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Help for the Workaholic – Restoring Prideful Men who are Addicted to Work
By Craig Rogers
Successful businessmen are often lousy fathers and even worse at being a husband. Not all successful businessmen are lousy dads, but all too often we find that the successful businessmen have sacrificed their family to gain financial and business success. Thus, they are absent fathers and distant spouses as a majority of their life has been invested into the business. The majority of their time, energy, passion, and life is given over to the demands of being successful. There is only 24 hours in each day so something in the life of the successful businessman has to give, most of the time its his family that suffers. All too often we find that students enrolled at Zion Educational Systems came from families who’s father is a successful businessman who is a distant dad. We see it all the time… and the worse part of the trap that these men have fallen into comes from the frustration of failing to use their business skill to solve problems at home. These men are greatly honored and respected everyday in the business world as they employ their highly honed problem solving skills sets and enjoy great success. But these skills sets do not transfer to the family. As a matter of fact, if you want to destroy a family (child, marriage) run your household like you run your business. The same is true when a man attempts to take his business skills into a ministry.
The businessmen that find their self-worth and identity in their job, position, title, or business success is very hard to reach, restore, and redeem. Because of the significant rewards of being successful in business they seem to be trapped by their own success (puffed up in pride), giving them a false sense of power and worthiness. These men are known as being “self-righteous”, and see themselves as being “better than” those who are not as successful. These men believe in their own business related righteousness, especially when they tithe great amounts to the church and support other worthy non-profit organizations. As if their financial success is on the same level of being “relational”. In the family, and the ministry, financial success does not have any positive impact on relationships between father and daughter, or husband and wife. As a matter of fact, financial success quite often causes more problems relationally than any other factor.
Successful businessmen, especially men who make a lot of money, believe that their business success is the basis of their value to the world. They have the power that money brings forth, and many people automatically give respect and honor to men who’s wealth has come about from the fruits of their labor. They falsely see themselves as the source of the success, and fail to see that God has blessed them with a gift. The blessing is not supposed to be used to develop personal worthiness, its supposed to be given for the glory of God, PERIOD. Unfortunately, with financial success you usually find ugly pride, judgement, and superior grandiosity. These men really believe that they have all the answers because they have been very successful in business. The sad thing is that to be successful in business one must give up and sacrifice so many of the traits that identify Godliness. Business is dog-eat-dog and very competitive, where highly driven, hardworking, ruthless businessman usually enjoy great financial success. This man does not look at himself as a bad guy, he simply writes his antics off and says, “its only business”, as if business is separate from being a Godly man.
The truth is that most successful businessmen have thick skin and fail to treat people as “people”. He trains himself in such a way as to no get emotionally involved with his employees, staying detached, seeing them as producers or liabilities. The successful businessman believes that he must cut lose employees that are not performing (don’t let the door hit your behind as you leave) to his expectations. Therefore, he doesn’t invest into his employees as if they were brother or sisters in Christ. In the business world it is totally acceptable to view employees as mere pawns, a means to an end, and to get emotionally attached to employees is a potential handicap. The individual employee is evaluated and given value based on their performance as it relates to the business. Meaning, if they are not pulling their weight they are deemed “useless”, or “liabilities”, and they are released before they negatively effect the business. More often than not, when employees are released they are treated as the enemy. The business has to justify treating employees as expendable “non-people” so they can let them go when it best suits the business model. In this case, its all about the success of the business and the people that make up the business are just pawns, people who can be replaced, or simply numbers on a spreadsheet and they are expendable. In the business world this type of thinking is highly rewarded, and the financial benefits are proof that this way of operating is acceptable. “It’s only business!”, they say.
Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A (Chick-fil-A has enjoyed 43 straight years of increased growth and they generate 3.5 billion in sales per year) has successfully operated his business through a ministry model, where the business is all about building up people.. Truet Cathy, a Godly man who’s number one priority is Jesus Christ has run his business with Godly principles, treating the business and the people of the business like a ministry (other’s centered). Truett Cathy made the decision to close all his stores on Sunday in 1946 when he opened his first restaurant in Hapeville, Georgia. He has often shared that his decision was as much practical as spiritual. He believes that all franchised Chick-fil-A Operators and their employees should have an opportunity to rest, relax, spend time with family and friends, and worship if they choose to do so. That’s why all Chick-fil-A Restaurants are closed on Sunday. It’s part of their recipe for success. Internally, Chick-fil-A treats all people with the highest regard. Their focus is on people, the community in which they live, and giving back. They just happen to use good chicken sandwiches as their means to reach and positively effect people. Their motivation is to improve the quality of life for everyone they are in contact with, and their business success is directly related to their commitment to people.
Unfortunately, in the business world there is very little semblance to Godliness. Mostly, due to their success in business successful businessmen have a false sense of power and ability. Meaning, the businessman that can “get things done” at work, the guy that can solve problem, fix issues, or take the bull by the horns and make things happen has a misconception of their power. Mainly, these men live and operate on what the Bible calls the “soul power”. Watchmen Nee calls it “the latent power of the soul!”. The Apostle Paul defines this soul power as as powerful delusion, and unless we repent and come to realize that our power should only come from the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness). If you were to describe the foundational principles of success in the business world you probably would not describe “love”, “peace”, “kindness”, “goodness”, or “faithfulness”. Instead you would use terms such as tenacious, driven, directive, domineering, dogged, and diligent, which are all seen as positive attributes.
How do you reach a successful businessman? How do you get them to see that their puffed up pride is ruining their family, destroying their marriage, and driving a wedge between themselves and the people they love? When my dad was on his death bed he didn’t look back at his life and enjoy the success he had in business. But he seemed to express regret that he didn’t spend more quality time with his children and grandchildren. My dad was a workaholic. I have the tendency of being a workaholic. I have been caught up many times into investing my entire being into my business. I regret the time I lost, and the pain I caused. So how do you reach a rich man who is justified by his success in business? You don’t. Only by the Spirit of God, and by the conviction of the truth, can a man be set free from the Spirit of Performance. Sometimes this man comes to repentance because his kids hate him and his wife leaves him. He might finally “get it” when he is all alone. Once he has lost his child, or destroys his marriage, the crisis involved is a great catalyst that tends to wake him up to the reality that his life is shallow and meaningless without his family and friends. He either retreats to what he knows and throws himself back into his business, or he repents and greatly regrets his poor choices and lives the rest of his life making up for lost time, restoring the relationships that he destroyed.
Success in life has nothing to do with the amount of money you have in the bank. Success in life has no material value whatsoever. Success in life is knowing that you served others, that you impacted lives in positive ways, and because of your sacrifice and investment into people the world is a better place for all. Being rich has nothing to do with your financial wealth. Those people who find themselves financially ruined quickly (for whatever reason) find out that those they thought were their friends were really only there because of the wealth and now that it is gone they have desert him like rats on a sinking ship. The reality of the shallowness of this man’s life is more than most can bare. People can be “fair weather” friends, standing by you as long as you provide them with security based on your wealth. But the second you are suffering, they run from you like you have the plague. I guess the upside to financial ruin is that you find out who your true friends are!