“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
Because it has such foundational Christian teaching, I try to read through the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 at least once a year. This past month I was once again struck by the power of the command to orient everything in our lives around seeking God’s kingdom and doing what is right as stated in this week’s verse.
Kingdom orientation is an important spiritual principle, but how is it applied in the business world? As I reflected upon how this teaching could be applied in the workplace, I thought of Stephen Covey, the bestselling author. Covey articulated the heart of this teaching in a slightly different way. In his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, his second habit is, “Begin with the End in Mind.” He states, “To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.” (p. 98, 2004 edition). The connection to the Kingdom principle is evident. For the Christian, the end destination is to be in God’s Kingdom and to enjoy him forever.
Relating this principle to business, Covey continues, “…look at business. If you want to have a successful enterprise, you clearly define what you’re trying to accomplish. You carefully think through the product or service you want to provide in terms of your market target, then you organize all the elements – financial, research and development, operations, marketing, personnel, physical facilities, and so on – to meet that objective. The extent to which you begin with the end in mind often determines whether or not you are able to create a successful enterprise.” (p. 99)
Therefore, I would suggest that for the Christian business person, all planning, marketing and general business activity falls under the Kingdom mandate. If we start with the end in mind, to seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness, then all of our activities will orient to that eternal goal. This singular focus is crucial to life effectiveness. Covey argues, “How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and, keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most. …We may be very busy, we may be very efficient, but we will only be truly effective when we begin with the end in mind.”
As you go through the busyness of your week, I encourage you to think through what seeking first the Kingdom of God means for you.
- How important are the issues, crises or opportunities that I am currently facing when viewed in the light of eternity?
- How does my thinking or plans change on the things that I face in the next two months when I consider Christ’s mandate to seek first His Kingdom?
John Wiseman – Corpath Business Forums – www.corpath.ca