Prophets or Profits – Those of us in the prophetic movement usually associate revelation of coming events with an inside track that results in God’s favor. We hear testimonies of God revealing special information about the future that resulted in making a great business decision. Surprisingly the opposite is often true in real life because we don’t fully understand the nature of prophecy. Consider this.
A Brief History – Prophetic gifts came to our generation through the charismatic movement – a grassroots renewal during the 60’s and 70’s. Prophecy became prevalent in charismatic churches in the 80’s and continues today. We learned how to receive prophetic words or insights for our own lives and how to share them if they were for other people. It’s a tremendous blessing, and most of us function in some level of prophetic anointing, thanks to our roots in the charismatic movement.
Prophetic predestination – Here’s the problem. We all share a theological heritage that is a little biased toward a belief that God controls all the future at a significant level of detail (Calvinistic predestination). Our assumption that God knows and controls the future, causes us to also believe that prophetic gifts can be used to predict the future. If we believe God has pre-determined the future, the logical next step is that we’ll view prophecy as predictive foreknowledge of future events. That’s where we get off-track. God has predicted key future events through prophetic gifts on numerous occasions. Jesus coming to earth, events in the history of Israel, and Jesus’ return are some notable examples. Our question is not whether God can use the prophetic to predict His own intervention in the normal course of events. He obviously can intervene whenever He wants to! The question is: does He do it all the time? Does he do it for you and me in our businesses? The answer, I think, is no. See if you agree.
We’re not robots – The open view of God holds that although God can miraculously intervene in future events, His normal course is to use anointed people that share His heart to establish His will on earth. As Kings in the marketplace, we are responsible to shape the future in the direction of God’s purposes. I may use my prophetic gifts to get a clear sense of God’s general direction. However, I won’t get enough detail to make business decisions this way. The more appropriate gift for making day to day business decisions is wisdom. Wisdom implies: 1) making decisions using the brain God gave me, 2) writing a business plan, 3) tracking my cash flow, and 4) getting the counsel of experienced business people. It’s more work than relying on a prophetic word… but a lot more profitable. And it is the way God intends us to succeed.
Too Spiritual for our own good – The failure scenario I see too often is a result of misusing the prophetic. A novice starts a business or investment initiative based on a prophetic unction (which may well have been from God). However, instead of doing his homework to manage the business wisely, he tries to make each decision with prayer and a prophetic unction and stretches the correct use of the prophetic beyond the Biblical guidelines of edification, exhortation and comfort (1Cor 14:3). He is absolutely convinced that God has called him to be a success and will protect him from failure and has Bible verses to prove it. When things go wrong they add fervent prayer, spiritual warfare, and fasting… all in the absence of more practical things like a cash flow assessment, market research, customer service, and sound advice. They are prone to resist help from experienced business people because they lack faith or are less prophetic or are simply trying to reign in a really dumb idea that our novice can’t let go of. The result is inevitable bankruptcy and failure. An imbalanced theological position leaves our novice extrapolating the prophetic into an emotional realm which results in a mild form of deception and a bad case of poverty. This sequence can take years to unfold and more years to recover from. We usually don’t live long enough to survive too many bankruptcies… especially when they occur late in life. A financial failure is a sure way to see your ministry dreams left on the sidelines.
Times and Seasons – There is a very healthy prophetic call from the Holy Spirit that is tugging on the hearts of God’s people to become more entrepreneurial and prosperous and positioned for missions. However, it’s not a license to become lazy and expect God to tell you prophetically how to manage your life and business. The practical wisdom needed to be successful in the marketplace is just as important as the prophetic unction that motivated us to start down that path. The prophetic unction moves our hearts toward a vision to be Kingly, but wisdom and work are the bridge to prosperity.
We need to be both prophetic and wise. Prophetic so we work on the right thing and understand the times and seasons, and wise so that our initiatives can prosper and bear fruit. One without the other doesn’t work. If we’re wise, but not prophetic, we’ll be successful at the wrong thing and feel empty. If we’re prophetic but not wise, we’ll try to do what the Father is doing but we’ll do it poorly and from a position of poverty.
PS on Getting help – Remember, when you go shopping for Kingly mentoring or coaching, make sure the guidance you get is from someone who is already prosperous. If their income is from offerings, they won’t have the roadmap for the kind of help you need. If they haven’t learned how to multiply finances themselves, they won’t be able to teach you.
Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him. 13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. 14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. Gen 26:12-14 NIV
Life is an adventure. People are a blessing. God is amazing. We’re winning.