We began this discussion with the question of why Christians seem to have so much discomfort about making money. This is especially disturbing when business owners who love Jesus are infected with unbiblical views on money and profit that produce guilt, frustration and bondage. Thankfully, as in all things “the truth will set you free.” It does in this case. In this conclusion, I want to return to a couple of key points and make several specific suggestions for action.
Two Foundational Realities
The first is this: All the institutions of God preceded the fall. Family, government, academia and enterprise were in the original creation and therefore good and honorable and holy. Moreover, they all have as their ultimate purpose the glory of God.
However, there is also a specific purpose for each that we often overlook. Just as the purpose of the sun is to light and warm the earth and the purpose of water is to hydrate the earth and its creatures, so each institution has a role assigned by our infinitely wise Designer.
Family exists for procreation. It is God’s chosen means of populating the earth. Government is God’s earthly means of administering justice among men (cf. Romans 13). And academia is the means of exploring God’s incredible creation and subduing to bringing it into subservience to humanity.
So what about business? It is the engine of wealth creation for God’s created society. It is the profitability of enterprise that is meant to enable the payment of wages, the development of technology, the investment in other institutions, and the enrichment of society in general. Thus to fear profit or cast doubt as to its validity is tantamount to fearing having children, having laws, and learning.
The second foundational reality is this: like all of creation and God’s divine institutions, business has been affected by sin. Greed, corruption, selfishness, exploitation all exist within business just as they do in family, government and academia. The institution stands in need of redemption and restoration.
Thus we can say that business is good thing from God in need of redemption and that profits, the fruit of a well run business, are legitimate and good as well and are to be used according to kingdom principles.
Three Applications or Suggestions
First, let’s continue the discussion on the wisest and best uses of profit without killing the goose that lays the golden egg. Many a Christian has condemned or looked in suspicion on successful businessmen while decrying the lack of funding for their pet ministries. This is divisive and is driving committed business people to find their fellowship and service outside the traditional church.
Second, if you are in business commit yourself to maximizing the profitability of your business while running your business in a godly manner. Profit gained by compromise or dishonesty is not actually profit at all; it is booty.
Finally, let us all re-engage a spirit of massive generosity, giving to those in need knowing that we can never outgive God. Only let us be discerning where and to whom we give. Not every charity is worthwhile or strategic.
I hope this short series has encouraged and challenged you. Business without profit is not business. Mushy socialist sympathies will not bring kingdom blessing to your community or the global village in which we live. Business, embraced and administered under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, on the other hand has and will.