True Education


Chapter 15—Business Principles and Methods

There is no branch of legitimate business for which the Bible does not afford an essential preparation. Its principles of diligence, honesty, thrift, temperance, and purity are the secret of true success. These principles, as set forth in the book of Proverbs, constitute a treasury of practical wisdom. Where can merchants, artisans, or directors of men and women in any department of business, find better maxims for themselves or for their employees than are found in these words of the wise man: TEd 82.1

“Do you see those who are skillful in their work? they will serve kings; they will not serve common people.” Proverbs 22:29, NRSV. “The drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe them with rags.” Proverbs 23:21, NRSV. “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise.” Proverbs 13:20, NRSV. TEd 82.2

The whole circle of our obligation to one another is covered by that counsel of Christ, “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you.” Matthew 7:12, NRSV. TEd 82.3

How many might have escaped financial failure and ruin by heeding the warnings so often repeated and emphasized in the Scriptures: “One who is in a hurry to be rich will not go unpunished.” Proverbs 28:20, NRSV. “Getting treasures by a lying tongue is the fleeting fancy of those who seek death.” Proverbs 21:6. “The borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7. “To guarantee loans for a stranger brings trouble, but there is safety in refusing to do so.” Proverbs 11:15, NRSV. TEd 82.4

With these principles are bound up the well-being of society, of both secular and religious associations. They give security to property and life. For all that makes confidence and cooperation possible, the world is indebted to the law of God as given in His Word and as still traced in lines often obscure and well-nigh obliterated in human hearts. The psalmist’s words, “The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of shekels of gold and silver” (Psalm 119:72), state an absolute truth and one that is recognized in the business world. Even in this age of passion for getting money, when competition is sharp and methods often are unscrupulous, it is still widely acknowledged that, for a young person starting in life, integrity, diligence, temperance, purity, and thrift constitute better capital than any amount of mere money. TEd 83.1

Yet even of those who appreciate the value of these qualities and acknowledge the Bible as their source, but few recognize the principle on which they depend. That which lies at the foundation of business integrity and true success is recognition of God’s ownership. As the Creator of all things, He is the original proprietor. We are His stewards. All that we have is a trust from Him, to be used according to His direction. TEd 83.2

This obligation rests on every human being. It has to do with the whole sphere of human activity. Whether we recognize it or not, we are stewards, supplied by God with talents and faculties, and placed in the world to do a work appointed by Him. TEd 83.3

To every person is given the work for which his or her capabilities are best suited, the work that will result in greatest good to the human race and bring greatest honor to God. TEd 83.4

Thus our business or calling is a part of God’s great plan, and so long as it is conducted in accordance with His will He is responsible for the results. As “God’s servants, working together” (1 Corinthians 3:9, NRSV), our part is faithful compliance with His directions. Thus there is no place for anxious care. Every faculty is to be exercised to its highest capacity, but the dependence will be, not on the successful outcome of our efforts, but on the promise of God. The word that fed Israel in the desert and sustained Elijah through the time of famine, has the same power today. “Therefore do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or, ‘What shall we drink?’ ... Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:31-33. TEd 83.5