spiritual development habit and has transformed into more of a business application focus (with the blessing of my friends). Of course, I still receive huge spiritual blessings through this daily devotional. But as a Christian business leader, I now see this as an easy, quick (15 minutes or less), and powerful approach to better apply the Word at work.
Just to illustrate, here are a few random examples of my texts over the past several months. (Remember, these are not smoothing written, publishable copy – but text messages, send very early in the morning to friends.)
Revelation 3: Wake up! These letters are indeed wake up calls for the church, and for us individually. Are we walking around with soiled clothes? Do we walk thru the open door or just stay seated? Are we hot, cold, or lukewarm? (Lotta sleepy, lazy, lukewarm people in the pews and in our cubicles at work!) Chapters 2-3 are our wake up call to take action and be bold – not just talk/think about it and live in the margin of faith. So what are you/we going to DO today?
Luke 14- Count the Cost. Too many entrepreneurs fail to estimate the real cost of their ideas and dreams, get started, and run out of money before they finish. Have seen dozens of empty shell, unfinished house foundations in the Dominican Republic where the builders ran out of money and just walked away. Jesus says to count the cost of being his disciple before committing. That’s huge. Guess that is why there are so few true disciples (lots of followers – but few true disciples). Wonder if Jesus sees us as empty shells? Am I willing to give up everything? The cost? The reward? The ROI? Maybe disciples are the best entrepreneurs after all – they’ve calculated the cost & went anyway! And their ROI is eternal. Something we can do at work – focus more on the eternal ROI of our work.
Prov 29- Beyond Words. V19 Tells us that “a servant cannot be corrected by mere words, though he understands, he will not respond.” Every employee – every child – every spouse needs to see the actions behind the words, the relationship living out loud before they respond to correction or suggestion. Before we launch into our next speech to improve someone else, reflect on the quality of the relationship, AND if it is strong enough to offer correction.
Proverbs 16- Higher Level Planning V9 “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” It’s amazing to look back & reflect on where God has taken us vs. what we had planned. The more we connect His dots of our past the more likely we can project our next best step into the future. God has us on His path. I suggest we contemplate where it’s brought us to our businesses so far & where it could take us. If nothing else it gives us a higher probability of taking the right next step & reaching His earthly destiny for us, both in our business and in our life. Cool thought isn’t it!
Leviticus 7- Executive Training. In the first 7 chapters, God gives us a great example of how to teach and train executives. His offerings and regulations training session with Moses can be summarized in the familiar Who, What, When, Where, and How. Whenever we teach others – even our kids – we need to use all 5. Teaching only 4 leaves a (potentially dangerous) gap.
Accept the Challenge
- Take the Chapter a Day Challenge. Begin reading one-a-day then journal your response. I keep my entries in Evernote (I am not affiliated with Evernoteand receive no compensation for recommending their incredible on0line digital storage system.)
- Invite 4-5 others to join you. I have 9-men in my group who text their thoughts and insights every day. They need not be Christian business leaders, just good solid Christians. My groups approach is a more personal application, my mine more business application, and frankly, I enjoy the combination. I love learning from their insights which helps me to even better apply that chapter to business.
- Experience a fresh impact. Now into our third year, my group is experiencing God’s wisdom in new, fresh, and dynamic ways. For me, this daily study is through a business application lens – how might I or other Christian business leaders apply this chapter to their leadership, their company, and their people?
- Keep going. It’s is easy to start then lose interest (the parable of the seeds). I encourage you to make the commitment and keep going. Again, I highly recommend you create an accountability group.
The Payoff for Christian Business Leaders
The payoff for me has been tremendous. Not only does this lens shift (as I like to call it) give me a fun and vigorous way to study the Bible, it has enlightened me to find stunningly simple yet profound ways to apply its timeless truths for my colleague’s customers, constituents, and even in my community.
- So, what is your system of daily business devotional?
by Dr Jim Harris – Dr. Jim Harris serves as a business strategist to executive teams who desire a marketplace breakthrough. A former Fortune 500 executive, Dr. Jim is the author of numerous award-winning business books including ‘Our Unfair Advantage: Unleash the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Business’, ‘The Impacter: A Parable on Transformational Leadership’ and ‘Finding and Keeping Great Employees’. http://www.drjimharris.com/about/
Corpath Business Forums – www.corpath.ca