A 21st Century Kingdom Entrepreneur

posted Aug 2, 2013, 9:30 AM by Willie T. Butler   [ updated Aug 5, 2013, 9:02 PM by Charles C. Christie,Jr. ]
(Originally Published | January 19, 2013)

“The essence of God’s nature is most visible through the charity of Man towards his fellow man.”

Benevolence or Charity can be demonstrated in many ways. “God so loved the world,” the Bible teaches us, “that He gave His only begotten Son [Jesus Christ]; that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) From God’s perspective, a physical [human] sacrifice was required in order to redeem mankind and bring change to our world.

In less dramatic yet highly significant form, some business leaders have emulated Christ’s examples of charity by instituting economic measures meant to help Americans, particularly during our nation's five years of financial recession and fiscal uncertainty. And in spite of stock market volatility and investor unrest or their unreasonable demand for higher profits, benevolent business leaders made giving back to those who made them successful their priority in 2012.

Choosing to share one’s wealth and success with those who helped you achieve success is still rare but it does exist. Take supermarket entrepreneur Joe Leuken, former owner of Lueken’s Village Foods. In 2012 he made a bold and very generous decision to convert his highly successful business into an ESOP (Employee Stock Option Program) giving ownership of his three stores and their significant market value over to his 400 employees. This decision was made in spite of several very lucrative—and potentially profitable—offers from the big supermarket chains wanting to purchase his company.

According to Mr. Leuken, “My employees are largely responsible for any success I've had, and they deserve to get some of the benefits of that.” And, he went on to add something that I believe represents a page out of God’s Kingdom handbook. “You can’t always take...," according to Leuken. “You also have to give back!”

Being an entrepreneur in America used to mean something and invoke a different sense of pride. Business ownership used to incorporate such charity and represent more than simply a way to be self-employed or to achieve financial success. The average merchant understood that they not only earn their living providing goods and services to a particular community but that without that community--or its labor pool, there was no business to serve or way to profit. Mr. Leuken understood this and chose to show his appreciation in a generous and very tangible way.

Kingdom-Directed versus Worldly-Influenced

What we have witnessed in the 21st Century is that a worldly-minded entrepreneur thinks solely of themselves and what they can obtain from their efforts. A Kingdom entrepreneur thinks of ways they can succeed in serving God through their efforts, and how they can be a blessing to others in the process. The ancient story of Joseph, who when sold into slavery became the life-line—thus a type of a savior—for Egypt and the Nation of Israel, represents such an example.

Though only a boy when sold into slavery by his brothers, Joseph rose to ultimately serve as Pharaoh’s second-in-command, and as a highly prosperous administrator and businessman in Egypt. Because he was favored by God, he was blessed to know the times and the seasons, and he knew to stock-pile grain for the seven years of famine that would come. (Genesis 41-42)
Not only did God use this event to reunite Joseph to his father and brothers, it confirmed the power and authority conferred on Joseph by Pharaoh, and it confirmed the validity of his childhood vision that he would one day be great and mighty and help to save nations.

Again, though considered a slave, Joseph represented Kingdom Entrepreneurship. The Bible describes Joseph--this Hebrew slave--as being prosperous... God’s favor on him even resulted in generating lots of money for Egypt and Pharaoh as they sold grain to nations that could afford to buy it.

Kingdom entrepreneurs are God’s marketplace ministers. When being in business is approached from the perspective of marketplace ministry and as a servant of the Most High, then the Kingdom of God is glorified, others are blessed in the process, and you participate in determining how much more God can entrust to your administration. This is the essence of the Parable of the Talents story found in Matthew 24.

Becoming wealthy can be the by-product of both, but how one gets there is the true measure of one’s achievements in God’s Kingdom. The journey clearly defines whether God, the Giver of life and purpose, or Mammon, the god of greed and self-interest, have most influenced your life.
“As for me and my house [and business]...," as the prophet of old once said, "we will serve the Lord!” (Joshua 24:15)   Why not let God empower you to serve Him in the marketplace?