True Ethics

The laborer is worthy of his hire. Jesus

When I was going back to school, I had to take a course in business ethics. My instructor was an old "hippy" that just never matured. He had a ponytail, spoke "cool" and flirted with the young ladies. He began the class with the question, "What is truth?" The question seemed strangely familiar and then I realized that this was the exact question that Pilate had asked Jesus just before he had Him crucified. The class turned out to be more of a course in philosophy than a study of business ethics... and we wonder why there are so few ethics in the business world.

As a real estate appraiser for more than a dozen years, I had to take a number of short courses on ethics. This aggravated me because I not only had to pay for these silly classes, but I also had to take a week off with no income to do so. It wouldn't have been so bad had they truly taught ethics, but these classes primarily focused on how not to get sued... and we wonder why there are housing crises.

Now, my point is not that there are no ethics in the business and academic worlds; rather, it's that they are going about it all wrong. Ethics is not a philosophy nor is it a strategy: It's a way of life - specifically, a Christian way of life. It is the Christian work ethic that proclaims "an honest day's work for an honest day's pay" and there is simply no viable substitute for this standard. No amount of cool professors with ponytails or sharp business men with lawyerly advice will ever be able to come close to producing ethics in business (or in life) the way that an honest application of the Christian work ethic will.

More importantly, we have work to do for our Lord during these few years that we have on earth. Will we seek to "philosophize" away that duty? Will we seek to determine with legal precision the bare minimum effort that service to God requires? Or, will we give an honest day's effort for a reward that is far in excess of an honest day's pay. It would be wrong to close without mentioning one of the main dividends of the Christian work ethic: There is something quite satisfying about coming to the end of your workday tired but content in the knowledge that you have earned your check that day. While we can never "earn" our salvation, we can at least put in an honest life's effort for a Savior Who is worthy of our effort.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24, NIV