Now that the election is over, it's back to school for Christian entrepreneurs. Why? Because I believe there are some lessons that God wants to remind Christians of related to our misplaced trust (and fears) in people, including presidents. And based on the election results, there are almost as many people who are elated that Barack Obama won as there are that are disappointed that Mitt Romney lost.
Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, this country is still facing some daunting economic challenges. High unemployment. Slow high-caliber job creation. Fiscal cliff. Foreclosures. Housing values. Skyrocketing healthcare costs. Child poverty. Do you see a pattern here? All of these major issues are directly or indirectly related to economics and finances.
Economics and finances are not just your concern, they are God's business. He is interested in your spiritual, physical, and financial welfare. Unfortunately, many times we do not seek His wisdom, will, or ways when it comes to our money, which means we do not get His results.
The current financial challenges faced by this country and the world are tied directly to the fact that we have been doing things our own way without God's input. As a society, we want God's favor and blessings without submission to His will. We often choose to operate in business with our eyes focused on the bottom line instead of our eyes focused beyond the hills where our help truly comes from (Psalm 121:1).
We are not the first people to make this mistake. Jesus' own parents nearly fell prey to our human tendency to move in a direction different from God's. Early on in Jesus' life, Joseph and Mary realized that if they didn't understand or follow God's plan, they would miss out on what He was doing. Luke 2:41-52 reads,
“His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”
And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them. Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”
Also read A Kingdom Perspective on Politics
This story has some powerful lessons for business leaders and our society as a whole as it relates to us recovering our financial health and stability. Let's look at a few of these lessons.
1) Make Sure God Is With You
Like many of us have done in business when we were too busy to focus on eternal things, Joseph and Mary lost track of God's Son while on the way to their planned destination. They assumed he was with him although he was not. This happens to us to when we make choices and decisions in our business while excluding God from the process. When we have not dedicated our business to the advancement of God's agenda, we lose track of what God is doing and what He desires from us.
Like parents who have just realized their child is missing, it is a scary feeling to look up and realize God is not with you like you previously assumed. Many people in this country are fearful right now because there is economic chaos and confusion in the land. They may or may not realized that at some point in the past God was left out of the boardroom, Congress, White House, Wall Street, city councils, school boards, classrooms, and other significant places where they thought they could handle their challenges and opportunities better without Him than with Him. Furthermore, many people mistakenly thought He would be ok with only being God on Sunday in a church building. We are now eating the financial fruit of that kind of thinking.
2) Look For God In The Right Places
As the story continues, when Joseph and Mary finally realized that Jesus was missing, they went looking for him in all the wrong places. They sought Jesus among relatives and acquaintances who had no knowledge of where he was (Check your relationships. Are they pulling you closer to or further away from Jesus?). It took them three days to find him in the temple. Why didn't they find him sooner? Because the last place they looked for him should have been the first place.
This is reflective of many people today who are looking for answers to this financial mess that we're in. They are looking to Wall Street and they do not have the answers. They are looking to the White House and they do not have the answers. They are looking to economic “experts” and they do not have the answers. They are looking to radio talk show hosts and they do not have the answers. They are even looking to pastors, and unfortunately many of them do not have the answers either because they are representative of point #1 (God is not with them).
The answers to our financial problems will be found in the Word of God. Jesus was found in the house of God, teaching from the Scriptures. The answers to poverty, profitability, healthcare, housing, unemployment, and all other economic issues are tied to one Source. God gives answers to those who diligently seek Him (Psalm 84:11, Hebrews 11:6).
3) Operate Your Business With A Kingdom Purpose
When Joseph and Mary finally found Jesus, he was in his Father's house, engaged in his Father's business. It is very interesting that Jesus would use the words “about My Father's business” to describe what he was doing in the temple. Jesus knew his Kingdom assignment from an early age. He was operating in his purpose before he was even old enough to drive. He was doing Kingdom business at an age where all the other kids were still playing with toys.
As a Christian entrepreneur or business leader you must understand that God's mandate for you in the marketplace is different than everyone else's. Money should not be your primary focus. The advancement of God's business should be your obsession. Your business is a platform for God's purposes. He wants to use your business savvy and skills to demonstrate His glory. He wants to give you influence and affluence to use as tools to shine your light before people that they may see your good works and glorify Him as a result.
When you are focused on God's purpose for your business, you realize that your business is an answer to someone's prayer. Your business can be a job generator. Your business can be a solutions provider. Your business can be a poverty destroyer. Your business can be an economic engine.
Make the advancement of God's Kingdom your #1 business priority and watch Him blow your mind with opportunities that far exceed your expectations (Matthew 6:33, Ephesians 3:20).
4) Refocus Your Business To Do What God Is Blessing
Ideas are a dime a dozen. However, ideas that work are extremely valuable right now. The financial experts are scrambling to come up with strategies and plans that will reverse the negative economic trends that are currently plaguing our economy. Regrettably, we often fail to realize that God is not bewildered or baffled by our present circumstances. He already has all the solutions we need before we even ask Him the question.
We must get to place where we are like the sons of Issachar, “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chronicles 12:32). Our attention needs to be on doing what God is blessing, instead of continuing to ask God to bless what we're doing. Based on the current environment, some things are going to work and others will not. How do you know if you are in the right lane? Ask God.
One thing you must keep in mind is that God only reveals His deep secrets to His sons and friends through His Spirit (John 15:15, 1 Corinthians 2:10-16). If you do not have an intimate relationship with God, do not expect Him to reveal fresh ideas, key concepts, and ground breaking inventions that will prosper you in the midst of an economic famine like He did for Isaac (Genesis 26).
If you are too busy to consult God in your business dealings, then you are too busy. If you are too focused on transactions rather than getting transmissions from His Spirit, your vision is blurred and your blessings will be blocked. If you are too anxious to wait on God to make critical decisions, then you are rushing to get into trouble. If you are too fearful to trust God for your livelihood, then you will be stuck in a position of paralysis.
No matter who the President is, God will allow your business to prosper only when you are doing business that He is blessing.
How can you as a Christian entrepreneur demonstrate more of a commitment to keep God in the middle of their personal economy? Please leave your comments below...
A Kingdom Perspective on Politics
"... choose for yourselves today whom you will serve." ~ Joshua 24:15
*Special Note: Watch a live stream of my Passion in Action interview with guest Pastor Matthew Brown at www.InternetFabulous.TV
As the Presidential Election of 2012 draws closer there are so many choices to make: Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney. Democrats vs Republicans. Liberals vs Conservatives. These choices aren't as easy to make as they may seem on the surface when viewed from a Kingdom perspective.
Many Christians take sides with their favorite candidates for reasons that sometimes fall outside the bounds of how we should judge candidates based on Biblical criteria. God's agenda is often left out of the conversation by those who fight for their choice selections. And it's not as easy as looking at just one or two divisive issues, such as abortion or gay marriage. Other issues such as poverty, healthcare, justice, foreign policy, the environment, and others are those which God communicated His standards and expectations for us throughout the Bible.
A passage in Joshua 5 gives a small glimpse as to how God deals with human conflicts, such as political battles. General Joshua was preparing to lead the Hebrews into war against Jericho when an angel showed up on the scene. Joshua asked him whether he was a friend or foe. The angel's response was "Neither, but as commander of the Lord's army I have now come." He then commanded Joshua to take off his sandals, because he was standing on holy ground. Joshua quickly complied (Joshua 5:13-15).
The lessons we can learn from this account is significant, because they demonstrate to us that God's agenda always comes first. The angel wasn't there to help Joshua's plan to destroy Jericho. He came to help Joshua fulfill God's plan to get His children to their promise land, and Jericho was in the way. Joshua recognized this, and we also need to recognize the things God is trying to accomplish in the earth and who/what needs to get out of His way.
Another political Biblical example to consider is King Saul. The people wanted a king, but God didn't want them to have a king, because He knew where that would lead. However, He allowed them their choice, but they ultimately suffered for it.
So how does this relate to our politics today? I'm glad you asked. The responsible thing to do as a Christian is to view all candidates and issues from Biblical perspective, not from the biased perspective of a party agenda or platform. Any time you assume one political party has a corner on God's agenda then you're in error. And any time you relate to a political party or racial identity more than how you relate to being a Kingdom citizen you're headed down the wrong path. Jesus identified with his Jewish heritage, but he never let his ethnicity keep him from dealing with his own people in truth.
God is just as concerned about aborted babies as He is about people living in poverty. He is just as concerned about healthy families built on the Biblical definition of marriage as He is about people not being stuck in oppressive cycles and systems of welfare. He expects people not to be lazy and use the gifts and talents He gave them, but He also expects us to utilize a system of justice that is moral, ethical, and fair to all people not just those with money. He is just as concerned about wars and famine as He is with people getting equal access to the healthcare resources they need to live high-quality lives.
God is not a conservative. God is not a liberal (other than how He loves). God is not a capitalist. God is not a socialist. God is not a communist. God is God and no man-made political party or economic system can define Him.
The common denominator in all this is that God is passionate about all people and their well-being. And He's against anyone or any thing that hurts, oppresses, manipulates, or marginalizes any of those He created.
I'm not writing to tell you who to vote for. I'm writing to encourage you how to vote. Christians should vote with a Kingdom-consciousness. With the Holy Spirit's leading, choose the candidates who most closely align with God's overall plan for this planet. So when election day comes, just make sure you're voting for God.
What are you thoughts about how Christian should engage politics?
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