Looking back over the news headlines the last two years, there seems to be a recurring pattern with many top business leaders and sports figures – a severe fall from places of privilege, wealth and honor to places of public disgrace and ridicule.
Whether it be senior officers of banks that engaged in manipulating rates; senior investment officers that recommend investment clearly that are conflicts of interest; or the executive leadership of a prestigious university that covered up major moral failures. All have either lost financial fortunes, positions as leaders, respect from the business public, and or personal freedom because of very bad decisions. When making these decisions, they probably believed they could “get away with it” and would not be found out.
If I could interview each of these leaders, now that they have experienced extreme loss, I would ask if the perceived and or real gain from their actions was worth the price they have paid, are now paying, or will pay in the future. In most cases they probably would admit they made terrible mistakes and if they had a “do over,” many would choose a different course of action.
Business leaders have a tendency to believe we can do anything we choose to do because “it’s MY company.” CEOs and top executives professing to follow Jesus Christ should know better. It is not our company we are running. It is God’s company He has assigned to us to steward for Him for a brief period of time. One day He will ask us for an accounting of what we did with what He gave us.
So a question we must answer today is this: How can we prepare ahead of time to give a good account for our stewardship? Let me offer some suggestions I think can help keep us on the right track:
- Would you be willing to open up every part of your business operation, including accounting records, and let Jesus Christ examine every document, process and procedure? Could you give Him a clear, honorable explanation of every detail of your operation?
- Would you be willing to let your spouse and friends look at your calendar the last 90 days to see where you have gone, who you have met with, and then them examine your recent smartphone records to see who you have been calling?
- Would you be willing to let your pastor and friends at church look at the websites you have been visiting on your business and personal computers?
- Do you have anybody in your life with whom you are accountable, professionally and personally?
If you could give an honest yes to all four questions, you are probably in good shape with both God and your critical constituents. If not, it is time to repent your wrong conduct and make restitution to anybody you have wronged before you suffer a tremendous fall. Most of the time people will forgive if they really believe we are sincere and prepared to alter wrong thinking and wrong actions.
A verse in the Bible’s Old Testament states, “Your sin will find you out!” (Numbers 32:23). Business and sports leaders I have referred to apparently did not believe this. But in each case they were found out!
Before you choose to pursue the perceived “gain” the wrong way, consider whether it is worth the pain you ultimately will experience.
Lane Kramer is a Dallas, Texas business who founded The CEO Institute, a membership-based organization to help CEOs build world-class companies consistent with biblical principles and values. His website is www.ceoinst.com.
1. Why do we have a tendency to believe that “nobody will ever know” if we take an inappropriate or clearly wrong action in our business pursuits?
2. How do you keep yourself on “the right track”? Do you have a trusted friend or associate that cares enough for you to be brutally direct and honest, if necessary, should they believe you out of line? Explain your answer.
3. Would you be willing to answer yes to the questions listed above, giving other people – and God – access to all of your professional and personal dealings and interactions? Why or why not?
4. Do you believe that at the end of your life you will be asked to give an accounting to God for the way you ran your business or carried out your responsibilities in the workplace?
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to review additional passages that relate to this topic, consider the following verses:
Proverbs 10:9, 11:23, 12:19,22, 13:6, 16:2-3, 18:12, 21:2, 22:4, 26:24-26