Monday, December 09, 2013

Business on the Up!

The Retail Think Tank produced this on-line report about the health of the UK’s retail business. 

“The health of UK retail has shown some signs of improvement over the past quarter and the outlook is looking more encouraging than it has done for some time, particularly as the nation heads into the Christmas season feeling better about itself.  

Following its quarterly meeting in October, the KPMG/Ipsos Retail Think Tank (RTT) upgraded its Retail Health Index to 79 and its panel of retail experts forecasted that this could improve to 81 in quarter four.  This would not only mark the highest level since Quarter Three 2011, but the strongest quarter-on-quarter leap for four years. 

Two of the three key drivers of retail health – demand and margin - were more positive in quarter three than in the previous quarter, and cost factors over the period were largely neutral. It is the first time for three years that both demand and margins have contributed positively to the improvement of retail health….The RTT predicts an even more promising outlook for UK retail over the next quarter, not only because it’s the Christmas trading period; consumer confidence appears to be on the increase, the housing market is more buoyant and economic conditions are generally improving.   

One important consequence, the RTT believes, is that as people become less nervous at losing their jobs and interest rates remain low, they are less intent on saving and becoming more comfortable to spend. And if people do start shopping more, they may be inclined to ‘trade up’ to premium goods, particularly over Christmas.”

The UK’s economy having experienced a double-dip recession plunged many a business into an unhealthy state, so this news from the RTT will put some colour back into the cheeks of boardroom members, and brighten the eyes of their shareholders.

People generally are feeling upbeat about their job security and prospects and are more confident to spend some of their disposable income instead of saving it for a time of possible unemployment.
The construction industry is often first to feel the effects of recession and last to benefit from any recovery, so it is good to hear that business is on the up in that sector with contracts being placed that previously had been put on hold until better days.
Jesus told a parable about a farmer whose business was on the up. Luke 12:16 reads, “The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:  And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”  

His business plan would have pleased any bank-manager; he was an expansionist and was prepared to invest his potential profits in building new bigger barns. The man may have been good with numbers but he made the great error of neglecting No.1. Many years ago when I was trading as a small jobbing builder, I was a bit run-down and consulted my doctor. He advised me to ease up, saying, “You are your most important asset in your business”. I never forgot that! In my case it was physical and temporary, but in the farmers case it was terminal and spiritual, it concerned his soul.

There is a great danger in making provision for the body and neglecting the soul, the body is not permanent but the soul is.  The big question is - Where will one’s soul be in eternity? A bank-manager might have considered the farmer’s business plan as prudent, but the Lord said that he was a fool to go after the transitory material things at the expense of his soul’s eternal need. What about you my dear reader? A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. ‘To lose one’s wealth is much, to lose one’s health is more, to lose one’s soul in Hell is such that nothing can restore.’

When Christ was born, the Inn Keeper at Bethlehem must have thought that his business was on the up when Caesar commissioned a census and taxation of everyone in the known world. It meant for him that Bethlehem would be inundated with people needing accommodation, and he was right. When the time came every room in his establishment was booked solid, business was booming. To be confronted by a young couple seeking a room, and her being heavily pregnant was something he could do without. There was no consideration on his part about Mary’s condition, no compassion to move him to offer his room for the birth of the Son of God. 

One might say that he did not know, he was ignorant about Micah 5:2, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”  

The Inn Keeper missed his opportunity to be involved in the birth of Jesus, for him, the outside place of a stable would be his level of interest in this amazing event of the incarnation of the Son of God.

In 1878 Daniel Whittle adapted the hymn, ‘Have you any room for Jesus’, one verse reads 

Room for pleasure, room for business, 
But for Christ the crucified, 
Not a place that He could enter, 
In the Heart for which He died.

The busyness of business, whether on the up, or on the down, can rob a person of the most important decision that a person has to face, that of, what shall I do with Jesus which is called the Christ?

Why not put the Lord in the first place in your life this Christmas, no longer outside but inside directing the future path of your life, and say with Paul, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”. 

The life will be altogether on the up!

Written by a Guest Blogger for FTMP.

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