This article was originally published here on the author’s blog.
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— by Mats Tunehag
She was amazed and perplexed at the same time. She was treated with respect and dignity. She was a woman challenged with disabilities. But her life had changed. With no or little prospect of ever getting a job, she was now working in a manufacturing company. She was creative, she had made friends, and she made money.
Women in this country and religious context were treated as second-class citizens. If they had mental or physical handicaps they were often further down.
But the company she worked for employed and offered jobs with dignity to women with disabilities. It was unheard of, and it made a huge difference not only in her life, but also for the other women who worked there. It even had a transformational impact on families and the community.
This woman asked herself: why is this workplace so different? It changes lives on many levels. She knew that the founder and CEO was a follower of Jesus. So she told herself: If that’s what it means to be a follower of Jesus, I will also follow him. It was a huge and risky step for a handicapped woman in a conservative Muslim environment.
What brought her to Christ? A gospel tract? A Jesus film? A Bible study? No, it was human resource management informed by biblical values, underpinned with prayer. Ultimately, it was, of course, God’s doing.
This true story from the Middle East highlights some important issues as we serve God and people in and through business. In BAM as we talk about the quadruple bottom line: financial, social, environmental and spiritual. BAM is not doing business with a touch of ‘churchianity’. BAM is not Christians just doing social enterprise. BAM recognizes God as a stakeholder who has a vested interested in the multiple bottom lines and multiple stakeholders.
We can and should set goals in each of these four areas individually, as we plan, operate and evaluate. However, we also need to recognize that these areas of impact overlap, interact and connect; the result is greater than the sum of its parts, as we learn from the story from the Middle East.
The CEO of the manufacturing company served faithfully with excellence, professionalism and integrity. God used that to draw a woman to himself. There was a kairos moment.
We cannot convert anyone by pushing through or forcing a spiritual impact. This is essential as we do business as mission. We must serve our customers, staff and suppliers with professionalism, excellence and integrity, and trust God for the kairos moment.
In the words of the apostle Paul: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused it to grow.”
Serve people and trust God for impact.