Day 28 in Proverbs
So does anyone else get skeptical when a business goes out of their way to advertise they are a Christian business? Too often when I visit these establishments, I have seen evidence of business practices that are anything but Christian. Now I tend to get suspicious of them. And yes, I am a Christian. I admit I enter their doors feeling I have the right to judge them to a different standard than I do other businesses. I feel the advertisement says they are offering themselves up to this scrutiny.
When you advertise yourself as a person of faith, you had better make sure that you are living that life (or running that business) in a way that seems worthy of the god you serve. If you are a Christian, the fruits of the spirit should be evident – you should be loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled. No, perfection is not necessary, but there should be evidence that these things are important to you. More important than being right. More important than making money. More important than your personal success. Working hard should be important to you. You should not be lazy. You should work as if you are working for God. Because you really are.
What I find especially abhorrent is when someone uses their faith to draw people into their business, but then swindles them. When they charge the unreasonably high interest rate mentioned in this verse. When they cheat them in some way…..either by not doing their best work, not charging a fair price, not meeting deadlines, or by not doing what they said they will do. When their profits are used purely for their own good, and not shared with others. When they are not good community citizens.
These sort of people may thrive for a while, but soon people come to see who they are. That’s when hopefully we see the principle of this verse come into play….they lose their business to someone who cares for the poor. I will even go as far as to say it is our responsibility to see that this happens. We need to pay attention to how businesses treat people (and not just us!), care about the businesses we patronize, and go out of our way to support those who share the fruits of their success with those who are less fortunate.
I don’t patronize businesses because I agree with all of the views of the owners, be they political or theological. I don’t usually consider the faith of the owners of the businesses I patronize. I definitely, however, patronize a business because I catch a glimpse of the business owner’s heart or the hearts of the employees who work there. I have chosen not to patronize businesses for the exact same reasons.
As for me, I hope my work reflects my faith….and I hope my clients can clearly see a woman who has the heart of God and is honest and upright in her dealings with them. If I don’t do that well, I hope I lose the privilege and someone who does it better thrives.