In this recent (16 Feb 2009) episode of the 700 Club, George Thomas reports on how Chinese business people are applying Christian principles to their business. Evidently the Chinese government is loosening things up enough to make such a story OK to broadcast.
It’s interesting to note, however, that the emphasis on “applying Biblical principles to business” is somewhat different in China than it is here in the U.S.
In the piece, the Chinese put the emphasis on ethical conduct of the business, including paying taxes and running a business in an upright manner. This is good Chinese fashion; they have always put a strong emphasis on having a moral society, even though the actualisation of that sometimes falls flat (as it does in any society.)
This is in opposition to how the application of Biblical principles to business comes through in the U.S. Too often the emphasis is on first ploughing the revenues into ministry, which is admirable but which a) isn’t the first priority and b) comes across as a “bribing God” proposition. That may explain why Christian business people find themsevles in more trouble than they should.
In addition to cultural emphases, the Chinese may not put giving on the top of the list for another reason: they don’t have the kinds of churches, ministries and charities in their system that are able to freely receive and disburse revenues, something I discussed a few weeks ago in my piece Losing the Church Property, or Why the Romanians Don’t Tithe. Beyond that, the Chinese have an enormous corruption problem, a result of a society emerging from years of absolute socialism. So transparent dealing is both exceptional and at a premium.
I am sure that we in the U.S. will soon discover the price of a corrupt society (I think that process has already started, but I digress.) In the meanwhile we could take some lessons from the Chinese on what’s really important in prosperity God’s way.