When the understanding of a phenomenon is not known misunderstanding and misinterpretation is unavoidable; therefore application will be disjointed and misplaced! The title of this article I believe is the most misconstrued of the cardinal questions related to the marketplace especially by Christians! The reason is not farfetched; Christians go to the wrong sources to look for its definition, therefore, they’d certainly be misinformed which can result to destiny malformation in the marketplace.
Arguably, there are only two dictionaries in the world: The Bible and others. The Bible is the only “Assured” book that contains the express will of God; that’s why it is regarded as the hand book of life, and by extension the handbook of business. This presupposes that if you want to know the express will of God concerning “What is Business” and other related issues that deal with business; the right and definite place to go is the bible.
Sadly, many Christian business professionals and entrepreneurs – nay, would-be Christian business practitioners seem to believe that the bible has nothing or little to say about business, so they invariably gravitate towards secular sources for the definition of business.
So, what is Business?
Let’s first explore first some of the popular definitions of business that has moulded the culture of business practitioners across the world. The Longman dictionary of Contemporary English gives an illusionary definition that had deluded many. It says business is “The activity of making money by producing or buying and selling goods, or providing services.” The WordWeb Dictionary defines business as the “The activity of providing goods and services involving financial and commercial and industrial aspects.”
Human beings are creatures of emotion. Man is driven by his believes and values ingrained in his heart, even though he may sometime not be aware of it. The believe that business is about making money by providing products and/or services is what had been the driving force behind the passion of many business people, which have alienated mankind from the purpose for which God created business. Sadly, this is the bane of many business practitioners. The fruit or product of this kind of worldview is self-conceited and self-serving business people.
If you agree that God is the creator of the earth and the rest of the universe; then you’d also agree that He is solely responsible for the rules that govern the universe! One distinguishing character of God is that He is an intentional God. He created everything (including business) on and for a purpose. In this article, I’ll be spotlighting God’s definition of business. The surest clue to understanding this is in discerning the purpose why He created business. In this follow up article, I’ll explore what business is truly all about.
The starting point to this puzzle is to go to the very beginning; where God established His purpose of business enshrined in his cardinal purpose for man. The purpose of business is divine in nature: business exists to fulfill the Creation Mandate in Genesis 1:28,
“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it! Rule over… ”
The cardinal purpose of man is to rule God’s physical universe – known as creation mandate. Given the Creation Mandate as the prime mandate of man, then everything relating to the life of man must find its purpose in this mandate. Therefore business is a tool to enable man to rule. If the purpose of man is to rule God’s physical creation, then all human activity must relate to man’s responsibility to rule. Therefore work is, and must be, a means to rule.