By Jamie Shafer
This verse beautifully sums up one of the foundational ideas behind this column. When I mention the title Marketplace Faith to others, I often get questions like, “What does that really mean?” In our culture, the idea of expressing faith in the workplace is growing, but some are still trying to understand how it translates to everyday life and business.
It is viewing the workplace, wherever it may be, as a place where we can join Jesus on his mission to share love and truth with our world. When we begin to view our jobs as callings from God, then our posture changes in how we approach our priorities, company, and everyday practices.
Here are a few practical ways that faith can play a main role at work:
From the small business owner to large corporations, one of the key themes for Christians in business is an appropriate alignment of priorities. Sally Grant, Marketing Director for Mike’s Carwash, shares, “In team meetings, our employees are always reminded that our priorities are ‘God, family, work . . . in that order.’”
Knowing the Real CEO
Proverbs 3:5, 6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Many Christian business owners have applied this by recognizing that all they have truly belongs to the Lord, and they are simply stewards.
Wayne Foster, CEO of American Patriot Getaways in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, says, “[We] came to the conclusion a long time ago that these are not our businesses; they are God’s and are to be used for him. We’ve always tried to adhere to that. Sometimes that means we pray, ‘Lord, your businesses are in trouble.’ We refuse to stress out over things that seem to not be doing well. His plan is so much bigger than my plan. I’ve quit trying to micromanage for him.”
Building a Foundation
What does it look like to apply faith to everyday business? Business owners and employees express it in various ways. For Dairy Queen owner David Elberfeld in Washington Court House, Ohio, it’s as simple as having a reputation for treating employees fairly and with respect. “I try to never lose my temper, even if I’m disappointed in an employee. Through the years, I have seen that same behavior reflected through my employees to our customers,” says David.
Norm Miller, chairman of Interstate Batteries, shares his personal testimony via the company’s website, which states, “Norm Miller is also a believer in God’s power to change lives, because it was that power that turned his own life around after years of drinking as hard as he worked.” At the end of his personal bio, he encourages readers to commit their lives to Jesus Christ.
Chick-fil-A has long been known for combining faith with their business practices. Beyond their “closed on Sunday” policy, and focusing on youth and education through the Chick-fil-A Foundation, their overarching corporate purpose is “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.”
Although they also serve fast food, Elevation Burger focuses on offering healthier products with their high-quality organic burgers. CEO Hans Hess recently shared in an interview with Faith & Leadership about how faith played a role in their product development: “I felt that God calls us to be stewards of creation, people who take care of it, so that was the driving force behind Elevation Burger in my head.”
Living the Gospel
Ephesians 6:19 says, “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” Christ’s love can be displayed on the job through simple expressions like generosity or prayer for everyday decisions or for coworkers in need. We need only ask God to guide us in seeking his priorities and then be open to the doors of opportunity.
Jamie Shafer is a communications strategist for Fishhook Communications in Indianapolis, Indiana. She and her husband, Eric, have two children.