Sunday, June 28, 2009

Missionary Material 4

I used to think that everyone who majored in business majored in greed. In fact I had a roommate once who was a business major and on one occasion I commented to him that he and all the other business students are majoring in greed. He kind of smirked and said, "For most people--that's about right!"

For many people business and ministry cannot mix. Business exists to make money. Ministry exists to save souls. And money is what those of us in ministry are often fighting against in trying to save all those souls from loving it more than God. So, in many ways, business and ministry are enemies.

Many Christians think the Bible says something to the effect of "Money is the root of all evil."

It does, doesn't it?

Well, no, it doesn't.

Here's the verse you're thinking of:

"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." 1 Timothy 6:10

Money in and of itself is neutral. The sin is to LOVE money. The sin is to SEEK money before God. The sin is to HOARD money that we have when we could use it to help people in need.

So, business, like money, is neutral. It is no more sinful to do business than it is to have money.

But for many of us... we reject anything from the realm of business because we assume that if your purpose is to make a profit then you must not have pure motives. At the end of the day... we assume... you're in it for the money!

I've written elsewhere about ways we can do business and shield ourselves from the temptations of profits. But as I read through much of the Bible and as I learn more about business I am starting to see that business, in a lot of ways, is a lot like good stewardship. It's a lot like trying to make smart financial decisions. And, if you look at it one way, anyone who has and uses any amount of money is already doing business.

You work at a job and get paid. That is how you make money. You then use this money to buy food and clothes and also pay for your car and your house. When you buy a house, you have to be careful not to spend too much or your salary will not be able to keep up with it. Sometimes things get tight and you have to plan your purchases carefully. At the end of the day, you are selling your services (by doing your job) and then you are managing your expenses the best you can so that you will hopefully end up with a little to save each month. Hey, don't look now, but--You're doing business!

If we manage our expenses poorly we go into debt, are forced to sell assets or we have to live without for a period of time. We probably all have experience at this. So...

Why not learn to do business right? Could learning about good business practices be a matter of good stewardship?

I am reading a very good book now that I think every high-school student should study. That's right--high school! I have gone all of these years (after having majored in science and theology) and have never been taught these things that I believe would be a good idea to include as required high-school or college general education curriculum. The book?

The Complete Idiot's Guide to MBA Basics

It's not rocket science and don't let the "MBA" part fool you--it doesn't take a business whiz to grasp the concepts. Also, don't let the "Idiot" part fool you, either--that just means this book assumes no prior knowledge in the business discipline. Good for guys like me.

So, how about that young missionary wannabe who wants to know how to become an effective missionary in a very unreached part of the world? Well, I'm not saying you HAVE to do BAM, but I think it is a very good option that will allow you to get to and involved in so many places that would never accept someone who just has a Missions degree from a Bible college. And, depending upon the kind of business you do, you will likely need to get training in something else, too, besides missiology.

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