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Is running my small business sinful?

Discussion in 'Requests for Christian Advice' started by ChrisJackson960, Feb 15, 2018.

  1. ChrisJackson960

    ChrisJackson960 New Member

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    Christian
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    Greetings. I'm seeking advice from more experienced Christians. So to start thing off I'm 21 and I'm a college student. I have a very small business buying and selling vinyl record albums online. I started it back in high school and have made good money. Actually I've never had a job and this is still my only income as a full time student. I either buy big lots of records and sell them individually or buy them individually at good prices because they have a rare label or rare sticker or what have you. So money used to be a big thing to me but I recently became a Christian. Since then I've been wondering if what I'm doing is ok or sinful or something in between. Here are my concerns about it (1) sometimes I'll buy an album from somebody that doesn't know what they have for cheap. For example, I might buy one with a rare label. Pay $10 for it and sell it for $100. So I'm afraid I'm taking advantage of these people? I don't try to be greedy but you've got to do this to make money. (2) I don't know all of the music on the records I sell but it's safe to say that some of it isn't music a Christian should listen too. I don't want to contribute to a sinful lifestyle or condone a sinful song. I do enjoy running this small business and it's my only money maker right now. But I'm wondering if I should continue. I've prayed about it but am not yet sure how God responds to prayers and I don't think I've got an answer yet. Can some of you please help me? Thanks so much and God bless!
     
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  2. Sketcher

    Sketcher Born Imperishable

    +7,214
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    Appraise it and make them a fair offer. It doesn't mean don't make a profit.
    I've long had the conviction that if I shouldn't have something, why should someone else have it. For instance, I don't play Magic The Gathering, but if someone were to be convicted about playing that and having the cards, I don't see how that same person could rightly justify selling them to someone else. It's one thing to simply clear storage space, it's another to discharge something you have come to believe is morally toxic onto another person.
     
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  3. Caterpillar5

    Caterpillar5 New Member

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    Hopefully some others will give you more advice - mine would be to start by asking God to help you discern anything in your business practices that you could change to be more in line with what He would have you do. I sell online as well, and so I know that you have to buy for less than you sell it for, or you don't stay in business. Maybe pray about whether you should maybe pay a little more to people when you know they have something rare, but they don't. Also, perhaps pray about what types of music you sell and what you don't. My two cents worth.
     
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  4. mukk_in

    mukk_in Yankees Fan Supporter

    +3,597
    India
    Christian
    Celibate
    Not at all Chris. I plan on starting and/or investing in a business in America for retirement (as I'm presently invested as well). Here are some scriptures regarding business for you to meditate on: Genesis 2:15; Exodus 35:35; Deuteronomy 8:18, 25:13-15; Job 31:13-14; Nehemiah 6:9; Proverbs 11:1, 21:5; 1 Timothy 5:18; Luke 16:10.

    Making a profit is scriptural. Be sure to pay taxes, tithe, etc., though. If you're not comfortable with your particular business, try buying and selling Bibles, Educational material, clothing, etc. God bless you son :).
     
  5. Andrew77

    Andrew77 The walking accident Supporter

    +1,221
    United States
    Non-Denom
    Single
    US-Constitution
    So the first universal generic answer is, no running a business, small or otherwise, isn't evil. In fact I think people who do, can be used more greatly for Kingdom, than those like me who can't hardly earn anything. You can do things with your ability to make money, that the rest of us can't. Like fund mission trips, and charities, and provide real help to organizations that do ministry.

    If you need more evidence, the Apostle Paul who wrote most of the new testament, was a tent maker. He ran a small business himself.

    As to your specific concerns.

    1. I don't think you are obligated to inform everyone of what they have. Your knowledge itself, is of value. You are not obligated to give that away.

    What you can't do, and should never do, is defraud, or downplay something you know has value. Never say something that is misleading. "Yeah that's an old label no one has ever heard of. I'll take it off your hands for 50¢". Don't be doing that, obviously.

    And don't intentionally low ball. Offer what you consider a fair price.

    2. A great rule of thumb on this, is the apostle Paul on eating meat given to Idols. 1 Corinthians 10:27-28.

    If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. But if someone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience.

    So how to apply that to you is simply, if you don't know... then don't ask. Conduct your business without worry or fear.

    However, if you do know, and it bothers you, then have nothing to do with it. If you have already bought, and find out there is something bad in it, then don't sell it. Toss it away.
     
  6. Kit Sigmon

    Kit Sigmon Well-Known Member

    +1,269
    Christian
    In Relationship
    The Bible say to be honest and to love your "neighbor" as yourself...in other words
    treat others as you want to be treated...but you know this.
    Repent and do what the Bible says.
    Colossians 3:9
    Luke 6:31
    Romans 13:9
     
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  7. EastCoastRemnant

    EastCoastRemnant I Must Decrease That He May Increase Supporter

    +1,469
    SDA
    Married
    Paying what another person is asking is not taking advantage of them... if you try and diminish the value of something just to increase you're own profit, then that is wrong. Paying full ask is not.

    I agree with sketcher on the second point however... as a Christian, you wouldn't sell Ouija boards or alcohol as those things can do spiritual and/or physical harm to the buyer. Music is Satans favorite means to entrap people into his world and away fro Christ. Be careful yourself in your musical selections as even some "Christian" music can lead to unholy thoughts and actions.
     
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  8. timewerx

    timewerx the village i--o--t--

    +5,033
    Christian Seeker
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    Well, that's a million dollar question.....

    I also run a small business. But I do all the work myself and charge cheaply.

    Money is "dirty". At the bottom of the pyramid are cheaply paid workers or services businesses for varied reasons. Sometimes these people are totally helpless with no chance for advancement like the intellectually challenged or like those living in 3rd world countries. Often, sales, commerce is done with a hint of deception (either by lying or withholding information), to make people buy because consumerism/materialism is what makes money go around and the economy afloat.

    The concept of profit is to take advantage of the weak and the less fortunate, bluntly put.....

    This is how the world works, the world is evil (1 John 5:19).... Loving money is hating God (Luke 16:13)

    But at the end of the day, we still have to make money (that is dirty). I guess it depends on how you spend that money. And if you know that money is dirty and a product of injustice, and cruelty, where are you going to spend it? That's up to you.

    Jesus is returning and when He comes back, he expects to see a clean bride, not someone muddied by the things of this world.

    How you handle money, it should reflect that you love God (and hate money). Don't care what the world or even religions say about money because God will use His standard, not ours, not even what your church says.
     
  9. Wordkeeper

    Wordkeeper Newbie

    +461
    Christian
    Married
    Great answer. As to what you should do with unrighteous mammon:

    Luke 16:9
    "And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.

    Find someone who has given all he owns to the poor, (a sign of changing loyalty, faith, from the world to God) and help him to follow Christ (helping is faith, and faith saves). Nothing you, and many others, are doing now is faith.
     
  10. Ignatius the Kiwi

    Ignatius the Kiwi Newbie

    +2,274
    Eastern Orthodox
    Single
    It seems to me it would only be sinful if you lie about the value of the item your buying. If the person your buying the item from doesn't do their own research to determine the value of a thing and you end up making a profit, then that's just being a smart at business and there's nothing wrong with making an honest profit. It is the responsibility of the seller to know what they are selling and if they don't then it is their loss and they cannot blame anyone but themselves for the missing an opportunity.

    As for selling records that aren't exactly Christian in theme, do you have an example? That's a harder question
     
  11. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

    +8,559
    New Zealand
    Pentecostal
    Married
    I can't see anything wrong with it at all. When I was a young Christian I met other Christians selling life insurance. If you have a talent for salesmanship and there is a market for what you're selling, and that is your income, then go for it. Jesus was a carpenter, and He had to sell his products to someone. There is nothing dishonest about what you are doing, because a person sells to you at a price that is good for them. So, the value is more than expected? Too bad, how sad! What happens if someone sells you a lemon and you lose money on it? Do the critics demand that you take it back to the seller and demand your money back. I guess not. That's buying and selling. You accept the advantages and take the loss. It's swings and roundabouts. I am not salesman, so I can't do what you do. Anyone who does not do what you do can criticise you and give you all sorts of advice about what you should no and not do. But all you are doing is usual commercial practice. Nothing dishonest about it.

    It's the same as a Christian convenience shop owner. He sells all sorts of products, what if he stocks toy guns and some guy tries to use it for armed robber? Is the shop owner responsible? What about a drug store that sells cold tablets and some guy uses them in a meth lab, he sells condoms? Do we say that Christians shouldn't be shop owners?

    Naaman, after he was healed, he disclosed to Elisha that because he was the pagan king's aide, when the king bowed down to the idol, he had to provide support for him which made him have to bow down as well. Elisha assured him that he would not be condemned, because he was supporting his king as part of his job and if he had the personal choice, he wouldn't bow down to the god.
     
  12. lastofall

    lastofall Active Member

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    [for me anyway] we should do nothing by taking advantage of any, and we should not suppose that gain (getting advantage) is godliness, because it is not, rather it is worldly, secular: but rather godliness with contentment is great gain.
    When we say that we believe in God then shall we also trust Him, and deny our own will, and seek His only.
    The Lord Jesus Christ tells us to "first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness" and what we need shall be added to us: Do we trust Him? or do we do something outside of trusting Him to make sure we are okay?
     
  13. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

    +8,559
    New Zealand
    Pentecostal
    Married
    I guess a Calvinist bookshop owner shouldn't sell books that might include Arminian doctrine, or any other teaching that might not be conducive to your own church's teaching. But I think he wold go out of business quite quickly. My favourite Christian second hand bookshop sells all kinds of books from many sources and doctrinal positions, and does good business, because a wide range of customers do business with him.
     
  14. now faith

    now faith Veteran Supporter

    +1,444
    Word of Faith
    Married
    Simply because you run a business for profit ,does not mean you idolize money, it means you get to eat.
    If we based our assumption on profit being evil ,we could not work.
    Every company seeks a profit.
    The Bible States
    if you do not work you do not eat.
    So if you find another means for a living other than work or money you have given the government for 40 years ,some one else has to pay for your theology.
    That is profiting off of others expense ,and is wrong.
    The Bible teaches sound principles to conduct business ,and it boils down to being honest and not stealing or deceiving others.
    Our money can be used to invest ,reference the Parable of the talents.
    Matthew 25.
    Even if their is a deeper kingdom meaning to this ,our Lord would not have praised a evil activity.
     
  15. now faith

    now faith Veteran Supporter

    +1,444
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    I own a business, and cannot qualify customers as to their salvation.
    If they speak against Christ they can leave.
    But otherwise they are people seeking my goods and services.
    Even Paul was a tent maker and I'm sure he sold his tents.
     
  16. now faith

    now faith Veteran Supporter

    +1,444
    Word of Faith
    Married
    Well God is not going to shower you with money to provide for your family, birds will not bring it , you go work for profit.
    Since the beginning God's plan for mankind has been a economic system of trading or buying and selling.
    God gave us this measure we should embrace what he has so blessed us with.
     
  17. timewerx

    timewerx the village i--o--t--

    +5,033
    Christian Seeker
    Single
    Additionally, the Bible also says to charge a fair price and NOT to raise the price in times of higher demand.

    Not as much profit as the world does it. The reason for this is so that through your business, you might also help the poor or anyone in distress.

    And also the matter of paying the salaries of your employees. My dad also runs a small business with hired labor. Our workers are probably the highest paid in the field by a considerable margin. Ironically, my dad doesn't make much profit. Just enough to get through the month. Many others in the same business has gone rich. One factor is that they are much more competitive in prices and higher profit margins because they pay a lot less to their workers.

    It's a lot easier to get rich through business by doing things the way the world does. But doing things according to God, it's much more difficult to be rich. You have to charge a fair price while providing your workers their deserved wages (not the salary standards of this world) while mainting the price in times of high demand. This leaves you with little profit margin, little opportunity to get rich :)
     
  18. now faith

    now faith Veteran Supporter

    +1,444
    Word of Faith
    Married
    Your preaching to the Choir on this topic ,but that's fine by me.
    My business is sales and service ,most of my customer base up in age.
    Often I find myself doing more than is required ,and my help with other advice has become very popular.
    But it is time consuming ,worth it though to out some shady contractor taking advantage of a 95 year old widow.
    God has called us to good works.
     
  19. Wordkeeper

    Wordkeeper Newbie

    +461
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    Married
    At this point, it's important to clarify that the issue is what is faith
     
  20. Wordkeeper

    Wordkeeper Newbie

    +461
    Christian
    Married
    At this point, it's important to clarify that the issue is what is faith and what is not faith.

    It's a binary, you cannot have a grey area.

    You are either depending on mammon for earthly (temporal) gains or God for permanent (eternal) gains.

    Where it IS nuanced is the fact that most believers (99 out of every 100) cannot give everything they have to the poor and follow Christ. However, they can ask for terms of peace.

    Acts 5:4
    4Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
     
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