Being a Christian leader in the business world is getting increasingly challenging as the focus of the business world focuses squarely on acquiring money. In this shift, members of society have moved to glorifying everyday pursuits, losing the connection between “work, self-denial, and God”, which has created a vacuum of meaning that has been filled by the “pursuit of the almighty dollar”. (Waalkes, 2008, p.18) This pursuit of wealth, particularly in the United States, stripped of any religious or ethical meaning becomes associated with mundane passions and takes on the character of sport. (Weber, 1958, p. 182) Ethical practices in business then become mere suggestions at best, and, at worse, annoying hindrances toward the goal of monetary gain.
The Christian leader, though, does have the ability to remain successful and impactful in the business sector, while holding onto the principles and virtues God expects from His people. What Christian leaders must understand, and what is evident in Christian business leaders such as Truett Cathy, Max DuPree, and Zig Ziglar, is that “financial success is only a byproduct of success in work, not a central concern.” (Waalkes, 2008, p.37) Success in work as a Christian is conducting business in a virtuous way founded in God’s principles, chief among them being honesty. “Virtues are traits of character” (King, 2001, p.495) that build a community and allow what is shared among them to be more successful by giving to the “larger social good.” (Waalkes, 2008, p.28)
The key to being a virtuous Christian business leader is to be a virtuous individual with strong character. (Waalkes, 2008, p. 28) The principles given through God’s word, and lived out by Jesus himself, are the foundation for the strong character that fosters virtuous living and business practice. It is such an approach to business specifically, and life in general, that opens the door for God’s favor and blessing for a fulfilled life, and successful business.
King, R. J. H. (2001). Virtue and Community in Business Ethics: A Critical Assessment of Solomon’s Aristotelian Approach to Social Responsibility. Journal of Social Philosophy, 32(4), 487–499.
Waalkes, S. (2008). Money or Business? A Case Study of Christian Virtue Ethics in Corporate Work. Christian Scholar’s Review, 38(1), 15–40.
Weber, M. (1958). The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.