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Business Advice in Proverbs

by Ruth Marlene Friesen

I’ve long known that there is good business advice in Proverbs. In fact, that one book of the Bible has succinct principles for all areas of our lives. Once, when the light bulb factory, where I was the receptionist and switchboard operator, had all the union members go on strike, the office personnel were still expected to come in, but with their front doors locked; there was not a lot for me to do.

So I opened my Bible to Proverbs, and decided in what categories in life each verse offered counsel. Then I would write it on the growing spread of sheets of paper all over my big L-shaped desk. Many verses applied to more than one category. I could see that a verse about lying could apply to family dynamics, but also to getting an education, and to how to run a business. The ones about relationships could apply to many more.

By the time the strike ended nine weeks later I had a duo-tang binder of about one and a half inches thick! I wasn’t nearly done yet, but I was feeling like I had over-eaten on knowledge for this study, so set it aside to take up another project for my free time, and never finished the study. It did make a huge impact on me though.

So as I think and pray about running my own business ventures, I turn to an old habit of reading the chapter in Proverbs that has the same number as the date in the month. There are no more than 31 days in any month, so there is always a matching chapter.

Many times I don’t have to read more than a verse or two, before I spot a spiritual principle that I can apply to how I conduct my business.

I’m starting a new category in this Business section, eAction, so I can share these insights from time to time. I don’t believe just now that I have room in my schedule to do this on a daily basis, but weekly is possible.

For today a quick look at the beginning of chapter 19. There I read;
Better a poor man whose walk is blameless
than a fool whose lips are perverse.
It is not good to have zeal without knowledge,
nor to be hasty and miss the way.
A man’s own folly ruins his life,
yet his heart rages against the LORD
(Proverbs 19:1-3)

Do you spot the principles right away?
1. It is better to be poor but sin-free than a fool who says perverse, or angry and disagreeable things that cause trouble. (With time and thought this could be polished into a clear, sharp motto – or something to hang on the wall).

2. Ah, it is one thing to have zeal and enthusiasm, but if we rush ahead without all the facts, we are going to make mistakes in our business life (or any part of our life). Obviously then, it is better to take time to research something to get all the facts before we make a decision or business move.

3. If we come to ruin, it will be our own fault, however, our natural tendency is to rage against God, as if He messed up our lives. This reminds me to consult with the Lord in prayer and ask for His prompting and advice before moving forward.

We’ll look for more such Business Advice in Proverbs next time!

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Ruth Marlene Friesen

Ruth Marlene Friesen
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