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Despite what many believe, God hard wired us to work.
Work was initiated for our benefit in the sinless environment of the garden of Eden, it’s not a result of the curse! “The Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15).
The very first thing the Lord did with Adam was to put him to work.
After the fall, work became more difficult. “Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you will eat bread . . .” (Genesis 3:17-19).
Work is so important that God gives us this command in Exodus 34:21: “You shall work six days . . .” The apostle Paul is just as direct: “If anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Examine the verse carefully. It says, “If anyone is not willing to work.” It does not say, “If anyone cannot work.” This principle does not apply to those who are physically or mentally unable to work; it is for those who are able but choose not to work.
The Lord intends our work and involvement in business to develop our character. While the CEO of a construction company is building a housing subdivision, the subdivision is also building the CEO. The CEO’s skills, diligence, integrity, and judgment are refined. A business and job aren't merely designed to earn money; they are also intended to produce godly character in the life of the worker.
According to the Bible, there is equal dignity in all types of honest businesses and work. The Scripture does not elevate any profession above another; we find in its pages a wide variety of vocations. David was a shepherd and a king. Lydia was a retailer who sold purple fabric. Daniel was a government worker. Amos was a shepherd, and tended sycamore fig trees. Mary was a homemaker. Paul operated a tent-making business. And the Lord Jesus Himself was a carpenter.
In fact, most of the godly people in the Bible had secular jobs. In Hebrews 11, there is a list of sixteen men and women who lived by faith and gained God’s approval. Only one, Samuel, was a religious professional.
Many feel they are not serving Christ in a significant way if they remain in business. Nothing could be further from the truth! In his book God Owns My Business, Stanley Tam writes, “Although I believe in the application of good principles in business, I place far more confidence in the conviction that I have a call from God. I am convinced that His purpose for me is in the business world. My business is my pulpit.”
God strategically places His children everywhere. Many believe that only the missionary or pastor is truly spiritual, but this isn't true. Your business is your ministry. The businessperson is in a position to influence people for Christ who would rarely consider attending a church.
Robert Gilmour “R.G.” LeTourneau was 14 years old when he dropped out of the sixth grade. A decade later, he and his wife were broke and heavily in debt from a failed automobile dealership.
“Although I believe in the application of good principles in business, I place far more confidence in the conviction that I have a call from God. I am convinced that His purpose for me is in the business world. My business is my pulpit.”– Stanley Tam
His sister, a missionary, challenged him to make a real difference for Christ. LeTourneau was confused and felt guilty because he thought that he would have to become a missionary and give up what he wanted to do—move dirt. Finally, he yielded his will to the Lord and prayed, “Lord, if You’ll help me, I’ll do anything You want me to do.” LeTourneau knew his prayer was answered, because he was overcome with joy.
The next day, he met with his pastor to seek direction. After praying together for some time, the pastor finally said, “R.G., the Lord needs preachers and missionaries, but God needs businessmen, too.”
LeTourneau was stunned. If God needed businessmen, he could easily find a better one than a dirt mover buried under a mountain of debt. Finally he reasoned, Well, if that’s what God wants me to be, I’ll be His businessman. From that day on, he was in business with God.
LeTourneau began to tinker with earth-moving machinery, and proved to be extraordinarily innovative. He started manufacturing heavy construction machinery, and the company became enormously successful. In 1935, at the suggestion of his wife, they decided to give 90 percent of the company’s profits to the Lord. LeTourneau explained this decision: “It’s not how much of my money I give to God, but how much of God’s money I keep for myself.”
During World War II, his company built 70 percent of all earth-moving equipment used by the Allies. He registered more than 300 patents, and there isn't a piece of heavy construction equipment manufactured today that did not find its origin on R.G. LeTourneau’s drafting table.
So, there is one question you must answer.
Don’t rush to answer it. Take your time.
If God wants me to serve Him in business, am I willing to be His businessperson? If your answer is YES, the rest of this book will provide you the framework that you’ll need to operate your business God’s way.