Values: Christian and Un-Christian Partnerships – which one is right for business?
- Why Values Matter?
The first thing to consider when adhering to the principle of partnership is values. Values represent what people find valuable and important, such as commitment, loyalty, excellence, altruism, generosity, etc.
A person’s values are a reflection of their soul and heart, representing the deep aspects of their life. Building lasting and productive business relationships relies on shared values. Being best friends with someone does not automatically make them a suitable business partner. It is crucial to differentiate between personal relationships and business associations, as the expectations and criteria differ in each case.
In some cultures, there might be a tendency to partner with family members without considering their integrity, work ethic, or commitment to excellence. However, such associations can lead to complications. Similarly, associations formed in non-familial contexts, such as church relationships, should also be carefully evaluated based on shared values, as differences can lead to eventual separation.
PAUL AND BARNABAS
The Bible briefly recounts the story of two devoted men of God, Paul and Barnabas, who separated due to what can be considered value judgments. Although both were dedicated to the Gospel and performed miracles, they eventually parted ways.
“After some time, Paul said to Barnabas: Let us go and tour all the cities where we have preached the Word of the Lord and visit the brothers to see what is happening with them. But Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with him, and Paul considered that it was not appropriate to take with them the one who had abandoned them in Pamphylia and who had not accompanied them in their work. Their disagreement was so deep that they separated. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus. Paul, for his part, chose Silas and left with him, after being entrusted by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. He traveled through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches” Acts 15:36-41
The passage highlights their disagreement over bringing John Mark along on their missionary journey. Paul, prioritizing fidelity and endurance in the work, opposed it, while Barnabas, possibly valuing family ties, was willing to include his nephew.
This example illustrates that disagreements, even among devout individuals, often stem from differences in values. It emphasizes that being a child of God doesn’t guarantee agreement on values. Deep disagreements like Paul and Barnabas’s can lead to separation.
- Partnering with a Non-Christian: Is It Feasible?
In business, choosing a partner should be based on values rather than solely on faith. The notion that partnerships should exclusively involve Christians may be contrary to biblical principles. To impact the world, Christians need to extend beyond the church, avoiding isolation. The Christian life is not confined within church walls.
While it’s understandable for someone new in their faith to seek a Christian environment for growth, there’s a call to impact the world outside. Christians are called to shine in the darkness, not just within the church community. Business endeavors are not meant to be exclusively Christian; instead, they should include non-Christians to illuminate their path.
Working with people of different faiths, including Buddhists or Muslims, is possible and encouraged. Seeking advice from spiritual leaders and praying for guidance is recommended based on individual maturity levels. However, limiting collaboration with non-Christians is discouraged, as Christians are meant to be lights in the world.
This text is an excerpt from the book “Finding the Right Associate“, written by Alain Patrice Ngaleu.