Christian Business Wisdom Seekers

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9. Everything is negotiable

Background story


One day, God appears to Abraham in the form of three men. Three angels (men) visited Abraham, God's hand-picked founder of his chosen nation, Israel.  The three men say that Sarah will have a son, but Sarah, who is now ninety years old, laughs.

Two of them went down to Sodom and Gomorrah, to observe firsthand the wickedness in those cities.  The other visitor, who was the Lord, stayed behind.  God reveals to Abraham that Sodom and Gomorrah are to be destroyed for their grave sins.  Abraham pleads for the lives of any righteous people living there, especially the lives of his nephew, Lot, and his family; if only a handful of good men can be found there.

First, Abraham asked if the Lord would spare the cities if 50 righteous people lived there. The Lord said yes. Boldly, Abraham kept bargaining down, until God agreed not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if even ten righteous people lived there. Then the Lord departed.

Night falls, and the men of the city surround Lot’s home, wishing to rape the messengers. Finding only Lot and his family as righteous among the inhabitants, the angels warn Lot to quickly evacuate the city and to not look back. However, as God rains down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot’s wife looks back at her home and is turned into a pillar of salt.

Sodom and Gamorah

Genesis 18:24 -25 

Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 

What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare[fn] the place for the sake of the fifty-righteous people in it? 



Exodus 32:11-14 

But Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God. “LORD,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened. 

Lev 25:50

They will negotiate the price of their freedom with the person who bought them. The price will be based on the number of years from the time they were sold until the next Year of Jubilee—whatever it would cost to hire a worker for that period of time.

2 Samuel 3:13

“All right,” David replied, “but I will not negotiate with you unless you bring back my wife Michal, Saul's daughter, when you come.”

Job 6:27

No doubt you would cast lots for a fatherless child and negotiate a price to sell your friend.

negotiate (v) to discuss something formally in order to make an agreement; to get over, though, or around (something) successfully.

As believers in business, we are called to a higher level in our negotiations than many with whom we negotiate.

Here are 5 key principles gleaned from 14 powerful verses that must set our standard for any business negotiation.

14 Bible Promises for Business Negotiation

Trust in the Lord

“Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” Proverbs 16:20

“But they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.” Acts 6:10

I know this is a somewhat trite sounding principle, yet it needs repeating. His ways are always better than ours, his wisdom deeper, his steps better, his Spirit stronger.


Maintain Your Integrity

“If you argue your case with a neighbor, do not betray another man’s confidence. or he who hears it may shame you and you will never lose your bad reputation.”  Proverbs 25:9-10

“Let you conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6

”The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4

Perhaps the greatest testimony during negotiations is to maintain your integrity.

Be Bold

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

When you know that the Lord is directing your steps, it is good and right to stand firm and be bold. Non-Christians expect us to wimp out or cave in. After Pentecost, not one of the Lord’s apostles wimped out. Neither should we.

Grow a Partner – Not an Enemy

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live a peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18

“Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.” Proverbs 17:14

“Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight, or quantity. Use honest scales and honest weights, and honest ephah and an honest hin.” Leviticus 19:35-36

If a productive, professional partnership is not possible, it may be best to delay the agreement. Negotiated agreements designed in conflict can lead to nothing other than more conflict.

Be Patient

“The end of the matter is better than the beginning. and patience is better than pride.” Ecclesiastes 7:8

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14

“A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.” Proverbs 14:29

Yeah, this one is tough on me, too. It goes against every traditional entrepreneurial tendency we have – to be a fast, agile, quick to decide, intuitive, Type “A” go getters! Yet Moses had to wait. Joseph had to wait. David had to wait – as did so many others. How many times has the Lord made me wait to simply avoid a pending disaster of my own making!

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