Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Flying on Instruments

Fellowship of Companies for Christ (FCCI)

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways and He will guide you on the right path."  Proverbs 3.5-6

"Now if any of you lacks wisdom, He should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and will be given to him."  James 1.5

Have you ever been in a business situation where you simply did not know what to do?  Have events happened so fast that you could not keep perspective and did not know how to respond?  Did the situation seem out of control, because the reference points that you relied on in the past were no longer visible?

Pilots are trained to fly under two separate types of conditions: visual flight rules (VFR), and instrument flight rules (IFR).  Visual flight rules are in effect when the pilot can see around him and, most importantly, when he can see the horizon to know how to keep the plane upright.  Under VFR rules, pilots are required to stay clear of clouds.  In IFR, the pilots are flying in clouds and are not able to see the horizon.  IFR aircraft are equipped with specific instrumentation to provide the pilot with all the information he needs to be able to control the aircraft.  The fundamental issue in training a pilot to fly IFR is getting him to trust his instruments and then to respond according to what the instruments are telling him to safely fly the aircraft.

Running a company for Christ is very similar to flying IFR.  The situation is often unclear and we are unable to clearly discern the events and situations to be able to make decisions on our own.  It seems that God often creates such circumstances to get us to trust Him.  But, just as an IFR aircraft is equipped to provide all the information the pilot needs to fly the airplane in IFR conditions, so God has provided everything the Christian CEO or business leader needs to manage his company in uncertain times.

The first set of "instruments" is the Scriptures.  God has provided everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1.3-4), including running the company entrusted to us, in His precious promises, which are a key part of the Scriptures.  One author has suggested there are 30,000 promises in Scripture, not counting those that are to a specific person or people group.  So many of the issues that concern us as CEOs are already dealt with in Scripture.  Just as the pilot has to continually study the pilots operating handbook (POH) to understand how to fly the airplane, so we need to be continually studying the Scriptures to know how to manage the company God has entrusted to us.

It is one thing to study the Scriptures; it is an entirely different thing to believe them to be true.  That is called faith: believing what God tells us about what we do not know.  For example, the Scriptures might command us to approach negotiations on a business deal from a position of trust rather than distrust.  Then we are faced with the question: Will we respond according to our "gut feel" or according to what the Scriptures say (Prov. 3.5-6)?

The actions we take are driven by what we believe.  In order to effectively "pilot" this company through stormy and dark times, we need to study the Scriptures, trust and believe that they are true, and then act according to that belief.

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