There are two types of Christian entrepreneurs. Those who strive to honor Jesus with their work and those who expect Jesus to honor them because of their work.
Being a Christian business owner, there is an unspoken pressure to somehow slap the name of Jesus on our products and services. On one hand you want people to know why you do what you do, and on the other you wonder if that even makes a difference. I once had a local executive tell me “If you want to enhance your sales, give people a reason to buy from you” I nodded, “that makes sense.” I thought. People are always more inclined to listen to your story when why you do what you do is at the forefront of your message. But then he added “If you put a scripture on a shirt with some nice colors that would give people a chance to share the gospel. Have you ever thought of that?”
I guess I couldn’t get past the “scripture with nice colors” part. There was something about both of those things being phrased together that made me feel a bit nauseous. Like donuts and mustard or mayonnaise and cheerios, nice colors and scripture just made my insides churn. Sprinkling Jesus on our products or services is arguably the most manipulative thing we can do as entrepreneurs, or leaders for that matter. For those outside the faith it is a bit creepy to buy things that are cheesy imitations of what they already to do better. The only reason we should even consider sprinkling Jesus on anything is to demonstrate the likeness of Jesus to the doubting community, not to take their money.
The truth is, a little sprinkle of Jesus isn’t for evangelism, or sharing the faith; it’s for us and our fellow comrades. It’s our silent high-five to one another, our secret handshake if you will. The sprinkle we spatter on our work is no different than the stitched patches we use to wear on our letterman jackets in high school; passing one another in the hallway giving that good ole boy head nod to one another. If I remember correctly the only people who admired those jackets were the ones who either owned one, or aspired to have one, and everyone else we either neglected, bullied, or were hated by.
Most blogs segue into a ten step suggestive approach to better understand where we are and how to better the future, but I am not interested in dancing around your attention, hoping to keep you scrolling down the screen. Instead I am here to suggest one thing: an idea. An idea that is entirely contagious, probably not very popular, but it just might challenge your heart if you let it (because it changed mine).
Do all your work as though the message you are selling, has you already sold.
Maybe you aren’t an entrepreneur, but as sure as your next Facebook, twitter, or Instagram post, you are selling a message. We are all telling a story. Some stories are sold, others beg for applause, and then there are some that are desperately trying to be heard; but all of us are selling the world something. Me, writing to you, is my attempt to sell you an idea. An idea that was inspired by a piece of scripture that has my heart yearning for change.
A simple, yet gut checking verse, “Be imitators of me, as I am Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1. May that verse remind us that, imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and who we are imitating, is influencing our heart. When we are tempted to sprinkle a little Jesus over our situation in efforts to look more like the person next to us in church, or our social media followers, our buyers, or our entitlement, let the image of Jesus take our focus hostage and our hearts as the ransom. If we sprinkle anything, let it be our pride over the cross of Jesus. And may we find ourselves wanting. When our hearts are postured to mimic Jesus, the story we sell to the world will ultimately emulate the gospel.