I work with a lot of belief systems. Virtually, every form of religion passes across my desk at one time or another.

 

In my business, people often try to dodge responsibility. It may not seem like a big deal in the moment but, in the long run, it will lead to problems.

When a company has tremendous debt, it is natural for many CEOs to want to pay his or her friends first. In the bankruptcy court, they call this “preferential payment.” All the rest of one’s creditors – the ones who are not getting paid – find this is very unfair.

There’s a sort of brilliance to dodging responsibility. When people don’t want to pay their bills, they can all cook up all sorts of reasons to push back payment responsibility.

 

What’s Religion Got To Do With It?

Recently, I was faced with one of the best reasons for not paying ever. I had just said to one of my beloved CEOs that instead of going on vacation with the family, it was much more important to stay focused on business. He looked at me with astonishment and cited numerous New Testament references promoting family values, good husbandry, and how all of this was bound by the word of Jesus Christ.

I stayed quiet. Although he had a mountain of bills, this man went on to say, “What would Jesus do?” I had to think about that for a while (I was brought up a Catholic) and the truth is, I really don’t know what Jesus would do. So I told him that.

I was met with Bible verse after Bible verse that would support my good man taking his vacation spending money he didn’t have and, of course, dodging the  responsibility of managing an insolvent company.

I applauded his presentation – it was clear and consistent. I found myself in a quandary. Although he was clearly using the Bible for his own (selfish) interests, how could I argue against the word of God, verse by verse? Suddenly, I had a brilliant idea. I remembered that Moses disobeyed God and had a rather rough time of it.

I said this to him, “If you had told me that Lazarus was dead, I would not think of bringing him back to life.  Nope, I would bury him. If I got bored floating along in a boat, I wouldn’t think of stepping out and walking across the water. Furthermore, if somebody gets sick with malaria, I’m definitely not the first person on the list one would call for a healing.

Finally, I absolutely knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I, Patrick Rettig, could never do what Jesus did, but I could do what Moses did. Moses was a man commanded by God and even when he made mistakes, he tried to get back on the straight and narrow with God. Moses kept walking for 40 years and he brought the Jews to the Promised Land. He was a man, just like me, and he had flaws, just like me, but in the end, he prevailed for his family and his people. He couldn’t walk on water, raise a body from the dead, or heal the sick. But, with God’s help, he caused a lot of damage to Egypt, and brought his people to the Promised Land.

 

Believing In Miracles

It’s pretty hard for me to argue when people clearly want to hurt themselves or their companies. If any of us could perform miracles, the first miracle many of us would perform would be to become cash positive.

We should use our belief systems to be strong, honorable and fair. The problem is that we don’t really know how to do that; so rather than look for loopholes from our responsibilities, it is best if we try to live our lives around examples that have been given to us by those who have succeeded before us. The stories of both Christ and Moses have sustained many people for thousands of years.

Perhaps, a better way to say it might be to think about what Jesus said and think about what Moses was commanded to do.

If you want to get out of trouble, do not excuse yourself from responsibility.

Do not use your faith as the source material to support failure.

My mother, Lorraine Rettig, died in July 2014 and somewhere up there I hope she is smiling that I remembered my Catechism lessons. Thanks Mom! All the private schooling worked – finally!