A Mistake in Business
"As with the buyer — so with the seller!" Isaiah 24:2
Some have embraced the opinion, that business cannot be carried on in accordance with the rigid morality of the New Testament. But this is a mistake — for it can only be carried on safely and consistently, according to those principles! Unless a man has . . .
the love of God in his heart,
the precepts of God in his memory,
and the fear of God before his eyes;
unless he loves his neighbor as himself, and keeps eternity in view — he cannot be an honest tradesman.
Nothing is really lost by honesty — nor is anything worth keeping gained by deception. If we bring God into our business, if we walk with Him in the office, the warehouse and the shop; if we endeavor to maintain a tender conscience, and commend ourselves to Him in well-doing — then things must go on well with us. We may be tried, deeply tried; but God is our friend, He approves our conduct, and will manifest His approbation in His own time and way. He will bless us with His favor, which is life, and His loving-kindness, which is better than life.
But it is too often the case, that the precepts of the Bible are required to give way to the maxims of men; and the requirements of God — to the practices of the trade.
"We must do as our competitors do," is sometimes the language of professing Christians; but unless your competitors do as God directs in His Word — you must not! You dare not! If they attempt to deceive — you must not. If they practice the tricks of the trade — you must be honest.
You are not to be guided by the conduct of your competitors. God has given you a rule, and He expects you to walk by it. God will not allow His children to sin with impunity; you are not of this world, nor ought you to act like the world.
"As with the buyer — so with the seller." This is too often the case in reference to business — each party tries to deceive the other. The seller cries up his article, boasts of its excellence, and assures the buyer that he is selling it at a great sacrifice; when at the same time, if conscience were to speak, it would flatly contradict the whole! It is a fearful thing to lie under any pretense — and every attempt to deceive, is a lie!
How few consider what God has spoken upon this subject — hear from His own mouth, His fixed and determined purposes, "He who speaks lies shall not escape." (Proverbs 19:5.) God will keep His eye upon him, justice will pursue Him, and punishment will overtake Him! "He who speaks lies shall perish." (Proverbs 19:9.) A liar cannot prosper; for though he appears to do so for a time, there is rottenness at the root; the displeasure of God will follow, and, without painful repentance — the end will be dreadful.
He who lies in order to thrive in business, trusts in vanity; and vanity will be his recompense. (Isaiah 59:4.) "A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare!" (Proverbs 21:6.) Hear the liar's doom: "The mouth of those that speak lies, shall be stopped." (Psalm 63:11;) they shall be speechless before the Judge. "And all liars shall have their portion in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone!" (Rev. 21:8.)
Be not deceived: no perpetual liar can be a Christian, for it is written of all the Lord's people, "Surely, they are my people, children that will not lie; so He was their Savior." (Isaiah 63:8.) The true Christian can say with David, "I hate and abhor lying; but I love your law;" (Psalm 119:163;) and will pray with him, "Keep me from the way of deceit and graciously give me Your instruction. (Psalm 119:29.) "Therefore, putting away lying — speak every one truth with his neighbor." (Ephesians 4:25.)
Reader, do not attempt to evade the subject; do not say that trickery in trade is not lying. It is, and will be punished as such! A lie can never be necessary, it can never be justified; do not therefore sell yourself to work this wickedness.
If the seller imitates the buyer in sin — then he will be united with the buyer in punishment! "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord; but those who speak truth are His delight." (Proverbs 12:22.) "Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment!" (Proverbs 12:19.)