Taking Pains

Dick Kent

2 Corinthians 8:21

For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.

My family runs a small advertising-marketing company. We purchased our existing business just a few months before our town’s (and our company’s) biggest event of the year, The Shenandoah Valley Apple Blossom Festival. We were hired to print thousands of shirts for the annual 10K race.

Midway through the printing, we discovered one of the words on the t-shirts was misspelled and neither the customer nor the graphic designers on our staff had caught it. Production was immediately halted.

Now what? The race was in two days and we didn’t have thousands of extra t-shirts lying around ready to be printed. I would have to get replacement shirts in time to be printed before the race.

As I worked through the logistics, I quickly realized the cost implications of the situation. I called the director of the festival to explain what had happened.

“Well,” she responded, “I guess you sent us a proof and we approved it. As I see it, it’s our responsibility, not yours.”

We were off the hook, I thought. Great! After all, we had just bought the company and this was the biggest job all year for our small business. I was overwhelmed with a mixture of relief and anxiety. Then I recalled the countless times I had counseled new believers, “The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance from your knees to the floor”.

“Give me a few minutes to think about this and, frankly, pray about it,” I told the surprised woman on the phone. “I’ll call you back.”

After hanging up, I immediately asked the Lord for guidance. I had always told our children, “The right decisions in life, both personal and in business, are almost always the hardest.” And so it was. I suddenly had an overwhelming sensation of being challenged and observed. I remembered being called on by fellow Christians to treat our business associates as we we would want to be treated, as Christ instructed. I realized that what was most important was doing the right thing simply because it was the right thing, period.

I called the festival director back and told her our company would reprint the order at no charge. We got the shirts delivered on time and shipped the misprinted ones to an underprivileged village in Africa. In retrospect, maybe the whole thing was just a little divine intervention resulting in positive, though unintended consequences halfway around the world.

I’m happy with the outcome of that fateful day, grateful that I knew as a Christian businessman that I had a responsibility far greater than simply being successful.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE: Do I “take pains” in order to conduct myself with integrity at work?