The Bible and Business

Every great business practice was written somewhere in the Bible thousands of years ago.

I recently purchased a book by Adam Grant, a best-selling business author. While reading a good business book, I start thinking, “Hmmmhhhmmm, I wonder how many pages I will have to turn before I run into a Biblical concept?”

Not long with Grant’s Think Again, as in the prologue, he states the purpose of this book: “Yet in a turbulent world, there’s another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn.”

The Apostle Peter said in his first sermon on the Day of Pentecost, “Repent!” (Acts 2:38 NASB95). The word “repent” in the Greek means “change your mind” or “rethink.”

Another popular business book that I read a couple of years back was Alive at Work by Daniel Cable, and in the first few pages, “Many organizations are deactivating the part of employees’ brains called the seeking system. Our seeking systems create the natural impulse to explore our world… and extract meaning from our circumstances.”

Sounds like Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount when he says, “Seek and you will discover” (Matthew 7:7 TPT).

One of my favorite books of all time is Principles by Ray Dalio. Dalio founded, and still influences, the largest investment firm in America. In this book, he writes, “To be principled means to consistently operate with principles that can clearly be explained.”

How about Jesus when he taught the greatest principle ever with the Golden Rule?

Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them (Matthew 7:12 ESV).

In the summer of 2013, I binged on business and leadership books by reading 36 of them. Can you hear Biblical teaching through these giants of business leadership?

  • With Malcolm Gladwell, the title of his 2013 book was David and Goliath! He opened the book quoting from 1 Samuel 16:7, “For the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
  • Jim Collins begins his book Good to Great with this sentence in chapter one: “Good is the enemy of the great.” I can hear Jesus asking the Rich Young Ruler, “Why do you call me good?” (Luke 18:19 ESV).
  • Peter Drucker, perhaps the greatest writer on leadership in the 20th century, wrote in The Effective Executive:

The first practice is to ask what needs to be done. The question is not ‘What do I want to do?’

I have witnessed many leaders self-destruct from “leading by self” instead of servant leadership. Leadership of self-promotion does not inspire others toward vision. Jesus said, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve” (Matthew 20:28 ESV).

The Bible and business, the Bible and psychology, the Bible and education – and, hopefully, the Bible and preaching – anything worthwhile in all these endeavors is already found in the Bible.

Quoting Ecclesiastes 1:9, “There is nothing new under the sun.” It is already written in the Bible.

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