The Steward and Ethics
Centuries ago a friend of Jesus came to a crossroads experience with God. Things weren’t turning out as well as he had hoped. He had spent time with Jesus—a lot of time. They traveled and dined
together. He was a religious man and he had seen some amazing miracles at the
hand of Jesus. In fact, he had
received from Jesus the authority to cast demons out of others. What he did not
know, what he would not recognize, was that he, himself, had a demon. Eventually that demon would destroy him
but not before others were hurt.
It didn’t have to be that way!
He felt a desire to be changed in character and wanted to connect with Jesus but he did not come to the point of surrendering himself fully to Christ. He cultivated a disposition to criticize and accuse.
In the book, The Desire of Ages, pp.
716-722, Ellen White shares some insights about Judas. Of the one who betrayed Jesus she says, Judas had not always been corrupt enough to do such a deed. He had an insatiable appetite for money until it had become a ruling
motive of his life.
He felt a desire to be changed in character and wanted to connect with
Jesus but he did not come to the point of surrendering himself fully to Christ. He cultivated a disposition to criticize and accuse.
He looked upon his brethren as greatly inferior. He saw himself as the one with business
acumen . . . the one they really needed.
For Judas, material solutions were the logical solutions—not the kind
Jesus offered in His sermon regarding the bread of life.
Feeling highly qualified but unappreciated, he paid himself from the
meager funds gathered for the poor because of the time he spent in service for
Judas was dominated with
thoughts about himself—his perceived ethics, his ideas, his disappointments,
his hurts and his frustrations. His worldview was no bigger than himself. It was all about him! He had not learned to give of himself
or of his means without expecting something in return. In the end, the path Judas followed led
to his own destruction.
Dee Hock, founder and CEO of
the Visa credit card noted four character traits that can not only destroy
individuals but also take down organizations (Birth
of the Chaordic Age, p. 193). These four traits are:
1. Ego: A strong sense of
2. Envy: A feeling of
discontentment because of the possession, qualities, or luck experienced by others.
3. Greed/Avarice: This is manifested by an extreme greed for wealth or
4. Ambition: Characterized by a determination to achieve success or
possessions at any price.
The moral fiber of an individual matters if the company is to have an ethical culture”
Marianne Jennings, an attorney
who is internationally known for her work in the area of corporate ethics (The Seven Signs of Ethical
Collapse—How to Spot Moral Meltdowns in Companies Before It’s Too Late)
warns of a principle that, if neglected, can have a devastating impact on an
organization. That principle
simply stated is, “The moral fiber of an individual matters if the company is
to have an ethical culture” (p.135).
Decades before, Ellen White
presented a similar thought: “True Christian principle will not stop to weigh
consequences. It does not ask, ‘What will people think of me if I do this? Or
how will it affect my worldly prospects if I do that? With the most intense
longing the children of God desire to know what He would have them do, that
their works may glorify Him” (My
Life Today, p. 256).
A guiding ethical principle was
simply stated by Jesus in Matthew 7:12, “So in everything, do to others what
you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”