The Morality of Business
September 21, 2009
The Morality of Business
Does business = greed? – I was talking to a good friend a few days ago and sharing about day trading. He asked a simple question, “When you make money on a trade, isn’t someone else losing money?” I fumbled for an answer and suggested we were probably taking some of George Soros’ money and that the US was printing plenty of extra money for us to make anyway. I vainly tried to “humor” away a legitimate response.
We addressed this question in Releasing Kings, chapter 17. There is a belief that “the resource pie is fixed.” In other words, if you use too much oil, or electricity, or make too much money, someone else will have less. Although we need to be good stewards of our resources, the real truth is that God is the source of wealth and resources and He has enough for everyone. Did you know that if all the money in the world was divided by the number of people the in the world, we would each have $7M? Do you understand why you do not yet have your share?
Back to my friends question: When a company posts a job for one new employee and you get the job, that means other applications are rejected. Does that mean you should never apply for a job? Colleges have entrance exams to limit enrollment to their ability to handle a specific number of students. If you pass the exam and gain entrance, a spot is taken that someone else could have gotten. Does that mean you should never apply to college?
As I thought through this issue, I realized I was still carrying a poverty mentality in this area. Competition isn’t a bad thing, neither is being entrepreneurial. In fact, you are really in a position to help others only when you succeed yourself. The concept that the resource pie is fixed and “more for me means less for you” is the primary ingredient in socialism and communism and poverty. It is always the justification for more government control. It also perpetuates poverty because welfare is one of the root causes of a “victimized” mindset. People place their expectations on government instead of exercising faith in God.
And the answer is? – There are answers to the national problems we face in every mountain. The goal of the government mountain is to release Kings; to facilitate entrepreneurial genius instead of trying to provide it. Government bureaucracies are famous world-wide for inefficiency because they are staffed with servants instead of Kings. We do have many examples of wonderful elected officials. However, they are all great for the same reason – They enabled people to provide for themselves. They set people free to meet their own needs, to create their own inventions, to own their own land, and to pursue their own vision.
The morality of business – Adding value to the lives of people by providing something they need is the crux of ministry. Wealth is the natural result of the wisdom it takes to come up with those entrepreneurial ideas. The process of gaining wisdom that produces wealth to enable ministry is simply discipleship. It’s a process that the Christian community has not emphasized – we have generally not wanted to soil our hands with filthy lucre! Instead, we need to celebrate believers that “know how” to obtain wealth and convert it to ministry (wisdom). Their business models often “minister” in ways we don’t consider ministry. People all over the world that receive this newsletter are blessed by Bill Gates’ software – I think he deserves some wealth!
The wealth of the wise is their crown… Prov 14:24 NIV
To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. Eccl 2:26 NIV
Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Prov 3:13-16 NIV
Why Jewish people prosper – They simply have a theology that supports prosperity. While theologians lived off the offerings of the masses and debated the sin of usury, Jewish businessmen were happy to open banks and loan other people money to start their businesses. They deemed the banking industry to be an honorable and moral service to their communities – a ministry. They understood that it was a curse to be the borrower and not the lender. They understood the value of interest and the wisdom of investing in other people.
He will lend to you, but you will not lend to him. He will be the head, but you will be the tail. Deut 28:44 NIV
While Christians considered the merits of humility and service, the Jewish people felt totally free to become famous and influential. There understood honor was the blessing of God and that it was His purpose to make their name great and their nation great. Jewish people are very popular in the entertainment field… because their theological roots free them to be that way.
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Gen 12:2-3 NIV
The emphasis on prophetic revelation and miracles in modern Christianity naturally leads to the concept of living by faith for miraculous provisions. The Jewish mindset is more balanced and more Biblical. They understand wealth is more often the result of wisdom and work. They would more naturally seek wisdom and opportunities than pray for money. Living in expectation that our financial needs will be met by a miracle (wealth transfer) is a sure formula for poverty.
Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for — both riches and honor — so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 1 Kings 3:13-14 NIV
Note: I’m enjoying Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. The first chapter provides a great explanation of why Jewish people prosper. Fascinating – because it exposes some of the unbiblical poverty in our theology.
John and Sue www.Releasing-kings.com
PS: I want to recommend some follow-up reading.
Who is God by Harold Eberle provides the best explanation of a more relational view of God. It’s must reading that connects our perception of God with everyday life.
Releasing Kings for Ministry in the Marketplace takes that foundation into marketplace ministry and the entrepreneurial nature of Kings. Fruit in the marketplace naturally springs out of sound doctrine.
Desire to Destiny – Takes the foundation and marketplace ministry and puts them in the context of seven practical keys or stages of growth you can apply in your own life.
You’re invited into the vision to release Kings; communicate the message, make the money, and do the mission.
- The Message – Our first goal is to get the Releasing Kings message into the hands of the messengers that will carry it… do it, preach it, teach it, example it.
- The Money – The second goal is to help Kings break out of poverty by networking them with practical opportunities to prosper. We want to introduce them to the right people, the right opportunity, and the right financial approach.
- The Mission – Network Kings with opportunities to mix business and missions. Accomplish the great commission through the marketplace.
You can get your copy of Releasing Kings for Ministry in the Marketplace or Desire to Destiny at