For a moment, I want to consider Jesus as an entrepreneur starting a business. Yes, I know he did not run a business, but he was here on a mission. A mission to save you and me from the clutches of sin. His firm has been around for a record-breaking 2000 plus years. Japan proudly hosts 3146 companies that have been around for more than 200 years, according to the website worldatlas.com.
The oldest company in the world is a construction company that started in AD 578 and has been around for more than 1400 years. If we looked at Christianity as a business, it has survived for more than two millennia. We have one founder and CEO, Jesus Christ. There are many managers in this business all around the world. From a business perspective, what makes Christianity survive for ages? If you are looking to follow Jesus’ example in your business, what is the secret recipe you could use today to set you up to run a company that will stay on for a long time?
We know Jesus introduced the upside-down kingdom. Things that He required of us go contrary to how the world functions. “Bless those who curse you,” “Turn the other cheek,” “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” are all principles that go contrary to how the world functions. So, it will not be surprising that the identical value is applied here as well.
If you look at Christianity as a business, Jesus focused on the people first, the service that He provides as the second, and the results.
Jesus Focused on the People
Jesus, when he was in this world, he chose 12 disciples. If you want to make a significant difference, then you need more people on your mission. The more people you have around you, the more noteworthy things that you can achieve. In Ecclesiastes 4:12, we read, “An enemy might be able to defeat one person, but two people can stand back-to-back to defend each other. And three people are even stronger. They are like a rope that has three parts wrapped together—it is very hard to break.”
When you are working with others, they the ones who are with you on your mission. These are the first group of people. Jesus has his disciples; he chose 12, then he selected another 70. The disciples would then be the employees of the company. Jesus also taught anyone who came to listen. Mark 3:9 reads, “Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him.”
Jesus placed both his disciples and the people who came to listen to his words ahead of himself. He cared for them even though he was tired and hungry. Jesus set aside time to teach only the disciples. Matthew 13:10, 11 reads, “The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” He replied, because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.”
Jesus gave his disciples an in-depth explanation of the principles that he was teaching. Jesus always places the people first in his business. Their needs before his needs. Their wants before his. He cared for each one of us; we know that because he laid down his life for all of us. John 15:13 sums up how Jesus prioritized people. Jesus is speaking, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
How can you care about your employees? How do you show you care to your customers/clients?
Show your employees a vision that is bigger than themselves. It gives a common purpose for the people who work for you and show them how their work affects the lives of the people they serve. Showing respect and understanding for the employees who work with you will help you further your vision. Remembering that the employees are following you to see your vision become a reality. They are not working for you but with serving a group of people and making their lives better.
Create an environment where your employees are allowed to fail but are held accountable. Jesus did that with his disciples even though they abandoned him during his crucifixion. Peter betrayed him, but Jesus provided guidance and demonstrated patience. Guide your team to better performance.
The customers themselves are another group of people whose needs you care about. What is the value that you are seeking to add to their lives? Applying the golden rule in your business will put them ahead of yourself and be just like Jesus.
Jesus Focused on the Service
In Mark 2:17, we read, “When Jesus heard it, he said to them, Healthy people don’t need a doctor, but sick people do. I didn’t come to call righteous people but sinners.” Luke 19: 10 reads, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” John 10:10 reads, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
In these verses, we see the purpose that Jesus was here to fulfill – to seek and save. Jesus was clear about the service that he was providing. Jesus was not trying to please everyone and do everything. He said, “the healthy don’t need a doctor” some people will reject the service you provide. Even Jesus’ disciples(employees) walked away. He did not change the service that he was providing. Jesus was clear and unapologetic for his service. You can attest to the fact that you who have received His service have received its full benefits.
Focus on providing the best service you can. Work towards the long-term benefits for the people whom you seek to serve.
Jesus Focused on the Results
Results were the last on the list of his priorities. Yes, his service was to save mankind, but Jesus did not come with a figure of people to redeem in mind. He celebrated each success. Luke 15:7 says, “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who turns to God.”
Jesus did not have quarterly targets though he had a market expansion plan. In Matthew 24:14, Jesus invites us, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations.”
In the world, we have gotten this principle upside down. First, we are after quarterly results, profit margins, and dividends and bonuses, then followed by the service and finally the people. I am confident if you get the first two right then results will automatically follow. How would your business change if you followed God’s recipe for running a successful business?