1. FOLLOWING THE PATTERN
a. How should we conduct all of our business affairs? Hebrews 8:5; Matthew 5:48.
“Into all to which the Christian sets his hand should be woven the thought of the life eternal. If the work performed is agricultural or mechanical in its nature, it may still be after the pattern of the heavenly. . . . Through the grace of Christ every provision has been made for the perfecting of Christlike characters, and God is honored when His people in all their social and business dealings reveal the principles of heaven.”—In Heavenly Places, p. 154.
b. What was Jesus like in His work life before taking on His ministry? Luke 2:52.
“Jesus carried into His labor cheerfulness and tact. It requires much patience and spirituality to bring Bible religion into the home life and into the workshop, to bear the strain of worldly business, and yet keep the eye single to the glory of God. This is where Christ was a helper. He was never so full of worldly care as to have no time or thought for heavenly things.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 73.
2. UNBENDING INTEGRITY
a. What does God weigh in the heavenly balances? 1 Samuel 2:3; Isaiah 26:7; Psalm 62:9.
“God weighs motives, purposes, character. All men are weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, and God would have all realize this fact. . . .
“There is not a motive in the depths of the heart, not a secret within us, not a design that God does not fully comprehend. . . . God requires all the heart, mind, soul, and strength, and ‘love thy neighbour as thyself.’ This is placed in one scale, while every individual character has to pass the weighing test by being placed in the opposite scale. . . .
“If found wanting in the day of God it will be a terrible thing, therefore we want to be closely examining our own motives and actions by the holy law of God, to repent of every act of transgression, and as sinners lay hold of the merits of Christ to supply the deficiency. The blood of Christ alone will do this.”—Our High Calling, p. 139.
b. How does God want us to act in all of our dealings with others? Romans 12:17; Job 31:6.
“A truly honest man will never take advantage of weakness or incompetency in order to fill his own purse. He accepts a fair equivalent for that which he sells. If there are defects in the articles sold, he frankly tells his brother or his neighbor, although by so doing he may work against his own pecuniary interests.
“In all the details of life the strictest principles of honesty are to be maintained. These are not the principles which govern our world, for Satan, deceiver, liar, and oppressor is the master, and his subjects follow him and carry out his purposes. But Christians serve under a different Master, and their actions must be wrought in God, irrespective of all selfish gain.”—My Life Today, p. 330.
c. What does God promise to those who are faithful? Philippians 4:19.
“Whatever the business you may qualify yourself to engage in, never entertain the idea that you cannot make a success of it without sacrificing principle.”—The Review and Herald, August 19, 1884.
3. CHRISTIAN BUSINESSPEOPLE
a. What were Daniel’s enemies forced to admit concerning his work? Daniel 6:4. What can we learn from his experience?
“Those who labor in business lines should take every precaution against falling into error through wrong principles or methods. Their record may be like that of Daniel in the courts of Babylon. When all his business transactions were subjected to the closest scrutiny, not one faulty item could be found. The record of his business life, incomplete though it is, contains lessons worthy of study. It reveals the fact that a businessman is not necessarily a scheming, policy man. He may be a man instructed of God at every step. Daniel, while prime minister of the kingdom of Babylon, was a prophet of God, receiving the light of heavenly inspiration. His life is an illustration of what every Christian businessman may be.”—Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 248.
b. What can we learn from Abraham concerning the way we conduct our business? Genesis 23:7–16.
“Observe [Abraham] as he engages in a business transaction with the sons of Heth, to purchase a burying place for Sarah. In his grief he does not forget to be courteous. He bows before them, although he is God’s nobleman. Abraham knew what genuine politeness was and what was due from man to his fellow men.
“We should be self-forgetful, ever . . . watching for opportunities to cheer others and lighten and relieve their sorrows and burdens by acts of tender kindness and little deeds of love. These thoughtful courtesies, that, commencing in our families, extend outside the family circle, help make up the sum of life’s happiness.”—My Life Today, p. 192.
c. What example did Jesus give us? Ephesians 5:2.
“I point you to the life of Jesus as a perfect pattern. His life was characterized by disinterested benevolence. . . . What sacrifices has He made for us that we should not perish, but have everlasting life! Heaven will be cheap enough if we resign every selfish interest to obtain it.”—Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 218.
4. OVERREACHING IN TRADE
a. Give an example of someone in the Bible who was dishonest in their business practices. Luke 19:2–7.
“’The chief among the publicans,’ Zacchaeus, was a Jew, and detested by his countrymen. His rank and wealth were the reward of a calling they abhorred, and which was regarded as another name for injustice and extortion. Yet the wealthy customs officer was not altogether the hardened man of the world that he seemed. Beneath the appearance of worldliness and pride was a heart susceptible to divine influences.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 552, 553.
b. What was he led to do? Luke 19:8.
“Every converted soul will, like Zacchaeus, signalize the entrance of Christ into his heart by an abandonment of the unrighteous practices that have marked his life. Like the chief publican, he will give proof of his sincerity by making restitution. The Lord says, ‘If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; . . . none of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: . . . He shall surely live’ (Ezekiel 33:15, 16).
“If we have injured others through any unjust business transaction, if we have overreached in trade, or defrauded any man, even though it be within the pale of the law, we should confess our wrong, and make restitution as far as lies in our power. It is right for us to restore not only that which we have taken, but all that it would have accumulated if put to a right and wise use during the time it has been in our possession.”—Ibid., p. 556.
c. Who was a dishonest businessman? Why? John 12:4–6.
“Judas was treasurer for the disciples, and from their little store he had secretly drawn for his own use, thus narrowing down their resources to a meager pittance. . . . Judas had no heart for the poor. Had Mary’s ointment been sold, and the proceeds fallen into his possession, the poor would have received no benefit.”—Ibid., p. 559.
5. PRACTICAL COUNSEL
a. What advice are we given concerning business partnerships with unbelievers? Amos 3:3; 2 Corinthians 6:14, 15.
“Some of our brethren engaged in business have not kept the Sabbath according to the commandment. Some have been in partnership with unbelievers, and the influence of these Sabbath-breaking associates has had its effect upon them. Some have been so blinded that they could not discern the danger in such connections, but it is only the greater because unperceived.”—Historical Sketches, p. 215.
b. How should we conduct our business, knowing that Jesus is coming soon? Proverbs 22:29.
“Belief in the near coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven will not cause the true Christian to become neglectful and careless of the ordinary business of life. The waiting ones who look for the soon appearing of Christ will not be idle, but diligent in business. Their work will not be done carelessly and dishonestly, but with fidelity, promptness, and thoroughness. Those who flatter themselves that careless inattention to the things of this life is an evidence of their spirituality and of their separation from the world are under a great deception. Their veracity, faithfulness, and integrity are tested and proved in temporal things. If they are faithful in that which is least they will be faithful in much.”—Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 309.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What thought should we take with us in everything we do?
2. What should we never allow ourselves to think concerning the success of our business?
3. What can we learn from Daniel’s business practices while working in a heathen nation?
4. What is our duty if we find that we have cheated anyone?
5. How should our work be done, considering the soon coming of Jesus?