The spirituality of enterprise – 1

Why did you seek me? Did you not know that I must be                                           about My Father’s business? – Luke 2:49

Whenever people hear the name of our church THE BUSINESS CHURCH, I see them give all kinds of ominous looks ranging from the incredulous to the downright astonished, even from supposedly strong Bible believers.

“Seriously? How on earth do you call a church that? Is business all you teach there? Do you teach people how to buy and sell stuff?”, the curious but cynical ones ask.

“What kind of church is that? The world is indeed coming to an end soon just as Christ foretold”, the less discreet ones opine.

A few go ahead and ask to be educated and I oblige them quoting the scripture above which came straight from the mouth of Jesus Christ after His earthly parents eventually found Him a few days after they lost contact with Him on their way back from the temple in Jerusalem where they had all gone to worship. He was then twelve. They eventually found Him in the midst of the temple elders asking probing questions. When they told Him about their worry over His safety, His answer was direct, “Why are you looking for me? Don’t you know I must be minding my Father’s business?” By “Father” here, He meant God, not Joseph.

What commodity or product was Jesus selling here? Was He attending an MBA class in the temple? Was He listening to the elders explain their next business strategies or discuss an intended investment? Not in the least. He was referring to the assignment of God in his life as business.

What is business? It is any person or group of people offering a specialized service that meets the need of people (customers) enough for them (the customers) to exchange a value for such service. EVERYBODY (including you) who works for any form of compensation, call it payment or salary, is in business! The difference in remuneration is a function of how significant or relevant our service or product is, the caliber of people who need it and their capacity to pay commensurate value, our capacity for access as well as whether we are able to communicate or connect it to the appropriate end-user.

Business originated from the heart of the divine. As a Christian, I subscribe to the biblical account of creation. I see the foundation for gainful enterprise laid in Genesis 1 and 2. Everything that God desired to create was first created in potential form or as a prototype or seed from which the desired fruit or dividend would come. One seed of orange, when sowed (read “invested”), would in time become a tree that produces fruits that have seeds that continue, if sowed, to replicate the process until you have an entire orchard or orchards!

God didn’t speak the over seven billion people on earth today into being in one fell swoop. He created one man, Adam, and inside that man was the seed to reproduce himself over and over again with each fruit he produced carrying the same inherent capacity for reproduction, a process that has, over several millennia, continued to give the investor (God) dividends of an increase in population.

Great business is about connections. Nothing in creation is capable of adding significant and profitable value to itself alone. Everything that will appreciate in value must connect with something else. Adam could not birth children all by himself even though he carried the seed in him. He needed a ‘soil’ with the right conditions with which to connect the seed to be nurtured for a season before a child is produced. At that point, Eve became the necessary connection. Everything in creation has the inherent capacity to solve a problem for something or someone else in creation, its profitability and increase as well as legitimacy for existence and continued preservation come from performing that role effectively and in real time.

The whole of creation follows this pattern and is sustained through an enduring process of symbiosis that treats parasites and hermitic living with disdain. When anyone wants to make profit off the system without contributing any value, he has to resort to violence or criminality to do it. When society gets hold of him, he gets his just dessert through a jail term or other forms of deterrent treatment. It is the reason we diligently root out weeds from our fields in order to allow the plants we consider of value to grow.

The entire salvation saga follows this pattern. The coming of Jesus was a business transaction. No wonder He himself saw it as such. God the Father wanted sons and daughters, a family on earth. He invested one Son. That Son gave significant value (His very life) to redeem man out of the predicament of slavery to sin and satan in which he (man) found himself as a result of Adam’s sin. Putting this significant value in the open with an invitation to everyone (read “market”), whosoever sees the relevance of this value and willingly subscribes to it is said to have given his life to Christ. In contemporary parlance, he is now a “customer” of God and His value proposition!

True enterprise is tied to solving problems through meaningful contribution. Profit is its reward. The spirituality of enterprise is not tied to a religion. Those who understand its principles and how they work will always gladden God’s heart because they keep creation going and progressing irrespective of their religious persuasion. I have stayed in church and around church folk long enough to know that wealth is not a function of how much you pray or can quote scriptures. Far too many people who do both round the clock are employed by those they call “unbelievers” but who are cognizant of and operate the principles of advocacy and problem-solving as God’s instrument for blessing humanity with an abundance of resources.

God loves entrepreneurs because they fuel the creative enterprise. They are always addressing human dilemmas with appropriate solutions that make them go beyond the mundane in their thinking process. That is how ideas are born. That is what sparks the spirit of enterprise. Value is added to what is already in creation through the connectivity that the ideas engender between existing elements in creation and between people and environments required for inseminating, incubating, nurturing and growing the idea. When the idea is birthed and flourishes, jobs are created, more people are made happy, economic problems are solved along the relevant value chain as a result of more businesses being created along the chain. More lives are positively transformed than if the entrepreneur had simply given a lump sum to a charity that caters to people whose only contribution to society is making those who have feel guilty for the predicament of those who don’t! This is what we have wrongly labelled philanthropy!

A business transaction involves an exchange of value. It is a spiritual exercise. This is why animals don’t do it. Exchange happens only after two or more individuals involved in the process actually exercise their will to make it happen….continued

 

Remember, the sky is not your limit, God is!

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