Christians in Business

Christians In Business- Can We Live Out The Gospel and Run A Profitable Business?

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Are Christianity and Business Success Compatible?

As a Christian business owner myself, it is often difficult to mix the necessity of profits and making money with the language of the Bible considering the numerous warnings about money. Furthermore, I believe today’s culture labels business owners as greedy and always using other people to become successful. We now have a entitled society who bashes those who make money and believes everyone should be allowed to reap the benefits of success, regardless of whether they have sowed seeds of hard work or not. That doesn’t mean that some of society’s arguments about rich, wealthy business owners aren’t valid; it just means that for Christians in business, it’s easy to feel guilty or even sinful to make money and be successful.

Christianity and business (as well as money in general) are both compatible and incompatible. The key aspect that determines which category business men and women fall into are the business’s values. What contributions is the business making to society? Does it simply exist to rake in the highest profits at any cost? What are its core values? Are they consistent with the teachings of Christ? Is the business team using their talents towards the glory of God and to help serve a need in the community through a product or service?

Let me be clear here. I’m not talking about running a nonprofit business. A business has to make money and profits must fall somewhere among the top of key goals. But it must not be the only goal. There has to be something more – a key set of values and principles that it is founded on that are sacred and are never disregarded in search of higher profits. There is no need to apologize for being successful, but success comes with obligation to make a difference in the lives of others.

I think for Christians in business the main question we must meditate on and ask ourselves daily is “Am I running my business to serve me or serve others?” When we keep our focus on others, we can forego all of the guilt and hold our heads high in the face of public criticism of business in general. I think as Christians we often think of serving and helping others in terms of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, healing the sick, etc. And while these are things every Christian is called to do, I believe that God calls each of us to help and serve in different ways. Monetarily we can help, but we may not be called to the front lines on a daily basis physically. Our contribution may be making or designing a product or service geared to bring laughter to a child and put a smile on his or her face. We may be called to help people file their taxes, help people save money, provide a good or service that makes peoples’ life easier or better. And we must make money doing so. But Christianity is compatible with business when we ask ourselves what we can do to help serve the community, rather than serve ourselves. The mark of a great company is that it gives something back. It produces, but it does so by serving a need and making a difference in the lives of others.

Even as Christians in business, we have to make profits, or it wouldn’t be a business for very long. Usually though, when we place others in front of our own pursuits and constantly ask how we can improve the lives of others with our talents, profits naturally increase. What we do with those profits and with the gifts we’ve been given determines whether we’re serving God or serving self. Christians in business have tough obstacles and temptations, but we can be assured we’re in compatibility with Christian teaching when we wake up each morning with the customer in mind, instead of ourselves.


photo credit: Dr John2005 Shoreditch Bridge Portraits 265, Shoreditch High Street, London, 26 August 2016 via photopin (license)

A Post-Modern Portrait – A Poem

“But I like the inconveniences.”
“We don’t,” said the Controller. “We prefer to do things comfortably.”
“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”
“In fact,” said Mustapha Mond, “you’re claiming the right to be unhappy.”
“All right then,” said the Savage defiantly, “I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.”
“Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen to-morrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.” There was a long silence.
“I claim them all,” said the Savage at last.
Mustapha Mond shrugged his shoulders. “You’re welcome,” he said.

-Brave New World by Aldous Huxley 

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A Post-Modern Portrait

Steel covered sky.
Gun-stock gray rays.
Metallic molten moon.

Where do you turn when the hovering dome
That covers your head is sucked void of joy
Like an eternal vacuum, gasping for breath?

Is this really all there is left –
Empty shells consisting of robotic movements,
Resembling humans, but without hearts beating in their chest?

Why are the pure at heart so easily discarded as trash,
But the deceivers received as gold?
What kind of world do we live in when all meaning has been lost –
A heirloom remembered, but regarded as ancient and old?

I’m afraid the heart seeks a treasure that doesn’t exist,
Washed out by the waves of progress
And swallowed by the deluded ideals of feminists.

Woman, do you want to know why there’s no longer
Knights in shinning armor walking the streets?
Because you have become accustomed to the darkness,
Mated with the dragon, and your pride refuses to admit you’re in need.

Independence and self-reliance have paved the death of the soul.
Romantics lay in anguish,
Lost in a world gone cold.

When the Self becomes king,
Selfishness reigns supreme.
Love is shackled and silenced When “ME” “MY”, and “MINE”
Are the passions and desires the heart screams.

Gun-stock gray flock
Of unfulfilled passionate yearnings
Flutter across the cold, metallic sky.
Heartless, inhumane existence clatters
With each footstep of people passing by.

And I am lost in this game.
I don’t know how to join in the delusions.
I have no desire to come to your miscalculated conclusions.

I don’t know how to still the warm heart beating in my chest.
I have no desire to walk like a lamb to the slaughter
And watch my soul shrivel like all the rest.

I have no desire to play by the rules
Of this revised edition of the Game of Life.
I’ll boldly wait in my alienated prism reflecting the light
Rather than sell my soul and vulnerability for the sake of safety
And step out into that dark night.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

Illusions – A Poem

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Illusions – A Poem

The demon water you drink
Is devouring your soul.
Don’t you know this road has no happy ending
And your heart will turn cold?

Repeating lies does not change reality.
Sooner or later you’ll have to face life’s inevitable truth.
Don’t set yourself on foolish paths, don’t chase foolish pursuits,
And hang your happiness up by your own noose.

The lies we tell our hearts are more deadly…more potent
Than the poison spewed from your lips.
Silence the serpent, the viper, the piper
That sings you mirages of bliss.

Strength is weak;
Weak is strong.
Pride brews careless ways
And pushes you to places you don’t belong.

Independence is dependence;
Dependence is independence.
Try to sweep the truth under the rug if you like,
But in solitude you depend on a mind of madness.

The free is captive;
The captive, free.
For the one who relies on self alone
Is bound in lonely chains of slavery.

Call yourself what you wish,
But truth still stares back at you in the mirror.
Pretending to be confident and defiant,
Does not erase your heart of fear.

The proud are brought to their knees;
The meek stand on their own two feet,
For the first step of growth
Is admitting you’re in need and weak.

So bat your lying eyes and put on a show.
But through your smirk, you’ll find only tears.
The road to hell is seen as heaven
By eyes that are blind and ears that refuse to hear.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

Today – A Inspiration Poem

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Today – A Inspiration Poem

The sun is rising.
Open your eyes to the possibility of a new life
That waits for you upon the horizon.
Let the aroma of fresh brewed coffee stir you in bed
And lead you from where dreams remain fixed in your head
To where they are transfigured in motion through action.

Today we set course for the future;
We throw all past failures overboard
And load our cargo of dormant potential in the hold.

Today we set sail to new destinations
We’ve been planning for years,
But never had the courage to leave the comfort of familiar harbors.

Today we become masters over our inner self
And shed the shackles of slavery,
No longer submitting to the will of our weaknesses.

Today is the first day of your new life –
Reborn, awoken, reformed into the image
You’ve always desired and known you’re capable of.

Today will find us working
And not bewildered by fear or past distractions.
We will set course on a path of purposeful, rigorous action.

Today we set sail for the future,
Which does not come to us,
But we confidently create and seek.

Today is the only day of your life that’s guaranteed.
So pull yourself up by your bootstraps.
Smile, don’t fret. Let’s make it one for the ages.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: The Grassy Knoll via photopin

The Woman in the Mirror

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The Woman in the Mirror

You are a seductive temptress
that tempts with the ticks of time.
In control of the clocks hands,
only needing to rewind to the moments we left behind.

You still lurk in the shadows –
a creature stalking in the dead of night.
But potential follows wherever your heart goes,
needing only to let go of the darkness and step into the light.

My heart goes out to you in your struggle,
to the battle that rages in your mind.
Pick up your feet each time you stumble
and never settle for the chains of fear that bind.

Though our paths have diverged,
I still desire to see yours lead to a happy ending.
I still long to see the woman emerge
from your battle – the beautiful soul I’ve seen since the beginning.

May your head be held high.
May your feet walk into the flames of fear.
May your spirit learn to fly.
And may you love the woman in the mirror.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


 

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The Mirror of Truth – A Poem

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The Mirror of Truth – A Poem

Into the mirror I gaze
and am wrapped within the frame
of a smoky haze of secrets swirling within glass.

I can’t deny the face,
can’t pretend I don’t know,
have no trace of realization that the figure before my eyes is me.

It’s unsettling to see the darkness,
to discover the demons in the flesh,
to witness my flaws, flogging me in the face.

Beneath this mask of pride,
there is a face scorched and seared
by lies, deceit, and by the heat of betrayal.

I know the image I wish to see,
I know the reflection my heart believes;
but within me is a darkness I prefer not to acknowledge.

The mirror of truth does not lie,
does not flinch when it brings onlookers to their knees,
does not hide delusions, but pierces the veil of our ego.

The mirror of truth is a loving master,
a humbling stone meant to trip our feet,
a pastor to turn us towards joy and away from the bonds of slavery.

I may not like the face that stares back at me,
I may not like the icy eyes, the lips of pride,
but I have the opportunity to reconstruct my image.

Morning sun, be my witness –
when you lay down to rest tonight, the flames may remain
fueled by my darkness, but will crackle beside the waters of love and grace.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: De lujo y miseria via photopin (license)

Life’s Amphitheater – A Poem About Helping the Less Fortunate

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As I was driving down the road the other day and came to a stoplight, my eyes fell upon a young woman begging on the side of the road. I must admit that often times I am quick to judge out of pride or wonder why they are too lazy to pick themselves up and get a job or get help for their addiction. Often times I put the blame on their shoulders and often times it may be. But that woman’s image flooded my heart with sympathy – her head was hung low, and it was clear that she was ashamed of herself and her situation. I found myself wanting to write her story…and not just hers, but for all those struggling in the world without a voice.

It is easy to judge, but much harder to place ourselves in the shoes of another. We all have issues we wish to keep hidden in the safety of our hearts and minds. And what we often times attribute to our strength, our character, or our success has nothing to do with our actions, but only the grace of God.

What would your life look like without loving parents, a loving spouse, a warm and safe home; without teachers, mentors, and other positive influences? What would your life look like if you were abused as a child, afraid of going home after school, or knowing there wouldn’t be anyone there to ask you how your day was or help you with your homework? What would your life look like without someone to help you through college, without an employer who was willing to take a chance on a young intern, without a friend to pick you up all the times you fell? I don’t know, but I think it would do us all a little good to keep our judgments hushed and our hearts open to the stories of the less fortunate people around us.

Life’s Amphitheater – A Poem

Sing a song for the brokenhearted
Whose hopes were snatched away like a thief in the night;
For those who’ve been burnt by the flames of love,
Their hearts charred and scarred no longer with the will to fight.

Sing a song for the prince of pain
Whose sorrows cast shadows upon the skies.
Sing, sing for the once crowned king
Whose tears fall like rain from dismal eyes.

Sing a song for fairy tales lost.
Reality stings like salt on an open wound.
Yesterday’s hours were filled with childhood play.
Oh, how the years pass away much too soon.

Drum a dirge for the divorcee,
Who was ill-equipped to hear the secrets that fell upon their ears.
The soul shatters like sheet of glass
When reality reflects the realization of your deepest fears.

Drum a dirge for dying dreams
That have been abandoned for monetary pursuits.
To live a life never meant for our hearts
Is is pull up your essence and chop it off at the roots.

Drum a dirge for the desolate and deserted
Who hobble hopelessly, begging on downtown streets.
Do not be quick to judge a stranger
Until you pick up their bags and take a ride in their seat.

Belt out a ballad for the afflicted,
For the addicted, and for the anxious minds.
Have sympathy for the struggle you might not understand,
For we each carry a story we wish to leave behind.

Belt out a ballad for the sick and suffering;
Share their tale of sadness and woe.
A kind smile and gentle hand is often the only demand
To make somber faces delight and glow.

Belt out a ballad for the fatherless,
Familyless, and utterly alone
Whose story goes untold, lost
Sinking to the bottom of life’s ocean like a heavy stone.

Have pity on the less fortunate people
Whose notes resound throughout life’s amphitheater.
We are all apart of one beating force,
One united, cosmic voice; one rhyme, one rhythm, one meter.

-Poem and Content Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: Hard Times via photopin (license)

The Clouds of Mourning – A Poem About Depression and Pain

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As we go through life, there are inevitable seasons where it seems the skies are always cloudy, always raining, and the forecast will never change. Anyone that has ever dealt with depression (or any mental illness for that matter) knows that it is like a ghost that haunts you no matter where you go or how hard you try to hide from it. Fight all you want, but you can never defeat the forces of darkness with strength alone. In these times of darkness and pain, how do we keep moving forward? How do we resist the temptation to give up and let the pain of life suck everything from our soul?

Typically, telling yourself to “cheer up”, “suck it up”, “pick yourself up”, or having someone else tell you to stop feeling sorry for yourself only makes matters worse, and I believe does a disservice to our heart. Deep depression is not an easy thing to fix, and the reality is that sometimes there are circumstances in our lives where the only appropriate response is to mourn and cry. And sometimes we need that time to just embrace the issue and recognize that it is ok to feel pain. But how do we not drown in that pain?

I believe the only way we can move forward is by grasping hope and refusing to let go. It might not get better today, it might not be tomorrow, but as long as there is hope that things will get better, the ghosts of depression are unable to penetrate our locked doors and totally possess us.

The Clouds of Mourning – A Poem About Depression and Pain

The clouds of mourning
Hang and hover over me
Like ghosts – translucent,
Yet allowing only darkness to pass through.
Their pale gray sheets flap and flutter
In the breezes of life,
Dimming and drowning out
All traces of light.
Their wails send nails
Falling from the sky,
Raining down and driving like hammers;
Pounding their melancholic clamors into my heart.

My palette is stained,
Soaked in ashen gray paint.
Non-washable, permanent and persistent;
Resistant to the colors I attempt to cover with my brush.
The clouds of mourning
Flood my skies like ghastly Dementors,
Following me through the hours
And sucking at my soul one minute at a time.

Sweet angels,
Have you lost the fight to the terrors?
Have your hallowed halos burnt out like smoking embers
And lost their luster and glow?
Where are you hiding
In this dark and stormy night?
Where are your shields and swords,
Why are you overwhelmed by the demons of darkness,
Why do you refuse to fight?

What weapons do I pick up
To fend off forces invisible and invincible?
Is there an amulet I can hang over my heart to keep out
The ghouls that pass uninhibited through locked doors?
The icy rain covers my window pane
In sheets of tears running down in streams of solitude.
Winter’s wrath bars my path
And leaves me shivering in the cold wondering what to do.
The clouds of mourning
Hang and hover over me
Like ghosts – translucent,
But hope shall be my exorcism.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: Titanic via photopin (license)

Growing Pains – A Poem

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Growing Pains – A Poem

Why are these dreams that stretch out across my heart’s field of desire,
That glisten Like droplets of drew sparkling on the morning grass,
So hard to obtain, so hard to take to take hold of,
And so hard to lasso and pull close to reality?
The burden is bearing the tragedy of it all,
Knowing what you want, what you need,
Lies just beyond the forest and through the trees,
But you seem unable to put those desires into action.
So often I’m fixated on distractions that pull me off-course,
And get me lost on side paths instead of trekking onward
Towards goals, aspirations, and destinations.
It drives a person mad, carrying around bags of frustrations,
Grueling through labor day after day,
Counting the minutes, knowing there has to be another way.
But the Way is left without footprints, often prepared for
But never ventured and what’s left of hope slowly fades away.
There’s a demon inside of me that seems unable to be controlled,
Scoffing at dreams, content to let life pass me by,
Trampling on schedules, and consistently cursing meaningful causes.
Claws strike out at my fingers each time
I reach out to grasp my true potential.
I now know the paved road to success doesn’t exist.
You must venture through the dense forest,
Fight through the clinging vines, and thrash through the sticks.
No, to journey with intention is no vacation,
And the mess inside me, always attempting to misguide me, is no easy fix.
But the trail to nowhere is covered by countless footprints
And paved with the trampled dreams others have left behind.
The alarm clock beckons.
Wisdom speaks.
My souls shrieks.
But for some reason I have yet to understand,
I hear, but refuse to listen.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


photo credit: After the rainfall via photopin (license)

Eclipse – A Poem

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Eclipse – A Poem

Two sides of a conflicting coin
Flip like faces in a dramatic act.
Two intricate and separate forces entangle
In a bitter struggle, leaving Earth cloaked in black.

How can such a powerful light
Be smothered by such a small, sinister hand?
A visceral visual of what evil can accomplish
When given the freedom to take root in the heart of man.

In a matter of seconds the cosmos is silenced
By the veil of darkness and death.
The yang captured beneath the yin’s net;
Hope and light suffocating and gasping for breath.

What once was so beautiful,
Shining in the sky’s endless sea,
Has now turned into a lifeless puppet,
Bound and animated by dark, dominating strings.

You were once a blazing beacon –
A fire of hope that lit up my nights.
But now, my once glorious sun,
You’ve laid down, surrendered, and given up the fight.

I only hope this is but an eclipse
And shortly you’ll come forth from hiding behind the moon.
For life is but a quick, short breath
And will not wait while you wallow woefully in your room.

Two opposite forces fight
In the face of the atmosphere;
The moon is not a worthy opponent
But kills all light when the sun hides in fear.

The moon hangs with no power,
But becomes master when the sun submits.
Defy the rebellion, do not yield to your captor.
Emerge as the victor in your heart’s eclipse.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

photo credit: Lunar Eclipse via photopin (license)