I was reading through First Peter 1 the other morning and was again struck by how our faith is worth more than precious gold:
6In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
This idea is echoed in later in First Peter 3.3:
“3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
The Christian Business Reference Architecture – which starts with who you are as a business owner – stresses the importance of a life lived in faith and obedience to God as a prerequisite to running a business God’s way. These verses extend that concept to say that within the value system of a true Disciple of Jesus Christ – even if they are business owners – is the notion that money is less valuable than faith in God.
What crossed my mind is that and abundance of either Faith or Money bring us similar things, though highly differentiated. Here are four comparative examples of what I mean. Asked another way – what does one have when they have money vs. faith? Both are valuable – but in the macro – money is valuable in the temporal world and faith is valuable in the eternal world. What we’re asking Christian business owners to do is to flip those realities: value faith over money in this temporal world as you look toward living in the eternal world. At any rate, here are four comparative examples of what I’m trying to express. In the first row, both money and faith bring us power – but very different kinds of power with different effects and different results:
|Power||The more money one has, the more power one has to make decisions, enter into advantageous relationships, tell others what to do and ensure one’s personal comfort.||The more righteous one lives and the more mature one’s faith is in God, the more powerful are one’s prayers to God (James 5.16) and the less bondage one has to sin.|
|Treasures||Lots of money can buy lots of things – usually large and expensive: houses, cars, positions, influence, membership, thrills, experiences and so forth. But the treasures purchased with money are temporal and fleeting. (Luke 12.14-21)||Our faith is worth more than money, so a mature, deep faith in God brings about a “richness” that is stable and eternal. The “treasures” of faith never spoil or fade (Matthew 5). They are fully enjoyed in heaven, partially enjoyed on earth.|
|Access||High amounts of money brings access to political and business leaders and sometimes access to religious leaders too.||Faith is always noticed by Jesus and honored. Look at how many times Christ responded to even the smallest of faith in the Gospels. When you have faith in God, you get access to God|
|Giving||People with large sums of money usually give away enough money to look good, but they don’t give sacrificially. Giving money rarely involves giving of one’s life too. They will give their money, but will lose their soul. (Matthew 6.33)||When your faith is deep and mature in Christ, you’ll happily give away your life because you know of God’s provision and purpose for your life. And you’ll save your soul in the process (Matthew 6.33)|
As Christian Business Owners, all God asks is that we value what He values more than what our American system of business says we should value. The four purposes for business – products, passions, profits and philanthropy – represent four core values that cannot be held in balance and then lived out without a deep and abiding faith in God and His work in our lives.
The comparative value of money and faith is essentially this: money brings us temporal, but substantial power, treasure, access and opportunities for philanthropy. Faith brings us power, treasure, access and opportunities to give of ourselves. The question is this: which do you desire more? You cannot serve both God and money (Matthew 5). As a Christian business owner, I ask you this simple question: which do you value more? Money or faith?
Associate, The Platinum Group