Happenings

Of snakes and doves in the marketplace

Dec 2015    

Share faith responsibly. Avoid hypocrisy. Deal with betrayal. Balance shrewdness and innocence. Handle both financial rewards and losses. Give generously. Manage work-life balance.

These seven principles were shared by Dr Rick Goossen in a public lecture on practical Christian ethics for marketplace challenges held at the Biblical Graduate School of Theology.

Having interviewed more than 300 Christian entrepreneurs worldwide on their top challenges in the marketplace, Dr Goossen highlighted that business leaders often cite betrayal as the lowest point of their careers. His advice for handling betrayal drew from the Bible – the example of “Jesus’ half-baked disciples” which offers a realistic view of human nature, and the necessity and power of forgiveness.

Dr Goossen, who provides biblical financial counsel to high-net-worth individuals, also shared insights on being “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Shrewdness is not about gaining unfair advantage through questionable means. Rather, it refers to calculated practical wisdom. Likewise, innocence does not equate to naïveté, gullibility, incompetence or susceptibility to manipulation. Rather, it is about not bearing grudges nor seeking retribution.

“Marketplace leaders need to balance being faith-motivated but not manipulative, respectful but not compromising, transparent but not
domineering, and abiding by the law but not restricted by the law … We have to think through with theological integrity and precision how to impact the marketplace in the context of the country and city we live in,” said Dr Goossen.

Chia Hui Jun is Editorial Executive at Methodist Message and worships at Foochow Methodist Church.

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