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Christian Business Wisdom Seekers

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1 Business and the Bible

I was asked recently or rather told: “Yes. I feel the Bible does not encourage any of us to get into business, in fact, I believe it warns us against it. I would show up for a discussion on that.” I posted that I would address that question at our next meeting, and I am not sure if the person attended but here are my thoughts on the topic.

Recently, Bill English, founder of Bible and Business, was being interviewed on Faith Radio and noted that all ministry – churches, colleges, para-church organization and so forth – all of them depend on profitable businesses. In our system of laws and economies, none of them could survive without funding and all funding ultimately comes from profitable businesses.

But is this coming through our lens or the lens of the bible? What does our guiding light say?

 

 

  1. Deuteronomy 8:18 NIV But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.

 

Our father in heaven gave us the skills and talents that we use in our businesses. He expects us the honour these gifts and honour Him by doing the best we can in all that we do. We used to be a hunter/gather society, which then moved to agrarian where everyone worked together and shared the bounty. Expansion happened and inequities of effort were perceived so in order to balance the scales money was invented as early as 5,000 BC. As larger gatherings of people evolved and rulers rose who needed taxes to build their empires a new class of people emerged – merchants and traders. It is said that the world turns on money but in fact, it turns on business and trade.

 

 

  1. 1 Peter 4:10 NIV Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

 

You should think of your business as a service to others first. Making money will come. It is written in the bible that we shall be known by what we do. This is so key in our business dealing, in fact, in how we handle ourselves and treat others all the time.

 

 

  1. Proverbs 31:13-17
    1. She seeks wool and flax and works with willing hands.

    14 She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.

    15 She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.

    16 She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

    17 She dresses herself[b] with strength and makes her arms strong.

         18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.

     19 She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.

     20 She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.

            21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.[c]

     22 She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.

     23 Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.

     24 She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.

These are the qualities of a good woman in the times of Solomon. It sure sounds to me that she is an entrepreneur. It also shows me a fantastic set of guidelines for all people in business. All people in life.

Entrepreneurship is a creative act made possible by the creative impulse that God gave us. Scripture contains several cases of entrepreneurs.

 

Abraham

We know from Genesis 13 that Abram was very wealthy in livestock, gold, and silver. Beyond his wealth, Abram was an entrepreneur. The evidence for this is in Genesis 13, when Abram and Lot separate and Lot chooses to go to the fertile plain. This was an area favorably compared to the Garden of Eden. Presumably, Abram got a less attractive, less fertile area, yet he continued to prosper. Lot’s material and spiritual condition both deteriorated due to his choice. He started out as wealthy as his uncle Abram but ended up living in cave (Genesis 19).

 

Solomon

Solomon was unique among Jewish kings, as he seems to be the only one to have seen and profited from the geographical advantage of his kingdom.

The Bible tells us Solomon was extremely wealthy, but he had to create his fortune, as much of it did not exist before (I Kings 3, 4:26). Solomon generated wealth by bringing peace to the kingdom, which allowed him to use his resources for production, rather than protection. In addition, he encouraged trade and was the only Jewish king with a trading fleet (1 Kings 9).

 

Lydia of Thyratira

Lydia, a dealer of purple cloth in Thyratira, is largely an unknown figure, and we must be careful not to read more than we know into her story.

 

What we do know is that Roman women could own property and conduct business. We also know that Thyratira was a center for dying cloth, especially purple. Thus, Lydia may not have been a pioneer or entrepreneur in her profession, but she certainly was in her personal life.

We know that several of the apostles ran a fishing business, and Matthew’s tax collecting was a private independent business in those days. In addition, the apostle Paul made tents, Luke practiced medicine, and less-discussed believers operated businesses as well.

Jesus and Joseph

There is every evidence from Scripture that, before He began His ministry, Jesus was employed as a carpenter. His earthly father, Joseph, was also a carpenter, which means that Jesus was likely His father’s apprentice. It is bizarre to think that God Incarnate was taught to build things by a human man, but it seems that in this, as in all other aspects of His earthly life, Jesus submitted Himself to the humility of being fully human (Philippians 2:6–8).

 

People called Jesus a carpenter (Mark 6:3), and He was known as a carpenter’s son (Matthew 13:55). There is some evidence that the Greek word used for “carpenter” (tekton) could also be translated more broadly as “artisan,” “contractor,” or “handyman.” It is possible, therefore, that Jesus and Joseph were the sort of men you call when something needs to be fixed—be it made of wood, stone, or something else.

 

Theology and Stewardship:

God created business for His glory. It really is all about Him.

God calls some to own businesses.

Your business is an entrustment from the Lord, to be used for His glory and the benefit of His kingdom.

A violation of God’s commandments in business and in life will harm your business.

Your profits belong to God, not you

The more you integrate your faith into your business, the more Satan will oppose you.

The truth is never the problem

Profits are important, especially if used for good.

God Bless

Chuck

 

 

Chuck Groot is an author, speaker, teacher. His love of God has spanned over 6 decades and he finds the more he studies the Bible, the less he knows, the more he succeeds the more dependant on God he becomes, and that there is nothing outside of loving God our Father and being loved in return.

I would really like your opinions and thoughts, please share them in the comments section below. Also, if you liked the article please share it.

 

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