The Bible is packed with life lessons – stories of humankind’s experience with God. There are lessons for those feeling depressed, those struggling with sin, those dealing with difficult people – you name it, it’s there.
As a Christian, one of the most important lessons the Bible teaches me is to rely on God’s grace (that requires faith) and not my own works to make myself righteous in God’s sight. But there are other lessons that have also proved vital not only in the life to come but in my life today.
I’m an entrepreneur who juggles a lot of responsibilities. Thankfully, there are many Bible verses about business that teach some very valuable lessons. Here are some of the best verses in the Bible that can help the entrepreneur in you!
1. Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. – Proverbs 10:4 (NIV)
Proverbs is filled with all kinds of fantastic observations about life. This one shows how if you slack off, you’re going to be met with poverty. This makes sense, right?
I believe in making the most of every moment of the day. I work hard, really hard. I believe that diligence that leads to financial stability. As a result of my hard work, I built a fantastic wealth management firm and a financial website (the one you’re reading now). These companies bring in much more than the average American makes, and I’m so thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to build these businesses.
If you’re wanting to get ahead in business, be diligent. You don’t have to absolutely wear yourself out, though . . . .
2. Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. – Proverbs 23:4 (ESV)
As I mentioned, I work pretty hard. But that doesn’t mean I don’t take breaks. There are much more important things in life than getting rich. Take my family, for example. What would I do without my wife and my boys?
There’s nothing inherently wrong with being rich. But there is something wrong with wearing yourself out to get rich. We’ve all heard the stories of the workaholics who make a fortune but then abandon their families. Their marriages fall apart and their children suffer. Is wearing yourself out to become wealthy really worth those consequences? Of course not!
I’d argue that you can grow your dough without running yourself into the ground. But trust me, I know it’s not easy. I have to watch myself to make sure that I don’t go overboard.
I must at all times keep my entrepreneurial spirit in check. One of the best ways to do this is to listen to your spouse. If they’re telling you that you need to slow down, you need to slow down.
3. Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing. – Proverbs 20:4 (NIV)
Here’s a lesson for entrepreneurs – always be on the lookout for opportunities that lead to a harvest. This verse is probably more about the virtues of having a willingness to work, but it also talks about working in season. With certain seasons come opportunities. If these opportunities are pushed aside, you might find yourself in need but not reaping anything because you didn’t work! Remember that the fruit comes after labor.
4. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. – Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)
Imagine working for the perfect boss. Everything they say and do is absolutely perfect. They make the right choices every time. They speak the right words every time. They are right – you guessed it – 100% of the time. That sounds pretty intimidating, doesn’t it?
Wouldn’t you step up your game if you were working for the perfect boss? Wouldn’t you be careful with how you handled their money, their time, and their other resources? Of course you would! After all, perfection sees all. When we are working for human masters, we know in the back of our minds that there might be room to slack off. But when we’re working for God, there’s no room to cut corners.
Not only will God be pleased with you when he notices the fit and finish you put into your product or service, but most likely your human masters will notice too. Just make sure you care more about what God thinks than what your human masters think. Do that, and your human masters will probably be pleased as well if they are godly people.
5. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat– for he grants sleep to those he loves. – Psalm 127:2 (NIV)
At first glance, this verse seems to be making a general statement that it’s good to get your sleep instead of waking up early and going to bed late. While there’s certainly value in getting sleep, perhaps it’s saying something more. Here’s the first verse of the chapter:
Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. – Psalm 127:1 (NIV)
It’s always good to look at the context of a verse. Here, the verse is talking about how the Lord’s hand must be in something for it to work properly. Could it also be that rising early and staying up late does no good unless the Lord’s hand is in it? Perhaps it’s a possibility. In any case, it’s important to remember that we should rely on the Lord. We shouldn’t trust in our own abilities alone – the Lord must be at the heart of everything we do.
6. So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. – Matthew 7:12 (ESV)
A business that God approves of requires a firm understanding and grasp of ethics. Thankfully, Jesus simplified much of the whole topic of ethics in just a few words commonly known as the Golden Rule. When we, as entrepreneurs, put ourselves into other people’s shoes, we’re more likely to treat those people as we’d like to be treated. Here are a few business questions you can use to do the best thing for your customers:
- If I was the customer, would I be happy with the speed of service of my business?
- If I was the customer, would I appreciate how my business communicates with me?
- If I was the customer, would I continue doing business with my business?
These questions can help you improve customer satisfaction. One of the ways I help my clients is to provide custom-fit solutions. I recognize that every one of my clients is different. While there may be some overlap in their needs, each person is unique. Some of my clients want to set-it-and-forget-it, and others want detailed explanations and someone who will work closely with them to make tweaks and adjustments to their retirement plan.
Think about your business. How can you customize your products and services to your customers? How can you make every customer feel like the most valued customer? It starts with doing to others what you would have them do to you.
7. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. – Proverbs 4:7 (ESV)
I continually educate myself about all things financial. I attend presentations and do a lot of research. Understanding is of great value in my business, and I’d be willing to guess it is in yours, too. Wisdom not only includes having knowledge and experience, but it also includes being able to use that knowledge and experience in a sound way – it involves proper judgment.
Notice the value of understanding: “Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” That’s right, understanding is worth everything you own. Now, you probably don’t have to go and sell everything you own to take a course that costs thousands and thousands of dollars, but this verse certainly highlights the value of understanding.
Make a sincere effort to always be a learner. Value education. Learn how to apply your knowledge in business and life. It’s worth a lot, friends.
8. In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. – Proverbs 14:23 (ESV)
Back when I began my career with A.G. Edwards & Sons in 2002, I was in a training class including about 55 people. After the training a year later, our class was reduced to less than about 27 people. At my fifth anniversary mark, only five of us were left. The reason why so many people didn’t make it was because they weren’t really willing to put in the hard work required. They were all talk, no action.
You’ve probably heard that “actions speak louder than words.” True. But many people think that means you must act and speak. What if you just did the right thing without announcing it to the world? One might argue that that could result in less accountability, but if you actually follow through on your goals without speaking, it will show a sense of humility coupled with a dedication to working hard.
Work hard, and you can overcome many business challenges.
9. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? – Mark 8:36 (ESV)
I have quite a bit of money in the bank and investments. You might call me wealthy if you look at my net worth. I know others who are quite wealthy, too. But let me tell you, the numbers don’t mean a thing compared to the gift that my Lord Jesus gave to me on the cross. If you’re not a Christian, I ask you to look into the life of Christ.b Listen, we’ve all messed up. We’ve all fallen short of the perfection of God. We’re sinners! But God loves us so much that he came down to this planet to rescue us from the spiritual consequences of our actions. His name is Jesus.
If you’re an entrepreneur – or anyone else – who doesn’t yet have a relationship with Christ, seek first God’s kingdom. Wealth is deceitful, and it doesn’t mean a thing compared to the glorious riches in Christ.
10. The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. – Proverbs 21:5 (ESV)
Diligence means showing care – many times over the long haul. Are you showing diligence?
Businesses must be carefully built. Don’t be hasty. Remember that it can take years to see some success. If you go for a quick win, you might find yourself with a quick failure.