Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
VFC Bible Study worksheet 21-Feb-2016
Theme: Wisdom for Living
Topic: Integrity in Business
Main Texts: Proverbs 11:1-31; Matthew 20:1-16
Key Verse: Proverbs 11:1 –“The LORD detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with him.” (NIV)
Business Integrity is about being honest, fair and above board in business dealings. It includes not cheating those we deal with in business (who could be our employer, client, or business partner), not giving or taking bribes, and being true to our claims. Solomon wrote a lot about business integrity, making specific statements on business actions and their short-term and long-term consequences. He consistently warns that cheating destroys the long-term prospect of any business. In our key verse, he speaks of dishonest scales. He repeats the same statement in Proverbs 20:10 and 20:23. Before this, God had warned against dishonest practices in business; read Leviticus 19:35-36, Deuteronomy 25:13-16 and Hosea 12:7.
1. Give practical examples of how we could be guilty of “dishonest scales”: (a) as an employer, (b) as an employee (see Pro 11:18), (c) as a merchant. Solomon warns in Pro 11:3-4 that duplicity in business destroys, and points out that unhealthy desire for material wealth underlies all such duplicity. Sometimes, the one who is short-changed by such dishonest acts finds out and the business relationship is immediately soured. However, there are times when it is never found out, and the dishonest person savours his or her “smartness”.
2. List some short-term, and long-term consequences of being dishonest as (a) an employer, (b) an employee and (c) a merchant. Often, employee Unions stage public protests against what they perceive as inequity in their employer’s policies and administration. In many cases, the workers do have a case, but not all the time. A Christian who is a member of such a Union may be in a dilemma over whether or not to participate in such a protest, especially when he is not convinced of a case for protest. The workers Jesus referred to in Matthew 20 also protested their remuneration by grumbling – see v11.
3. From the response of the landowner in Matthew 20 1-16 to his disgruntled workers, what should be the principles of our assessment of fairness by an employer towards his employees?
Merchants often take advantage of seasons or opportunities to make more money than normal. For example, hotels cash in on high demand (e.g. during conferences) to raise prices. Also, merchants sometimes demand higher prices from individuals they assess as being able to pay more. For example, food merchants in Nigeria’s Niger Delta were known to have “normal price” and “Shell price” for goods – “Shell price” being a higher price for those identified to be working for the Shell oil company.
4. Does opportunistic pricing of goods and services amount to “dishonest scales”?
Lord, teach me to honor you and live with a clear conscience by showing integrity in my business dealings – whether as an employer, an employee, or a merchant of goods or services. in Jesus’ name. Amen.