Tension 1: The Love for God and the pursuit of profit :
How do you balance the two? What are we to do with Matthew 6:24: ” No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money .” No one would deny the fact that the demands to succeed in business can sidetrack a Christian from his primary responsibility, the pursuit of God: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness…” (Matt. 6:33a). The Matthew 6:19-33 passage does not condemn work itself, but is a warning that our focus on work and wealth must not become our first priority.
While Jesus had a great deal to say about poverty – “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God” (Lk. 6:24) – (See Matt. 6:19), he supported resourcefulness and monetary stewardship, encouraging his followers to utilize their gifts and abilities. (See Matt. 25:14 – 30) Clearly, the Scriptures teach us to work, starting with God’s instructions to Adam: “ By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground” (Gen. 3:19a). (See 2 Thess. 3:14)
Here is how several top notch businessmen pondered this issue of the tension between the love for God and the pursuit of profit:
- Bob Slocum : “ My work is successful as long as Christ becomes real each day in the arena of my daily work. I work for and pray toward business success, but, once that I have done all I can, I am learning to relax in the knowledge that blessings in terms of profit and loss are ultimately in God’s hands .” 2
- Fred Smith : “My work is my worship.”
- Charles Olcott (Former president of Burger King): “I’m not so sure that a ministry in the church is more important than one in the work place. Your time might be better spent ministering to people in the workplace where your visible witness is very strong.” 3
- J. Phillips Wogaman : “We are concerned here not just with high moral standards but with personal holiness. To be a Christian businessperson is to care passionately about doing good…Such a Christian wishes to approach the business world as his or her special calling, recognizing that business life can be a form of ministry.” 4
CONCLUSION : In interviewing numerous business leaders, Dr. Laura Nash, author of Believers in Business, found the primary ways in which these men resolved the tension between materialistic financial concerns and personal focus on God was by stewarding their resources to be a credible witness for Christ in the marketplace, exhibiting a genuine concern for employee welfare, job creation, and rendering quality products and service. The story of the good steward in Luke 12:42-48 was frequently cited as their motivating example. (See Matt. 25:40)
This week may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.
R. Dwight Hill
1In this series, we will be drawing heavily from Dr. Laura Nash’s book, Believers in Business,”Thomas Nelson, Publishers 1982 – 2 Ordinary Christians in a High Tech World, 168– 3 Believers inBusiness, p 67 – 4 Christian Faith and Personal Holiness, 47, 48