You may also listen to this Corner via February Dad’s Corner Podcast MP3.
We have a good friend who works in the emergency room of a large hospital. He performs initial evaluations on those who come in with psychological problems. He is one of the most calm-spirited people I know, but he says that each shift tries his patience because everyone he sees is violent, angry, or upset.
He shared how common it is for him to be evaluating nineteen and twenty-year-old young men. He asks them if they work, and they say, “No, man. I can’t work. That’s why I’m on disability.” My friend asks more questions concerning not working, and their answers are similar to this. “I’ve tried working, but it just makes me so anxious and uptight that I have to go on pills to calm me down. That’s why I’m here. I need some more pills.”
Most people would think it was wonderful if they didn’t have to work. I suppose that is why the world lives for weekends, vacations, and retirement. However, God has a purpose in man working, and thus His children are to have a different view of work. Work is a gift of God, and we are to rejoice and be thankful for it. “Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19).
We are also called to provide for our families. “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8). Work is a blessing, however, some work is definitely better than others.
My guess is that most reading this Corner are employed just as I was for twenty years. There are advantages to being employed such as health insurance, vacation days, retirement plans, and someone else making and being responsible for all the company decisions. However, there are also many disadvantages, especially for believers. I will list a few of the major disadvantages that come to mind.
Most often the company’s ethics and policies more closely follow the world’s thinking than Scriptural truth. This may bring a believer into conflict with his authorities. An example would be a believer who is being asked to lie to a customer about why a delivery is late.
- Corporate-provided health insurance often fund abortions. Large corporations often use profits to support ungodly, wicked movements, causes, and organizations.
- Employers may require long hours or night-shift work that hinders a dad’s availability of time to lead his family and disciple his children.
- Employers may require travel sending Dad away from the family for extended periods of time leaving Mom as a single parent.
- Employers may require moving the family to another city disrupting the family’s church and extended family ties.
- There is little to no opportunity to train sons and have them work alongside Dad as they get older.
We are called to provide for our families, so what options are there? The other option is self-employment, and it should be seriously considered. The above listed employment disadvantages can be mitigated with self-employment. Are there disadvantages to being self-employed? I’ll list some of the disadvantages below.
- All responsibilities and functions that occur in a company now are shouldered by one person—you.
- You might not be required to work long hours, but the temptation or the necessity to do so will be there.
- Your success or failure depends on you.
- If you are undisciplined or have a poor work ethic, you will likely be in trouble.
- You can no longer blame the company’s leadership for problems because that’s you.
- The temptation is to off-load administrative and bookkeeping tasks to your already overloaded wife.
- You may have a skill, but you have practically no business experience. (BTW, this is where many get themselves into trouble thinking they need a partner.)
- It often takes money to start a business. You then make the mistake of borrowing.
- It often takes time to achieve profitability.
- It requires confidence.
Is self-employment an idea that is on your heart? If so, prayerfully consider why. Is it because of some of the disadvantages of being employed that I listed above?
There are many good reasons for being self-employed, but let me discuss a bad reason for it. Maybe it is because you aren’t appreciated at work or don’t like someone telling you what to do. From my reading and experience, many businesses are started by men with rebellious attitudes. They are tired of someone bossing them around, and they decide to start their own business to be the one in charge. In that situation, I would say that is a bad reason to begin a business, and it’s likely God won’t bless the endeavor. As believers it is critical that we have God’s direction, blessing, and right attitudes before starting a new venture.
The world has such a disadvantage when it comes to work because it doesn’t have the Lord Jesus to look to for guidance. Frankly, I can’t imagine life without being able to turn to Him to seek His wisdom and direction. One doesn’t have to have a high IQ to be successful, but a good relationship with the One Who is all wisdom is very important. We need to be willing to use what we have then learn, grow, and work. If it is in accordance with His will, God will bless.
That brings up another dynamic that complicates self-employment. Unbelievers don’t have to be concerned about spiritual matters in regard to their business at all, but Christians must. Christians not only have to supply a product or service at a price that customers will purchase, and satisfy the laws of the land, but also please their Lord. Frankly, this “fourth dimension” in business should be the very greatest concern of a believer contemplating a new business. God will either bless the business or hinder it. “Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store” (Deuteronomy 28:5) and “Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store” (Deuteronomy 28:17). If you had a choice, what would you choose? Of course, we want God to bless. Therefore, we must obey the One Who is the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega.
We will continue this topic next month. Also, we will be having a new session at conferences around the country this year. It’s called “Making a Christ-Like Living in a Dog-Eat-Dog World.” This will be a highly practical, roundtable-type session. That means there will be the opportunity to hear real stories from others in your area who either have their own business or are starting one. Even those who are interested in a new venture will have an opportunity to ask questions and seek advice. Come join us in both reading this series and attending a conference.