Saturday, July 18, 2009

Regulating Business

For the last five years you’ve worked extra hours and lived beyond your means so you can stop working for someone else and start working for yourself. You’ve come in early, stayed late, worked through breaks, and skipped vacations. You’ve stayed home and played cards and vacationed at the local state park instead of buying a home entertainment system and going to the movies or Disney World. You’ve bought the house brands and the cheap meats instead of the designer foods and prime cuts. You’ve made the house paint and the car last longer than the salesmen promised they would. You’ve put the money you didn’t spend into the safest interest- and dividend-bearing accounts you could find, even if they didn’t yield as much as the riskier ones. You’ve spent time surveying the market and giving samples of your work to potential customers at a steep discount or even for free.

And now you’re ready to set up shop. You’ve put down a lease on a building. You’ve bought the best equipment available for your core activities and the best you could afford for the rest, the inventory you need to serve your customers, and the advertising you need to attract new customers. And you’ve hired workers. In the space of a few weeks, the money you spent five years accumulating is gone.

If your business fails, you might be able to sell your equipment for enough to pay off the loans. and if it succeeds, you’ll be working no fewer hours for no more money than you were as an employee. You’ve asked no favors from anyone and essentially bet your life that you can satisfy your customers better than anyone else out there.

At this point, someone who doesn’t know your name, who doesn’t care how much work you’ve put in or whether you stay in business, whose life will be unaffected by your success or failure, steps in and wants to tell you who will and will not be your customers, what you will and won’t sell to them, what you may charge, whom you may hire and what you may require from them, how much you will pay them, how your facilities will be laid out, and—the list is endless.

Every time he issues an order, it costs you time and money not only to comply but to prove to him that you have complied, and if he lodges an accusation with the authorities, you are considered guilty unless you can prove your innocence. Remember, this person isn’t responding to complaints by employees, customers, or neighbors, he’s simply enforcing regulations—“just following orders.”

If you knew nothing about Jesus and this regulator were to tell you he was placing this load on you in Jesus’ name, would you want to know more about this Jesus?

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