This last week I was able to spend some time with my friend Joe Slawek (holding the check in photo). Joe is the founder of FONA International which invents the flavors in much of our food. I’m hoping Joe is able to lead a workshop at our Restore Conference, June 7-8 at Judson University. You really need to meet him. The pictures hang in our board room and Joe is a continual reminder of the importance of stewardship. He knows how to make the most of God’s opportunity for business.
Why Are You in Business?
Is it just a random, lucky circumstance? Or might there be a divine purpose?
Some people believe in random luck. Certain atoms randomly collided creating a big bang that sent debris hurtling across space. The debris randomly stopped at the perfect axis to create conditions for sustainable life. That life randomly progressed from simple cells to complex humans over billions of years. Those humans are simply decaying cells which in a short time will rot and disappear.
You could agree with them. I don’t. I believe in a God that is purposeful, creative, loving and good. He created you to be purposeful, creative, loving and good. One of the primary ways you accomplish this is through work. Your business is not a random happenstance. God provided the needed insights and resources, created the right opportunities, and brought you to this moment in time to advance His kingdom purposes. Do you believe that?
God Says Your Work Matters
The best business book ever written is the Bible. My friend Joe knows that. He literally built his massive facility with Bibles in the corners of the foundation. That’s one way to remember our business must be built on the foundation of God’s word!
From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is about work. Our work was God’s idea from the beginning. Our work is a means to glorify Him and serve others. You might miss how important your work is to God. But consider this. Jesus could have chosen many topics to speak on, but more than 60% of his parables deal with work!
We should not be surprised that Jesus spoke so often about business or that He used business as a deeper illustration of the Kingdom of God. Like a parable, work is the story but advancing God’s kingdom is the deeper purpose.
Who Owns Your Business?
As a young man, I thought business was all about making money to support my family. I graduated from a top 20 law school, worked for a great law firm and soon decided I could make more money if I formed my own law practice.
I worked hard. Multiple office locations, numerous trials, a case that went before the United States Supreme Court, and I was a millionaire by age 30.
But I missed a profound truth. I thought my name was first in the string of names that comprised our law firm. But God should have been first. I thought I was being a good provider, but in failing to recognize that God owned my business and I was his operating partner, I risked everything. Had God left me on that path, I believe I would have destroyed my marriage and estranged my sons, and for what?
Would I lay up treasures on earth or would I store up treasure in heaven? Jesus made it clear that where my treasure was, there would my heart be also. Mt. 6:19-21. Either I could build my kingdom or advance His kingdom. Which would I be about? How about you?
God’s Opportunity for Your Business
I admire David Green, the founder of Hobby Lobby. He wrote a short booklet entitled, “Five Keys to Building a Family Legacy.” The key isn’t business or family – it’s using both to advance God’s kingdom. David says it this way,
“Family is good, but ultimately God has to be number one. The only antidote for an ingrown family is generosity. Generosity keeps us from becoming overly focused on ourselves. It reminds us that we are put here on this earth to glorify God and to serve others.”
My friend Joe Slawek uses Matthew 25 as his guide to generosity. He believes in investing wisely to see the talents entrusted to us double. The purpose is to be faithful and generous in supporting the least of these. As Joe told me this week, those are individuals we see. Some may be called to serve those half way around the world, but Joe believes in serving neighbors near him.
Joe understands that generosity is rooted in doing justice. Literally. The Hebrew for generosity is tzedekah. The word for justice is tzedek. The Bible encourages us to be generous with all we have to see neighbors restored so they can flourish as God intends.
Use Business to Change Whole Communities for the Gospel
Jorge’s autistic son, Carlos, was turning 18. Carlos is learning skills for independence but cannot be fully independent. Carlos is easily taken advantage of. Jorge needed a guardianship but the process and paperwork is confusing. Jorge found a gospel justice center which guided him through the process. He recently called us. “I am so grateful for your help. The judge gave me guardianship. I could not have done it without your help. God bless you.”
You can change the lives of hundreds of people like Carlos by wisely investing your talents. Some will come to faith in Christ, others join a church, and all will see a demonstration of Christ love as we meet legal needs. Perhaps God has blessed your business. For a one-time gift of $5,000 you can help us launch a new legal ministry in a neighborhood to impact the lives of at least 50 people in the first year and hundreds into the future. The ministry is self-sustaining under our umbrella with the collection of small client dignity fees.
Hear from other business owners and learn more on our website.
Perhaps God is challenging you to steward some of your time to multiply impact for His kingdom. You have a law degree and God is asking you to use it to serve one of the least of these in your neighborhood. Explore how God might use you to open a new legal ministry in your neighborhood.
Visit our site and download our guide on how to have life-changing impact through legal ministry.
God has given you time, talent and treasure. Generously share them with neighbors in need. You will be blessed as you do.