Pastor's Pondering


Read Lead Pastor Duane Mabee's weekly Pastor's Ponderings here!


First Question

by Duane Mabee on January 3, 2019

Rabbi David Baron writes: According to an ancient tradition, the first question we will be asked when we reach the next world is not “Did you believe in God?” but “Were you honest in your business dealings?”  There are several things in the Rabbi’s theology that I disagree with, but he makes an interesting point here.  The Scripture has a lot to say about our honesty and integrity in dealing with other people, specifically in business. 


Far too many believers try to separate their business dealings from their relationship with Christ.  The Bible will have none of that.  Scripture makes it clear that it doesn’t matter if we are dealing with a huge corporation or an individual, we are expected to be honest and above board.  Everything we do is to be driven by the Golden Rule – Treat others the way you want them to treat you. 


We tend to exempt ourselves from following that commandment when we are dealing with the government or a large corporation.  We rationalize that they won’t miss the money anyway.  Would you feel that way if you owned the company?  It’s not likely that you would say, “I don’t mind people cheating my company.  It’s a big company after all.”  As the head of a department for a large corporation, I had to deal with employee theft – employees taking home office supplies for their personal use or to outfit their children for school.  I can tell you the company never felt it was OK because we’re a big corporation.  Those who got caught were fired.  The fact was, I felt it very significantly in my already tight budget.   


The requirement to be honest also applies to our work ethic.  Are we putting in an honest day’s work?  Many employees use company time to do personal things or even work for someone else.  They have many ways to rationalize what they’re doing, but none of them pass the Golden Rule test.  Let’s say you are paying a lawyer by the hour.  Would you be OK if you found out that he was working on other people’s cases but billing you for the hours?  Would it make it any better to learn that he was doing it because he felt you could afford it or weren’t paying him enough? 


There is another motivation for being honest in all of your business dealings, in addition to treating others the way you want to be treated.  Whether anyone else ever finds out what you’re doing, your honesty or lack of it will deeply impact your spiritual life.  According to Rabbi Baron, in the final analysis, whether you keep honest time records and use truthful product packaging may matter more to your spiritual well-being than all the ritual practice (e.g. church attendance and Bible reading) in the world.  It will also impact your family.  They will do what they see you do, not what they hear you teach.