It was the 2013 edition of Business Career Luncheon organised by All Ladies Affairs. It was the fourth edition of the annual programme which usually holds at the Sheraton Hotel, Lagos.
The coordinator of the group, Pastor Mrs. Sade Toyin Kehinde informed that the forum provides a platform for business owners to advertise their services and products to enterprising Christian women and career builders.
Beyond this however the forum according to her also serves as a platform to educate the female folk with godly values so that they could operate well in their businesses and careers.
This year’s edition, which took place in March, was quite exciting and illuminating as the resource persons at the event took time to take participants through the essence of running an enterprise.
How does one survive in an unfriendly environment? What are the winning streaks for the Christians? How does one cope with in an environment fraught with corruption and sharp practices? How does one break even and what is the winning formula for the Christian in business?
Ibukun Adebayo, CEO, Clean Ace Drycleaners Nigeria took the podium as he examines the world of an entrepreneur. Adebayo who has been running his dry cleaning business since 2005 sees the entrepreneur as a person driven with vision and passion. He says an entrepreneur does not believe in failure but rather takes advantage of his failures to advance his business.
He however notes that there is no way a Christian can survive the harsh business climate without giving himself to prayers. “I don’t see a Christian in business surviving who does not give himself to prayers and fellowship with God to get direction and leading” he stated
For about 40 minutes however the Chairman and Founder of Elyon College and Leadership Academy Abiodun Fijabi explained to participants that a business man who has not learnt to appropriate God’s grace will only be groping in the dark and would find it difficult to survive in the Nigerian business environment.
He said “grace is beyond human understanding. It is what makes the difference. Grace is the help of God coming to man. Grace gives us the desire and the power to do God’s will. Grace commands extraordinary blessing and creates and amazing synergy. It is a partnership with God that cannot fail”
Fijabi who is the first Vice President of the International Christian Chamber of Commerce notes further that grace will make you do extra ordinary things and things you think cannot ordinarily do.
Giving further incite into the world of business in an interview with Church Times, the international speaker stated that the Christian is at liberty to do any kind of business if the business is not against the law of the land and if he gets a leading to do it. “Apart from pornography business and any kind of business that is against the will of God for a person and the law of the land there is no business Christians cannot do.
“Even if the business is perceived to be a dirty a Christian should go into it especially when God is leading him. You must have the leading of God to do the business and you must be determined not to compromise your faith in the business.”
He however said grace differs. There are some who may have grace to certain business while others will not have the grace. “I have been in the kind of business that was corruption ridden. I was in contracting business for a while but when my conscience could not take what was going on in the environment, I had to drop it. But there are some people that the Lord will want them to stay there, roughen the weather and make the necessary changes.
“But for me I felt I was not cut for the business because it was a stop gap kind of thing that I did just to survive at that point and I found out that my conscience could not sustain the intrigues in the business.”
He said his experience doing contract jobs made him to decide never to do government contract about 20 years ago because he could not stand the sharp practices in such business environment.
While noting that God has been faithful ever since, he said the only way a Christian who is into contract business can help himself is “never to go into negotiation with any one to inflate contracts. There are some Christians who will excuse that. But we should never negotiate with people at the detriment of the nation’s economy. But when you finish a job and you want to say thank you that is a different game. But the people who are behind government contract are so blatant about it and are so audacious that they make demands like inflating contracts before they ever give it.
I do not have all the wisdom that is needed to handle that but I pray for those who are in the business that God will help them. We can distinguish ourselves.
The thing is to stay with God on the day today and moment to moment basis. It doesn’t become available until you are in Him. We have to be willing to walk with God and that attracts God’s grace. The work of yesterday may not be sufficient for today. it has to be moment by moment of being there with him. One of the things we have to realize that being a business man does not give us the liberty to love God less. As business men we are ministers of God in the market place. And the same that is required of pastors is required of us. We have to demonstrate love for God and prayers and Bible studies. We require more of God’s grace than the pastors because we are in more dangerous terrain. The business terrain is fraught with a lot of dirt and unrighteousness that the business man would need to be more closer to God than the pastor. He is also more involved with people than the pastors. He perhaps spends more time with people than the pastor in the church who sometimes only sees his members once a week.
Most pastors are cocooned in the church but the business man has more to do. He meets with a lot of people. The other guys who is not a Christian goes to babalowo and do a lot of fetish things to survive. But the Christians has to go to God.
Without Grace a business man cannot survive. Grace is all that the business man needs to survive in the business terrain.