Did you know that the beginning stages of Paul the Apostle’s ministry were greatly affected by a woman? And not just any woman: Lydia, a successful businesswoman, who many scholars believe to be his first known convert.
Specifically, she sold purple cloth—which, back then, was valuable and expensive. It was a sign of wealth, nobility and royalty. Purple cloth was purchased and worn by members of the royal family and Roman senators. So Lydia’s customers—her demographic and target market, in fact—were upper-class people. And we can assume that Lydia was successful and prosperous because she owned a home with enough rooms to host Paul and three of his friends overnight at the same time!
What I love about Lydia’s story is that it’s a biblical example of how God cares about our life as a whole, not just our spiritual life. The biblical account of her life doesn’t shy away from the fact that she was a successful businesswoman. And why would it? God cares about our business pursuits! He is the One who gave us those gifts to be used in the first place.
If it weren’t for Lydia’s business, would she have had the means and the space to house Paul and his companions overnight? Maybe not.
Later in her story, she once again offers up her home as a place for the early church to meet. Lydia didn’t operate what we would call a “Christian” or faith-based business, but her business and her lifestyle of faith was certainly helping Christians.
Related: What Happens When You Use Your Gifts
One of my favorite Bible passages speaks to not only using your gifts, but also using them as a light for others:
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14–16 (NIV)
As a Christian, when you live a life of faith, you are being true to yourself. But you may have wondered how prominent your faith should be in your business.
There are two ways to approach faith in business:
Choosing which approach to take in your business is an important decision, because it will affect your:
In this episode, I’ll explain the real differences here and give lots of examples. I want you to decide which path makes the most sense for you. That way, you can reach the most people!
Alli is an author, speaker, mom of five boys (send prayers), and the executive director of Propel Women. She’s an amazing entrepreneurial coach, helping everyone from small-business owners all the way up to fortune 500 companies!
But being a successful businesswoman wasn’t always part of Alli’s story. She shares her journey of dealing with an unsettling force that so many of us deal with: anxiety. Alli remembers one day in a Target parking lot when she broke down in tears. She called a friend for help, and her friend told her, “You’re so held down by the weight of fear and worry—and you’re trying to make safety your god.”
But Alli thought that was normal. She thought anxiety was just part of modern life.
It wasn’t until the release of her first book—while simultaneously walking with her husband through a serious illness—that she was able to confront her fears head on and break free from anxiety.
Alli’s story is a very real example of how tough, terrifying and downright unpleasant it can be to put one foot in front of the other, trusting God and pursuing what you love in the face of fear. In this podcast, Alli and I talk about:
Stephanie and her husband, Isaac, own and operate Five Daughters Bakery in Nashville, Tennessee—and y’all, their donuts are like a drug. These are not your typical donuts; they are gourmet, croissant donuts . . . and they’re next-level good.
The bakery is named for Stephanie and Isaac’s five daughters, and that’s not the only element from their personal lives they incorporated into the business. While they don’t run a business that falls into the Christian sector, they are business owners of faith. Their faith influences everything about their approach to business: from the way they treat their employees and customers to what they charge for donuts (and guess what—they’re not “cheap!”).
In this episode, Stephanie and I talk about:
Plus, I’ll answer a question from one of our live Business Boutique events about operations.
How has your faith impacted your business? I’d love to hear from you in the comments for this episode!
1:15 Balancing Faith in Business
16:19 Interview with Alli Worthington
40:15 Interview with Stephanie Meek
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