We have a passion for unreached people groups here at The Stone Table. Three billion people around the world have no adequate witness of the Gospel, and a major portion of our mission investment is aimed at proclaiming Jesus and planting the Church in these unreached places.
We are passionate about missions efforts that use business and entrepreneurial development as a church planting mechanism in places where traditional methods just don’t work. We call this BAM (business as mission). On occasion, we will share stories of some of these BAM practitioners. Today’s author joins us from Bamedu.com, this individual serves as a practitioner in a closed country. Names and specific locations have been changed or masked to protect all involved.
What’s your view on making money?
When we first started our business, a man called up our US office as a potential customer. He was interested in one of our higher priced items and was asking a few questions. One of our sales team employees started to tell the client that they didn’t really need the high level product but would be better off just going with the normal middle of the line product.
In business, we talk about upselling the client, which basically means trying to increase the amount they purchase by cross selling additional products and services. This sales representative was doing the opposite – down selling.
When I stepped back to look at why this was happening, I realized that we had all come out of traditional missionary work. We wanted to save the clients as much money as possible. We were not approaching the business to make money, but rather to save our customers money.
Was that good for our business?
For some people, a foundational principle that they have never dealt with is the area of making money.
Many “missionaries” have never wrestled through the idea of making money. For some, deep inside their nature is the idea that making money is wrong. For others, they may see making money as fine, but wanting to make too much money is not.
I believe the Bible is very clear:
The LOVE of money is the root of all evil. (I Tim. 6:10)
It is not money or earning money, but the love of money that is the problem.
I believe that God has given us the responsibility to work and to work in a fair manner.
There are verses that talk about dishonest scales, but I have not found any verses that require doing business for free. The Bible makes it very clear that “we should earn the bread we eat.” (2 Thess 3:12)
I am also reminded about the parable of the talents. Whether you take this parable figuratively or literally, we do see that these men were encouraged not to sit on what they had been given.
The ones that were rewarded by the master were the ones who had put their money to work and gained more money.
Growing up as a kid on the mission field, my wife was taught and modeled contentment. It was almost a game to see how frugally they could live. Her mom was a pro at finding the best deals and providing for their family of 8 on a tiny budget. Contentment is an important value! However, I do not think that being content only applies when you have very little.
Paul talks about being content with a little and being content with abundance. (Phil. 4:11, 12) I think the key is that we need to be content with what the Lord has given us.
That said, I don’t think you sit back and take the attitude “if God wants me to have it, he will provide”. It is very clear that if the farmer does not plow and plant, there will be no harvest. He will not eat! We need to use the skills that God has given us to do work for His glory.
I also don’t think contentment means never trying to gain more. It was clear from the parable, that the master wanted them to gain more. They even doubled their money in the time he was gone. The key is not to get carried away with the profit and the money, but to seek first His kingdom.
Obviously there is a danger:
Will you become consumed with making more money and lose the vision of your main focus?
The business, like any other tool, is there to bring glory to God and open up doors to further His kingdom. One of the ways that this can be done is through the profits of the company.
Because you need to make money to have a profitable business, I would encourage you to study the Word of God for Biblical business principles.
Starting with the Bible, you must lay down financial foundations that will help you in running your business. These are the “non-negotiables!”
It may be as simple as committing to declare and pay full taxes or refusing to give bribes.
After you have your Biblical foundation laid, you can then start to build on this foundation with sound financial business principles that will help grow your business in a healthy way. You should consider reading some Christian and secular books on doing business and dealing with finances.
We believe the work of these businesses can actually become part of the Gospel’s redeeming mission in the world. We invite you to pray with us for the leaders involved in this great work. This is just one story of many taking place around the globe in the area of Business as Mission. Learn more about our missions work and how you can become involved HERE.