Labor Day is a day in our country for many to take off work, spend time with family, and barbeque in the backyard with friends. Do you know the history of Labor Day? According to the U.S. Department of Labor website, it “is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.” In the late 1800’s it was set aside as a federal holiday on the first Monday of September to celebrate the workers of this country.
What makes a great worker? Hard work, honesty, skill, and diligence are all important ingredients. How about great employers? In America today, collectively we tend to vilify “big business” because many of them have placed the mighty dollar above people – the worker. However, many businesses have also been doing it right.
The late Larry Burkett, in his book Business by the Book, provides six basic minimums for a business manager or owner who is serious about following Christ in his or her business.
First, Burkett says to “reflect Christ in your business practices.” Proverbs 3:32 says, “For the crooked man is an abomination to the Lord; but He is intimate with the upright.” It is often easy in business to find dishonest ways around situations. The Lord rewards those who are honest resulting in an intimacy with Him that is unrivaled.
The second admonition by the author is to “be accountable”. It is easy for many to lose perspective and get off track at times. A person who realizes he or she is only human will want to have checks and balances in his or her life and business.
Third, “provide a quality product at a fair price”. Burkett provides Chick-fil-A as an example of this principle. The Atlanta-based restaurant treats their employees right, makes a quality chicken sandwich and charges not necessarily a cheap price but a fair price. People keep coming back over and over again. Have you been to a Chick-fil-A during the lunch hour lately? The dining room and drive-thru are often maxed out.
The fourth quality Larry Burkett emphasizes is “honor your creditors”. The author writes, “If the situation is beyond your control and you can’t pay on time, that’s one thing. But if you are simply choosing a cheaper way to operate, you are violating a biblical principle.” (see Proverbs 3:27-28)
Fifth, “treat your employees fairly.” Burkett says “the first step in establishing the principle of fairness is to recognize that all people are important.” This goes to the heart of Labor Day and the celebration of the worker. However, it is not only about what the worker can do but also to value him for who he is as a person made in the image of God.
The sixth and final basic minimum for a business is to “treat your customers fairly”. It is so easy in today’s world to treat a customer dishonestly or not value a customer. However, it is also very risky. With the accessibility to the Internet, a business may regret treating a customer negatively because of the backlash through online blogs, forums and complaint sites. As a Christ-follower who owns a business, it is always a good practice to treat customers the way you would like to be treated.
These are six principles any business leader can commit to. Do the right thing and leave any success you may have in God’s hands.