商場中的兩難

By Rick Boxx

九月份的時候,我寫了關於商場中兩難的文章,內容是關於商場和聖經原則違背時應當如何處理。在這裡,我還要再探討這個主題有關錢財管理的部分:

財務的好管家 我以前當過融資部門人員,有一個年輕人很興奮地跑來告訴我一家歷史悠久很有名的史坦威鋼琴公司在拍賣,希望我們能貸款給他,讓他能買下那個公司。

我很欣賞這個人的旺盛企圖心, 但是當我詢問他要貸款多少錢時,他告訴我他們大概需要二億才肯賣,所以他要全額貸款二億。他告訴我因為他只有25歲沒有甚麼錢,然後希望我能夠二話不說地貸款給他。當時我嚇到了。

一般人大概也猜到,銀行不可能貸款給這樣的一個人。但是這個經驗讓我明白,一般人對貸款這件事的態度是很隨便的。延伸到商場上、或個人,這個世界要我們貸款來做生意、買房子或是上大學,但是神告訴我們,要相信他,而不是相信銀行。

箴言3:5告訴我們:你要專心仰賴耶和華, 不可倚靠自己的聰明。但是我們經常被試探,懷疑神是否會把我們的利益放在第一位。當「好機會」出現的時候,我們就覺得應該要趕快抓住這個機會。但是,聖經教導我們是神所託付財務的管家,而不是主人。

歷代志上29:11告訴我們:耶和華啊,尊大、能力、榮耀、強勝、威嚴都是你的;凡天上地下的都是你的;國度也是你的,並且你為至高,為萬有之首。神將財務交給我們管理,但是希望我們有智慧地使用它們,也尋求祂的引導,不是靠自己的聰明。

慷慨 這是另一個商場和聖經教導有衝突的地方。當我在銀行工作的時候, 有一個大客戶SEAN是一個建商,他會盡力壓榨他的供應商,卻很少回饋他們。

他的生意做得有聲有色,他努力鞭策公司員工和壓榨他的供應商,將花費降到最低,以便能賺最多的錢。也因此,幾乎沒有人想跟他做生意。SEAN用了世界上的教導,降低成本就能獲得最大的利益,但是神卻教導我們要慷慨,指示我們必須要願意慷慨地給出去。

後來SEAN非常戲劇性地屬靈翻轉,他從一個「拿」的人變成一個非常慷慨的「給予者」。事實上,他後來捐出了好幾百萬給不同的慈善團體。他做到了使徒保羅在提摩太前書6:18所說的: 「又要囑咐他們行善,在好事上富足,甘心施捨,樂意供給( – 或譯:體貼)人」。

本文版權為正直資源中心(Integrity Resource Center, Inc.)所有。本文獲得授權改編自瑞克.博克思的正直時刻Integrity Moments with Rich Boxx」。這系列的文章是以一個基督徒的觀點評論職場的正直議題。

省思/討論題目

對於聖經教我們應如何處理金錢在企業和個人生活上,跟我們廣泛所能接受的財務管理有很大的不同,你的看法如何? 你曾經去貸款來成立公司、擴展公司業務或是達成自己個人的願望嗎?請分享你自己貸款的經驗。 貸款看起來像是公司草創初期最容易獲得資金來源的方法,不管是在時間或是金錢上。你覺得聖經的教導說 :「你要專心仰賴耶和華, 不可倚靠自己的聰明。」不借貸是一件很困難的事情嗎? 你認為慈善是否應該要列入公司的宗旨之一?或者公司應該永遠把獲利放在第一位?分享你的看法。

如果你手上有聖經,希望閱讀更多與這個主題有關的經文,請參考:詩篇37篇3-7節;箴言15章16節、22章7、26-27節;馬太福音6章19-21節、33-34節; 哥林多後書9章6-11節

MORE PARADOXES IN BUSINESS

By Rick Boxx

In September I wrote about paradoxes in business, how commonly held and widely accepted views about how to conduct business often run counter to a biblical worldview of the same practices. Here are two others we should consider, both involving money management:

Financial Stewardship. When I was a commercial lender, a young man excitedly began telling me that Steinway Piano, a well-known company with a storied history, was for sale and he wanted our bank to loan him the money to purchase the company.

I admired this individual”s ambition, but was stunned when I asked how much money he needed to borrow. Without hesitation, he replied, “I think they will probably want $200 million, and I will need to borrow all of it. I”m only 25 and I don”t have any money.” Apparently he expected me to walk out to the bank”s “money tree” and get him the amount he needed without any questions, not to mention collateral.

As you might guess, we did not loan this big-idea young man the money, but this experience has always stuck with me as a reminder of how casually people consider the use of debt in business. This illustrates a paradox we find in the business world about the use of money: The world often says use all the debt you can borrow, whether it is for a business, buying a house or even going to college, but God says we are to trust in Him, not the bank.

Proverbs 3:5 teaches, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” We are tempted to wonder whether God truly has our best interests at heart, especially when a seemingly good opportunity presents itself and we think we must act quickly to capitalize on it. However, the Bible teaches we are stewards or managers of financial resources God has entrusted to us, not the owners.

We see this declared in 1 Chronicles 29:11, “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O LORD, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things.” God entrusts much to our care, but expects us to use it with wisdom – and by seeking His guidance – rather than acting by impulse.

Generosity. Here is another area where we see a great paradox between common practice and a biblical worldview. When I was in banking, one of my largest accounts was a construction-oriented business led by Sean. He squeezed his vendors for all he could get out of them, rarely providing anything in return.

Sean”s business was profitable because he drove his people hard and pressured his suppliers to minimize the expense side of the ledger. But few people enjoyed doing business with him. He was operating according to a philosophy we often hear in the business world, that we should hoard our wealth. God, however, says we are to be generous, willing to freely give as He directs.

Then Sean had a dramatic spiritual conversion. He went from being a “taker” to becoming an extremely generous “giver.” In fact, over the years since he has given away millions of dollars to many worthy charitable causes. A changed man, he is doing what the apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:18 when he admonished, “Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.”

Copyright 2016, Integrity Resource Center, Inc. Adapted with permission from "Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx," a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. To learn more about Integrity Resource Center or to sign up for Rick”s daily Integrity Moments, visit www.integrityresource.org. His new book, Unconventional Business, provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God”s Way.”

Reflection/Discussion Questions

What are your perspectives on how widely accepted principles of fiscal management might differ from teachings from the Bible about how we should handle money, both in business and in our personal lives? Explain your experience with the use of debt, whether to establish, grow or expand a business, or to attain desired goals for yourself? When acquiring a loan seems like a quick, easy was of acquiring needed funds for a project, how difficult is it to stop and remember to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding”? Especially when it might mean not proceeding with what you want to do – at least not as soon as you would like? What role – if any – do you think charitable giving should have in the way we conduct business, especially if it means affecting the company”s bottom line? Should profits always take first priority? Explain your answer.

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Psalm 37:3-7; Proverbs 15:16, 22:7,26-27; Matthew 6:19-21,33-34; 2 Corinthians 9:6-11

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