I find myself tempted to reap the marketing benefits of Corporate Responsibility rather than focus on the heart condition of generous giving. Corporate Social Responsibility began in the late 1960’s and early 1970’; a time when Americans struggled with authority and started turning their backs on God in mass. The concept of this responsibility was focused on businesses taking responsibility for their impact on the environment, consumers, employees, and communities. Soon, corporate marketing departments were tempted like me. They started advertising these good works for the benefit of the bottom line. This bottom line thinking has a tendency to harden our hearts and steer us away from our Savior.
Marketing directors, business owners, and employees often look to benevolence as a way to show their commitment to the community and garner favor with customers. If you are a business owner, have you been tempted to give simply because it may impress your customers? Have you consider the side benefit of this generosity as a way of justifying even more generous giving? Do you want the world to applaud your actions as being righteous? If so, you are not alone. In fact, Jesus foretold of this very temptation and provided clear instruction to all of us.
Jesus’ love for us is very practical and personal. In fact, He warned of this very temptation and the detrimental effect on our own hearts when He said “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven” (Matt 6:1 NASB). This statement is followed by the practical guidance that we should give anonymously so that this practice can glorify Him and becomes a means of worship by us rather than a badge of honor we wear to gain approval of our peers or customers. It is time for a paradigm shift in our businesses. It is time to view giving as a way for us to bless others and honor God.
Therefore, as a business owner, leader, or employee it is time for you to act. It is time for you to develop a habit of joyous giving, not for praise of your colleagues, customers, or competitors; but because you have a heart for the God that so loved you that He sacrificed His son to reconcile you to the Father. These habits can include a bucket at the office that others can contribute to without credit, a bank account for anonymous donation, a trust, or automatic paycheck deductions that directly benefit charitable organizations. In fact, this giving could even be to provide periodical subscriptions to missionaries or soldiers. You and your business could sponsor a child at camp. Remember, giving is not restricted to financial contributions. This giving could be time off work to volunteer in local ministries. Be creative and be committed to giving as a means of worship. These acts will change the hearts of those with which you work and will have a side benefit of building God’s Kingdom through example and testimony.
Imagine the change in the business world and our communities if we chose to give as a way of worship rather than to impress our neighbors. Imagine the impact you and your business could have on this community, this state, the country, or the world through giving. Stories of how your gifts changed lives through your demonstrated love for Christ will have angels singing in heaven (Luke 15:10)!