In anticipation of this fall’s Nehemiah Week in Orlando, FL, hosted by The Nehemiah Project, we’re re-sharing a favorite article outlining kingdom business by one of the organization’s founders, Patrice Tsague.
This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8
Success is often defined in business as consistently achieving a certain rate of return, or meeting certain revenue goals. These measurements are important, but when defining kingdom business success, we must go beyond the rate of return or the revenue. Kingdom business success takes into account all of the elements that make a business a kingdom business.
A kingdom business is a profit-making enterprise under the lordship of Jesus Christ, operated by a born-again believer. It honors the Lord Jesus Christ through its products and services, it is managed based on biblical principles, serves as a light in the marketplace, and its profit is used for the advancement of the kingdom of God in the earth. Simply put, a kingdom business is God’s business, managed God’s way, by God’s steward, for God’s purposes in the world.
Kingdom business success is the faithful stewardship of the resources the Lord has placed under my care in the service of my employees, my customers, and the body of Christ in such a manner that it may generate an increase. It enables me to have greater spiritual and natural influence in my community and industry. Seven keys determine whether a kingdom business is successful:
1. The business is used as a tool to fulfill God’s plan for the steward (Colossians 3:23). Is the business helping you fulfill God’s plan for your life? A kingdom business is not just something you do so that you can have resources to support the kingdom, but it is the way you carry out your mission mandate. The business is the mission. Every born-again believer has been called of God to achieve a specific call. Those who have a passion for business must seek the Lord to determine how the business can be a tool to fulfill that call. This gives purpose and significance to the business and brings fulfillment to your work.
2. The products and services honor the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 19:24). As kingdom business stewards, we are not to sell certain products and services just because they are profitable, but rather we must ask ourselves if these products and services glorify Jesus. Would Jesus sell these products and services? Do they meet clear, legitimate needs? Will they harm others? You cannot have a successful kingdom business that is promoting ungodly products and services.
3. Members of management glorify the Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 10:42-45). Kingdom businesses must model the same management style that Jesus modeled-the servant leadership model. The way you treat your employees, handle your finances, deal with the government, and market your product and services must bring glory to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
4. The business provides for the natural needs of the Biblical Entrepreneur and his or her family (1 Timothy 5:8). The Bible is clear that work is the way to provide for our natural needs. It says that if a man does not take care of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. No matter how zealous you are about Jesus, you must be balanced and ensure that your business provides for your needs and that of your family.
5. The business generates biblical profit: double bottom line (Proverbs 16:8). Kingdom businesses must be profitable. Jesus makes if clear in the story of the talents in Mathew 25:14-30 that He is displeased with unprofitable servants. Sustained profits are the only way to build wealth, and according to Deuteronomy 8:18 wealth is the evidence that confirms God’s covenant. At the same time, the Bible makes it clear that that we ought not to labor just to be rich. According to Proverbs 16:8, it is better to have little with righteousness than to have a whole lot with injustice. In other words, we must not seek profit at all costs. The biblical approach to profit is a balanced approach. A double bottom line is what is required: profit that is gained justly and honorably without compromising biblical principles.
6. The business is a means for marketplace evangelism and discipleship (Matthew 28:18-20). All born-again believers, no matter their professions, have a mandate to fulfill the Great Commission; the Great Commission is partly evangelism and partly discipleship. As kingdom business stewards, our businesses are a platform for marketplace evangelism and discipleship to those we have influence over, including our customers, employees, vendors, business associates, competitors, and the community we do business in.
7. Businesses are an instrument for giving (1Timothy 6:17-19). Kingdom businesses must be committed to giving to the work of the kingdom and to those in need. We give through tithing from our business profits and giving generously as the Lord leads. Giving, however, is not the only measurement of a successful kingdom business, but it is one of several measurements of success. As stated above, we do not start kingdom businesses to give to missions, but the kingdom business is the mission. If giving was the only thing that made a kingdom business a kingdom business, then Bill Gates’ and Oprah’s businesses would be considered kingdom businesses. Kingdom businesses must reflect all seven characteristics listed here.
Are you operating a kingdom business? How successful, from a kingdom standpoint, is your business? There is no greater time than now to set ourselves apart from the world. Difficult economic times create greater demand for businesses that reflect God’s will and are salt and light in the marketplace for Jesus. This gives us a unique competitive advantage and allows us to be a resource for the world in a time of lack as Joseph was in Egypt.
In God’s kingdom, success results in greater responsibility. In Matthew 25:21 Jesus said if you “are faithful over little [i.e., successful], [He] will make you ruler over much [responsibility].” Our kingdom business success will come with responsibility and not necessarily a whole lot of perks – although our provision is always within the responsibilities.
May God give you the grace to honor Him through your business.
Copyright © 2009 Patrice Tsague. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.