From Tim Keller and Katherine Leary Alsdorf’s Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work:
The gospel-centered business would have a discernible vision for serving the customer in some unique way, a lack of adversarial relationships and exploitation, an extremely strong emphasis on excellence and product quality, and an ethical environment that goes ‘all the way down’ to the bottom of the organizational chart and to the realities of daily behavior, even when high ethics mean a loss of margin.
In the business animated by the gospel worldview, profit is simply one of many important bottom lines.
Keller nails it here. It is also very interesting that his statement that profit should be only one of many bottom lines syncs up with the research of Jim Collins. In the landmark book Built to Last, Collins’ research shows that the most profitable companies actually don’t put profit first — they put the customer and the mission first.
This doesn’t mean they don’t seek profit (just as Keller isn’t saying not to seek profit). Rather, it’s that they realize that profit is not the point. Making a contribution and serving the customer is. You have to do this in a profitable way, but ironically, Collins’ research shows, you will be more profitable when you pursue more than profit rather than just profit.
And so here we see that the nature of a gospel-centered business is very much in line with what the best business research is showing as well. Common grace and the gospel are allies, not opponents.