I was reading in Luke 3 this morning the following:
“In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— 2 during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.”
I’m sure most of us have heard sermons on how all these rich, powerful, influencial people were unworthy to receive the Word of God. In other words, God’s word came to a low, poor and un-powerful person in the wilderness. The potential for abuse of interpretation is obvious.
One cannot argue from this passage that the poor are inherently closer to God simply because they are poor from this passage, though I can imagine that some have tried. My interpretation is that the Word of God came to John, not because he was out-of-the-loop politically or was poor or was not powerful, but because he had a strong faith in God and had a calling on his life. If Herod had turned his life over to God, I believe the Word of God could have come to him too.
My thoughts then turned to First Peter 1 where we are told that our faith is more valuable than gold. If you have lived in the United States over the last few years, you cannot have missed the gold commercials on TV and radio. Everyone is selling gold as the ultimate, most secure form of wealth. But the Scriptures tell us that our faith is worth more than gold – that our faith is the most secure form of wealth.
You know, as a business owner, I have several concurrent roles that I fulfill. One role is that I’m a leader and get to make the difficult decisions. The most difficult decisions in any organization usually bubble up to the top leader and are usually reserved that that individual to make. This is why being President of the United States is such a difficult job – nearly all of one’s decisions in this role are usually “no win” decisions and often involved significant tradeoffs that affect millions of people. Another role I fill is that of visionary. It’s my job to know where the market is going and to understand how to position my company to be successful in the coming years. But a third role is that of being a steward to that which God has entrusted to me. He created this business that I own (in the American, legal sense) and He expects a return on his entrustment. And those returns are both monetary and eternal.
One of the things that I *must* pursue as a business owner is profits. No business (and non-profits seriously need to learn this) can exist indefinitely without profits. Profits are good. Profits are a social good. Profits are a spiritual good. Profits show you’re doing something right. Profits enable you to live to fight another day. And it is from profits that we create wealth for the Kingdom of God. I was sitting in my hotel room yesterday (am at a conference in San Diego this week) with another business owner. He and I were discussing how we need to make a profit and how we want to make a large profit over the next 5-15 years. We talked at length about where we think the market is going and how we hope to survive in this market. But never once did we discuss that which is the most valuable “asset” that we have been given – our faith in Christ.
As a business owner, what do I pursue? In all cases, the *first* pursuit should be the growth of my faith – growth in sanctification and holiness. Growth in my faith in God and in my love for Him. Pursuing profits is good and is part of what we do as business owners. But if we pursue profits alone without a great emphasis and energy spent in growing our faith in God, then our efforts are in vain. So, today, if you run a business or own a business – be sure to pursue the First Pursuit – and that is your faith in God.