I have spent a lot of my time thinking about and studying what God has to say about business. This seemingly outlandish pursuit of mine has inspired me for over ten years. But, I continue to hit a wall. I am faced with a glaring question. Why should you care?
At this point, some context will help. I have come to appreciate that God deeply cares about His creation, including me and you, at a personal level. Think of God as a good father.
I make an effort to care about what my kids care about simply because I care about them. Right now a few of those things happen to be Pokémon cards, soccer, basketball, and lightsabers. Similarly, God cares about me and the things that I am passionate about. A core influencing factor in the true answer to this question is the version of God that you believe exists. I will fasten to the God that I know, travel down this road with me for a moment.
I have and continue to see God care for me in a personal, palpable and real sense for the last twenty years of my life. Go read the book of Acts in the bible. This is the God that I follow. One that is actively working with His kids to bring the good news to the earth. Dreams, visions, miracles, God's transformational love - I believe in all of it.
God's focus on us and our day to day efforts in this world is not an uncommon curiosity. But to take this question further, to ask God what he thinks about business, is to acknowledge that He does care about us. My interest in His thoughts on business was a natural evolution of my faith. This evolution is predicated on the fact that the same God that created the Universe, actually cares about me on a deep and personal level.
I don't know how many other people are built this way, but I come alive with adventure. Blame the models of my childhood, heroes found in Arthurian novels, Disney movies, and my father. It probably doesn't matter why, but at the end of the day, I love a good adventure. I like the risk associated with a seemingly impossible mountain to climb. I prefer the challenge of odds to overcome over an easy win. I simply remain attracted to adventure. Consequently, building and creating things in business naturally became my outlet for adventure as an adult.
So why should we care what God thinks about business?
This question is answered within the form of another question. This second question is abruptly less complicated as well as a sufficient intellectual umbrella that covers the first question. "Does God care about me?"
The answer to this question, unequivocally, is yes. If you can follow me at this fork of thought you will find the elusive why. "Why should we care" becomes "Does He care about me?" If the answer to this second part is yes, then the answer to the first becomes rhetorical. Only in this setting will we find any meaningful solution to our conundrum.
If God does care about me and if He does care about you then we kind of have a lot going for us. This is probably a laughable understatement - so I'll let you think for yourself on the implications of a God that truly and purely loves His creation as if they are His children. On the other side of this love, it becomes fairly easy to answer our question of why we should care if God thinks things about a business.
Businesses concern the people that He loves. Of course, he cares about the web of systems, problems, and solutions that make up the businesses interacting with His people. On the simplest level, a father helps his son finish a lego set even if it is only for the reward of the smile that lights up his face when it is finished. Things get more complicated of course. We can't give our kids every lego set they want. They will have more satisfaction if they mowed five neighborhood lawns to earn enough money for a lego set. Also, withholding aid regarding the location for that missing piece might be a great opportunity to teach perseverance and character. I think you get the picture. God is not only a father for us, but he is a good father. He works all things for my good. This is not dependent on me understanding what is best for me at the time.
God's participation in my passions in business has been obvious to me. All of God's interactions ('interactions' also sufficiently defined as miracles) within my business life have been mostly about the people around me. If this is true, does He even care about business or does He just care about the people within the business? Taking my previous argument in mind this question does not seem relevant to me. He does care about the people. To truly care about a person you care about their hopes, their dreams and what the efforts of their day are spent on. Therefore He cares about all of it.
Further thoughts on this subject become too diverse to answer in a single essay. If this is all true, then how does he interact with us in business? What are the implications on money, wealth and power? What about those that fail, and those that are hurt? How could he let me be robbed and cheated? What is the purpose of business integrated with faith? Does this change the way we should be practicing business?
At first, my next statement may seem like intellectual laziness, a copout. Track with me for a moment: God truly cares about you and the things you care about because he cares about you. Therefore, the most responsible stance that I can take at this point of the discussion is to abdicate the responsibility of the followup.
To answer my initial question for yourself. I invite you to ask God:
"Do you care about me?”
"Are you with me?" or "Can you be with me?”
Do this, wait for His answer, and I sincerely believe that you will come to the same conclusion that I have. After this, you will have a whole new set of questions. And that, my friends, is where the adventure begins.