Hey 👋🏾 there BCU Family!
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Most of us are taught about stealing being wrong and in many cases, stealing can lead to time in the pokey and a record that follows you for the rest of your life. While many of us would never dream of slipping a lip gloss into a purse, pilfering a candy bar even or taking a vehicle, there are a number of us do steal from others. On the regular. From small businesses.
As a former, semi-current and potential small business owner myself, it’s a blessing to get a vision from the Lord, put your plan together, get your logo/branding, gather your capital, do your advertising and get real live customers! That joy can be quickly overshadowed by the amount of people who know you and want deeply discounted and/or free services. Check out these comments:
(After consuming all the product) “I didn’t like it. Can I get ALL my money back?” (But, you ate it. And served it to your guests).
“Why take my stuff to a tailor when YOU can do it for free?” (insert blank stare).
“I’m MAD! You didn’t update one line of my information (an insignificant line on a stack of promotional materials you got for FREE, mind you).
“I just paid my rent, so I can’t pay for for your services” (this was said AFTER the service was completed). I’ll get you next month. (It’s been a year).
(Person comes to pick up hand-made, specialty, consumable, personalized item) “I can’t pay you until Friday”. (Shaking my head).
Oh, it gets better!
“I am going through a season of financial difficulty, but when God blesses me, I will bless you. (When did this season start? before or after your order?)
“I had to pay a bill. Can I pay you later?” (No words).
“I see those ads you do. How much are they?” (names low price). “Oh.” (So were you disappointed because it wasn’t free?)
Can I get the 20-year friend discount? (The what?)
“If you do this work for free, I will promote you!” (So…you have a connection with Nike or some major sponsor or you gonna tell Mama and dem to come get free goods?)
and my favorite, “I need this (complicated and time consuming) project done TODAY! I know you are home and can get it done.” (As if I have nothing else to do but take your last minute and FREE order).
When we go to a salon, do we bring our own products to save a few dollars? Bring eggs and bacon to the diner to reduce your bill? Do we rush the customer service desk at Target, Wal-Mart, Kroger’s, Stop & Shop or any other big box store expecting or demanding FREE merchandise? So WHY is it okay for us to do the same to small business owners, especially if the owners are our friends and family?
I love a bargain like the next person, BCU Family and as a practicing good steward, I want to get the most for the money I spend. That doesn’t include manipulating, guilting, presuming or stealing (ordering a personalized item or getting a service knowing full well you have no intention of paying for it) goods and services. We see an example of this in the Bible. Consider King David who wanted to buy a threshing floor from Araunah, in 2 Samuel 24:21-24.
v 21) ‘Then Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”
v 22)And David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the Lord, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.”
v 23)Now Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood. All these, O king, Araunah has given to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God accept you.”
v 24)Then the king [David] said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
David, being a king, could have manipulated, shamed, demanded or extorted the land for under the fair market value. He could have said, “you better bless me with that land”. Or, “God will bless you if you bless me and called it “favor”. Rather, he offered to and PAID the fair price for it.
When we play “let’s make a deal” with our business friends, we are EXTORTIONERS who ROB them from being able to provide for their families. When we refuse to pay for services, we STEAL the time, talent and materials God gave them that could have been used for a paying client. We DESTROY the trust they had in the agreement made to pay for services at the the time they are rendered. We KILL their ability to expand their business (if everything is free, how are they going to maintain business or get any bigger?) We DEFRAUD the business owner of customers by bad-mouthing them because no discount given equates to shoddy work. We BURGLARIZE the owner of esteem because of constant pressure and manipulation to get the work done for discounted or free.
BCU Fam, if stealing, manipulation or extortion is part of our lifestyles, unless we repent and cease from it, we will not make it into the kingdom of Heaven. I Corinthians 6:9-10 says, “know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
And if we are filled with the Holy Spirit on the inside, verse 11 reminds us that we USED to do those things, but now we are sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. Paul was reminding us, the church, that means as born-again believers we should not continue to practice these sins.
Now, I admit that I used to be the one who was disappointed if I didn’t always get a discount–I thank God for showing me that mindset was not the way to do business or represent Him properly. If you have been the person who has been extorting people, now is a good time to stop with God’s help. Ask Him to help you see the value in the special talent He has blessed them to have. If your funds are tight, then ask God to help you find the money you need, or bless you to get with another service provider that you can afford.
If you are a leader in any capacity, the business owner and you are friends/family, or you have a strong personality, remember that owners may be intimidated (that’s another post), and think you expect a discount or freebie. Like David, insist on paying them full price, and do that with a cheerful heart–it’s a blessing to be able to to a blessing to someone else and in turn, God will BLESS you. Let’s allow Luke 6:31 to guide fairness in dealing with people: “And just as you would want mean to do to you, you also do to them likewise”. Amen? Amen!
This is a tough, yes needful talk, BCU Fam. Which side of the fence are you on, discount-demander or berated business owner? What have your experiences been like? Let’s continue our conversation in the comments section!
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Thank you SO much for stopping by. God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!