Will Christian Entrepreneurs Squeeze Through?

by Brad Harmon on October 15, 2009 in Entrepreneurs

Will Christian Entrepreneurs Squeeze Through? | marketplace christianity

Should Christian entrepreneurs be concerned with making a profit and generating wealth?  It’s the question we left unanswered from Is Making a Profit Sin? yesterday.  We brought out the “big gun” verses – those passages in the Bible most negative on the subject.  If you’re still standing – that’s good.

Hopefully, that means you understand and appreciate the warnings from those passages yet still have a desire in your heart to be an entrepreneur.  Okay, but why?  Why are you willing to risk it all?

It’s a Tight Squeeze

Maybe you really don’t understand what is at risk after all?  Maybe Christ illustrates the dangers of wealth best in this passage.

23Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. (Matthew 19:23-24, King James Version)

Now that’s a tight squeeze!  I would hate to be that camel!  So is this it?  If you become wealthy then you can’t enter heaven?   Notice that Christ didn’t say it was impossible, but that it is hard.

A Needle By Another Name?

This is why some believe that the needle He referred to was a night entrance gate into the city called “the needle.”  It was much smaller than the normal gates and a camel would need to be unburdened of its load to fit through this gate.

Imagine it.  Your caravan pulls up to the city during the night after a long journey and the main gates are closed.  If you want to enter you will have to unload your camels, lead the camels through the gate, unpack the cargo, carry the cargo through the gate, repack the cargo, and then reload the camels.

This could easily take hours, and by then it would be daylight and the main gates would be open.  Rather than enter in at the small gate, wouldn’t you just camp outside and wait?

Critics point out that there is no evidence for the smaller gate being called “the needle,” and that the disciples would not have reacted surprised had it simply been a gate nor would Christ have said that “with men this is impossible.”

Christian Entrepreneurs Must Be Willing to Lose It All

Backing up just a little, Christ had been talking with a rich young man answering his question on what he needed to do to gain eternal life.  Interestingly, Christ did not refute the man’s claim that he had kept all the commandments, but He went straight to the heart of the matter.

21Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. (Matthew 19:21, King James Version)

Sadly, the young man turned and walked away “because he had great wealth.”  He’d laid up all his treasure on earth along with his heart.  He wasn’t willing to unburden his camel so that it’d fit through the small gate and he could enter in.  Perhaps, it is this “perfect” young man turning away that caused the disciples’ reaction.

Christ didn’t say that the rich man entering the kingdom of God was impossible for man, but rather that salvation is impossible for man to earn.  It is through God that all things are possible – especially salvation.

Christian Entrepreneurs Receive a Higher ROI

Peter asked Christ, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”   Christ told him that he “will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.”  Wow, what a return!  God never asks you to give up something that He is not willing to pay back to you many times over.

We must be willing to make that investment though when He calls for it. The distinction of being a Christian entrepreneur is that we accept our roles as mere stewards of what God has put us over, and because of this, we act in accordance with His will as we operate our business.

Being a Christian Entrepreneur is a Calling

Paul taught us that we are all members of one body.  It makes sense, therefore, that part of this body is comprised of Christian business men and women who generate wealth that is used for His purposes.

The Bible is filled with Christian entrepreneurs who used their wealth for God.  They are instrumental in God’s plans and yet their roles in fulfilling His will are all too often glossed over while their faults are highlighted like front page news.

Where would they have put Christ’s body if it weren’t for a wealthy merchant named Joseph?  Where would the church at Philippi be without Lydia, the seller of purple?   Where would Christ have had the last supper had it not been for the unnamed man who lent his home and prepared the dinner?

In fact, I challenge you to list both the poor and the rich in the Bible and see how many more wealthy people there are on your list and how much their contributions mattered.

The Few, the Proud, the Christian Entrepreneurs

This calling is not for everyone.  It is more than just having good intentions.   It is more than just tithing or helping the poor.

It takes special people to be able to risk walking down the road to wealth without succumbing to it.  To have at your disposal resources that could bless you or bless someone else and be able to discern their appropriate use.

So my answer is yes, Christian entrepreneurs should be concerned with making profits and generating wealth if that is their calling.  But first, and always first, they must seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness knowing that:

48For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:48b, King James Version)

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

monetizemylife October 24, 2009 at 11:06 pm

Hello again Brad,

Love this post. Again I have some thoughts to add.

As a young man (12 years old to be exact), I knew that someday I would be wealthy. I knew it, I still know it. It's never been a question in my mind. I just know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God's plan for my life is great wealth.

I'm not there yet, because God has so much to teach me. I needed to know what poverty felt like. I needed to know how to trust God completely for everything… including my next meal and the money for the bills. I've been there… and yet I still know that His plan for me is to generate great wealth.

You see when I was a child, reading the scriptures and listening to the men and women who's faith I admired tell stories of God providing for them I noticed something very very common. Almost every story that I've ever heard of God providing for someone who was in great need included another of God's children who was the vehicle for that blessing. I knew that someday I was to be one of those vehicles. God uses people to bless other people. He does it all the time.

I wanted sooo badly to be one of those people. It became a very intense desire in my life and I've since learned through my study of scripture that God is the author of desire and passion. You see passionate people make huge impacts on our world. Passion connects people. Connected people have relationships. The greater the relationship, the greater the influence. Greater influence allows the Gospel an open door into someones heart.

I believe that being a passionate entrepreneur will allow me both to connect with and influence other entrepreneurs and hopefully make an impact someone's life towards Christ… but that in my passionate pursuit of desires God's laid on my heart, that I'll be blessed greatly and thus be able to give back greatly.

Reply

Brad Harmon October 24, 2009 at 11:54 pm

Richard,

Only you can know the calling God has placed on your heart. I do strongly believe that it is a calling, and it is what I was alluding to with my reply to your comments to part one of this post.

We all have vocations that God uses to provide for our needs. Some of those are even to be a small business owner as a self-employed individual. Being a Christian entrepreneur though goes so far past that.

If this is what God has called you to do then I pray that he will grant you the patience, wisdom, and resources to be successful.

Brad

Reply

corriehowe November 8, 2009 at 5:06 pm

I think about the Proverbs 31 woman as well. As you read through the description of this noble woman, you can see she has wealth and her own business as well. Another is a woman Elisha stayed with when he came through town.

I agree with all your points in your post. Thanks.

Reply

Brad Harmon November 8, 2009 at 7:54 pm

Corrie,

There are many great examples of entrepreneurs in the Bible. Some of these are women who I don't think have always got the credit they deserve.

Brad

Reply

Michael January 16, 2012 at 7:32 am

Ok so here is the question.
Thou shall not lie.
In this scenario there is not a blatant lie, but profiting off of another’s lack of knowledge.
In a competitive market where you are selling the same product for more money – is that a sin?
It seems that you would be taking advantage of peoples lack of knowledge.
What does that do to your Christian witness when they find out?

Reply

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