The business world has a bitter taste in many people’s mouths. When people typically imagine the business world, they think cutthroat, politics, and competition veiled under the glitz and glam of suits and dresses. It’s tragic many don’t hold this valuable sector of society in a very high regard.
Much of this social failure stems from businesses’ inability to tap into a selfless power.
We know that a business positioned within the right ideals can truly save the world. For being such a powerful piece of daily life, we can’t put it past a business to change everything about how people live, move, and operate in society.
Yet, for this to happen, businesses—and the entrepreneurs who start them—need to realize how selflessness feeds into this. A business that seeks to change the world—or even the world of a small niche within society—needs to have selflessness (one rooted within the principles of the Gospel) as a foundation for everything they seek to do.
This might be hard to find in a self-centered society. But fortunately for us, Jesus gave us an example of how practical selflessness truly is. Consider these few ways Jesus would selflessly run a business:
1. Would follow the need, not the profit.
“On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” –Mark 2:17
Jesus is not against making a profit for a business, but if He had a choice to take a greater profit or serve a need, He would choose the latter. We see this in His interaction with the Pharisees. If He was concerned about worldly success, the Pharisees would’ve loved Him and gave Him great profit. Yet instead, He followed the need.
Don’t be wholly concerned with where the market is. Find where the ache is.
2. Would challenge the status quo.
Many businesses hope to thrive by following the rules. But looking at the example of how Jesus operated with His ministry, He would not look to simply go through the motions of rules. Because He was dedicated to a need, He looked for how He could break the rules in a positive, life-giving way.
In the same way, don’t let modern convention hold you back from serving the greater need. Break the rules of your market. And by that, I don’t mean you should simply seek to be innovative for the sake of being innovative. Go against the grain, only if it means you would serve people better.
3. Wouldn’t make passive income a goal.
Our culture is obsessed with passive income, or making money while not doing anything. But any income that deals with people is never passive—meaning, if your business is centered on serving people, you must always put in the hard work to be meeting those people’s needs.
Selfless work is hard. If you truly want your business to be selfless, you can’t skirt around people with a passive income. You must be continually giving yourself to them, not profiting and lounging at their expense.
4. Would measure success differently.
Jesus’ success would run differently than ours. To Him, it’s not about money; it’s about impact. It’s not about getting all your work done; it’s about getting the right work done. It’s not about production only; it’s about character. That’s a selfless view of success.
5. Wouldn’t be glued to technology.
“Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.’” – Mark 2:27
Entrepreneurs are typically glued to every ring and ping of their devices. But Jesus understands the boundary, in the same way He understood the boundary between Sabbath and man. He understands we are not mastered by technology, but rather technology was made for us. With this perspective, He wouldn’t be waiting for notifications to come on His devices. He would focus on others instead.
6. Would keep productive.
Many of us aren’t productive at work because we don’t have a holistic understanding of our work—that our work reflects our heart and service to God. Jesus was productive in His mission because He understood that there was a deeper meaning to everything He did. By adopting this understanding of a deeper meaning to our actions, we too can battle idleness and get work done.
7. Would turn failure into redemption.
Jesus understood that He had to fail in the biggest way to accomplish victory with His mission. He had to die on the cross, but this action turned into victory.
Many of us don’t ever recover from our failures. Instead, we try our best to avoid them. But Jesus’ understanding of failure changes everything about how we should approach failure in business. Instead of avoiding it, let’s use it to launch our business into a greater victory. That’s the selfless thing to do with our failures.
8. Would encourage competition.
“‘Do not stop him,’ Jesus said, ‘for whoever is not against you is for you.’” –Luke 9:50
When you are committed to a cause, it doesn’t matter that others are also impacting people with that cause. What matters is that lives are being changed, not who’s beating out who.
9. Would add value to people’s lives.
Many businesses get the cheapest product on the market because they’re only concerned for the profit. But Jesus was always concerned with how people’s needs were being met. He over-delivered with every teaching, every healing, and every word spoken to people because He was focused on adding value to the world, not adding noise.
The selfless business is the one that actually makes a difference in people’s lives. With these principles in mind, it’s time we change how the business world looks. Lets not look at it in disgust anymore. Lets instead dare to do business differently.
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