How to go into business without collecting treasures on earth? I meet Christians and at the question: “How is your business doing?”, I receive the answer: “I’m not a businessman, I am a Christian!”
I will begin with the last part of the question. The way some Christians answer when they are asked how their business is doing shows that they condemn business and they do not admit something common among the Christian life and business. The reasons can be different. Some people say and think so because they took the opinions of others whom they consider to be more spiritual, someone confuses love for money with business, and others like to appear over-spiritual, and any discussion can turn so that their interlocutor feels nobody besides their so called “spiritual level”. Whatever ithe reason of those who say so is, we want to see what God says in the Holy Scriptures:
What is a business?
Before we develop the subject, it is necessary to define the Bible’s perspective of what business is.Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians of Ephesus:
He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. (Ephesians 4:28)
According to this passage business is working with your hands on something good that brings you material gain, but that is good because it does good for people.If this harms people, it will be a business too, but it will be dirty and sinful.According to the same verse, some steal and of their view this is also a business that involves risk and effort, but one that is dirty because it brings offense, suffering and is an abomination before God.
A Christian can not go into a dirty and shameful business, nor he will live as a drone, but will start and will go into a good business, where he will work for his own and his family’s needs and will give to the poor.
Do not live in disarray
In the church from Thessaloniki, Apostle Paul had to confront a group of people who claimed to be super-spiritual, and wanting to impress others with how they expected the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, decided not to work anything until the Lord comes.Here’s what Apostle wrote to those Christians who were no longer interested in business:
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example. For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good. If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15)
Apostle Paul had a business
Of course he was not a businessman in the sense that we know today, but Apostle Paul was a specialist at making tents. This helped him a lot to gain for his needs and the needs of those who were with him, while he was preaching the Gospel. Business was never his motivation, but a means of maintaining the ministry of the Gospel when he had no help from churches or when he need to give his disciples an example worthy to follow.
Motivation determines the purity of business
The wise Solomon said:
The wages of the righteous is life, the income of the wicked, punishment. (Proverbs 10:16)
After addressing the danger of the love of money, Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, who was leading the church from Ephesus at that time:
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed. (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
A Christian businessman will be motivated to earn honestly in his business and to use his gain for life, for spreading the Gospel through which people can receive the gift of eternal life.
And those who excuse saying that “Christians are not businessmen” I have seen many times that they are lazy, unfruitful and do not earn to cover their own expenses. Do not be like them, but also do not be caught into the trap of love of money, which enslaves many Christian businessmen.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru