Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward, his mouth will be filled with gravel
Proverbs 20: 17
Today we are going to do things a little bit differently.
Let’s start with a quick prayer.
Lord, the God, thank you. Thank you for giving us and documenting such amazing leaders throughout our past. We pray to God that you would open up our minds to your wisdom and knowledge.
In Jesus’ name, Amen!
This week we are going to continue diving deeper into King Solomon’s business principles.
Remember that even if you’re not a business person, these principles can still apply to your everyday life and you can utilize the wisdom throughout this devotional.
His second principle was to WORK WISELY.
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding (Proverbs 4: 7).
It is not enough to work hard. You also have to work smart.
You have to capitalize your business and your life with wisdom as well as with money because wisdom is a defense as money is a defense (Ecclesiastes 7: 12).
The great majority of business start-ups will fail. The great majority of businesses started by Christians will fail.
The numbers might surprise you.
The statistics I found said that 97% of all startup businesses will fail in the first year. Then of that 3% of businesses, only 1% will make it to 5 years. Of that decimal of a percentage (I’m not great at math), only 1% of those businesses will make it to 10 years.
If my numbers are right we have a .003% chance of starting a business that will make it to 10 years.
It doesn’t matter if the business is founded with the best of purposes and dedicated to the glory of God.
Being a successful entrepreneur requires training and skill to be able to see and seize opportunities, working with wisdom as well with diligence.
His third principle was PURSUE EXCELLENCE.
Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings (Proverbs 22: 29).
Never be satisfied with being satisfactory. You get to set your bar of excellence, so set it high and keep it there.
Vince Lombardi, the great football coach, said in his first speech to his Green Bay Packers (who had finished in last place the prior season): “Gentlemen, we will chase perfection, and we will chase it relentlessly, knowing all the while we can never attain it. But along the way, we shall catch excellence.”
Shortly after that, the Green Bay Packers went on to win multiple super bowls.
Because they chose to set their bar high and pursue excellence, not just good enough.
Think about it for a few seconds.
Would you rather hire a plumber that is good enough, or would you hire the BEST of the BEST?
The Best of the Best right! We don’t want water leaking into our basement every time someone takes a shower or flushes the toilet.
So set your excellence level higher than you think you can reach and strive for it every day.
His fourth principle was WORK PROACTIVELY.
In all labor there is profit; but idle chatter leads only to poverty (Proverbs 14: 23).
There is a great benefit in careful planning, but in the end, you need to act.
You have heard me say it constantly. The first step is action! Without action, you will never move.
If you want to go to town, the first thing you need to do is take a step towards the door, then another step, then another. I think you get the point.
Many businesses fail to grow, or fail altogether, because of an inability or an unwillingness to act decisively.
How many times have you been given an idea by God but not taken action?
For me, it still happens almost every day.
He urges me to call a potential client, but I hesitate. Or he urges me to stop by and say hi to someone, but I drive right by their house.
I don’t take action on everything he gives me.
How about you? Do you take decisive action?
Solomon was extremely proactive, constantly building and always reaching towards the next venture (I Kings 7).
His fifth principle was, to BE HONEST – ALWAYS.
Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight. (Proverbs 11: 1).
Honesty in business should be given and without exception.
Again think about who you would want to hire? An honest person or a dishonest person.
If you know me you know that my principles are honesty and it has been for a while now.
But it wasn’t always my principal.
There was a time where when I thought I would get into trouble I would “hide” the truth, or only tell part of the story so that I looked better.
Then something clicked inside of me and I started taking FULL responsibility for my mistakes.
Guess what happened, I became even more successful.
Yes, I had to eat more crow, and I even got reprimanded several times by people. But in the end, God always protected me from real harm.
Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man; but afterward, his mouth will be filled with gravel (Proverbs 20: 17).
Honesty should extend beyond individual dealings and reach to larger societal issues.
Think back to the last time you were tempted to “enhance” the truth to save face. How did you handle it?
He who oppresses the poor to increase his riches … will surely come to poverty (Proverbs 22: 16).
We read that Solomon ruled with “largeness of heart” and was generous to all (I Kings 4: 29).
With honesty comes giving and that is exactly what God wants from us. He wants us to give to those in need and be 100% honest all the time.
PS if you can’t ask for something in person, then you probably don’t deserve it. Never try to gain riches through a note! God is telling you that it is dishonest and that’s why you can’t ask for it in person.
Look at the principles that we have learned so far. Which of them can you improve on?
For me, it is all of them.
When you get ready to “deal” with someone, take a few moments and think, “Who would like to deal with? Which type of person would I give business to?”
Now go out and meet that person.