In the early days of B4T, my friend Jakes Naudé from South Africa, had to leave his tailoring business in a country in the West and Central Asia region for a month to go home. He employed 15 local tailors from the city where his business was. The business, while profitable, focused on living out Biblical principles of, integrity, transparency, paying its taxes on time and in full, and caring deeply for its staff. Jakes had said to his employees from the outset “This business is God’s business. Some businesses have three values. We have 50 values”. Every week he focused on one Biblical value – integrity, kindness, love etc. Each time he discussed with the tailors how the business could demonstrate that value. Needless to say they watched his life carefully!
Jakes left Shahit, the head tailor, in charge of the business during his time at home in South Africa. Shahit did well in all respects but one. Early in the month the hard drive of the computer crashed. Shahit did what was normal for them in this region, he had the hard drive reformatted and had unlicensed Microsoft software installed.
When Jakes returned he complimented Shahit on how well he had run the business, but then had to raise the delicate issue of the pirated software. “Shahit, you know that this business is run under God’s blessing and guidance. Every morning I come into the office and I pray for you, for your hands, your eyes, your skills. I pray for your family. I pray for my family. I pray for every member of staff. I pray for every business order. This matter of the pirated software … I cannot come to God with dirty hands to pray and I feel we have dirty hands now….”.
Shahit stopped Jakes in mid-sentence – “Mr Jakes. Please stop. I want to say two things. Number one, I believe I have sinned.” Remember this is in a culture, which shifts blame onto others. “I knew you would not want me to use pirated software, but I did it anyway.” He went on “Number two, I take full responsibility for that software and will pay for its replacement with licensed software.” It would take two months’ salary to do that. Jakes sat with him and worked out a way for him to pay over one year and then said, “Shahit, let us pray to God for forgiveness”. They held their hands out to God and told him of their sin and what they had done to put it right.
Three days later an email arrived from Switzerland with the biggest order the company had ever had. Jakes called Shahit into his office. “Shahit, God does not promise to reward us every time we do something right. However he does honour us when we try to do his will”. He handed the email to Shahit who read it and started to cry like a baby.” He asked for a copy of the Holy Injil (New Testament) that day and began to read it. Jakes believes that one day Shahit will meet Jesus and will immediately recognise him from the principles he has practised in this Kingdom Company.
B4T works!! It does transform! Social, spiritual, economic and environmental transformation are underway through small and medium sized Kingdom enterprises.