What On Earth Is A Kingdom Business?
By Simon Mason
At some point you’ve probably wondered (or debated) precisely what it is that makes a regular business a kingdom business.
There’s no easy definition in scripture but there are loads of indicative examples.
This is because the gospels and Acts describe the impact of the Kingdom as it breaks into the lives of ordinary Jews and Gentiles. Most of these folk were carrying on their businesses and, in meeting Jesus, came to terms with a realisation they needed to reorder their life.
A new way of ordering their life included a new way of ordering their businesses.
So when scripture finds these ordinary folk they’re in the midst of asking the same questions we are.
So in scripture we don’t see an obvious dividing line between a kingdom business and a regular business. But we do see clear picture of people like us grappling with the values of the kingdom and growing towards them.
Here are some Kingdom values with evident business applicability:
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With this in mind, the best way to think about whether or not a business is a kingdom business is to think in terms of a sliding scale of values.
At one end, you’re going to have highly pronounced kingdom values that radically demonstrate belief in the existence of a different King. On the other end you’re going to have a business that demonstrates fear, financial anxiety and a confidence only in the basest instincts of others.
At one end you’re going to have a business that looks like Paul’s tent-making company and on the other a business that looks like (lets say) the Russian mafia.
I can imagine Paul building tents of incredible quality, using his business to disciple guys like Titus and Timothy, tithing to the church, asking the Lord for fresh business ideas, building a relational network of suppliers, saving for missionary journeys, giving to the poor, innovating fresh tent designs and expanding his market.
On the other hand, we’ve all seen enough films to know that the Russian mafia’s business ethics epitomize generating problems at the expense of creating a profit, stripping others of power, oppressing the poor and misusing their wealth.
So while you can’t identify a clear threshold for a kingdom business you can certainly have a business that is either “more” kingdom or “less” kingdom.
Everyone is on a journey toward integrating Kingdom values into their lives. If you’ve committed to this journey, you’re already halfway into victory.
On monetising a solution that provides a social benefit.
Unbeknownst to many people it’s a Kingdom principle that the very act of getting involved in a business provides a blessing. Proverbs 11:26 states “He who withholds grain, the people will curse him, But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.” Note it doesn’t say “a blessing will be on the head on him who gives it away.” This means that if you’re in a position to solve a problem and do so by drawing a profit, you’re still positioned to receive a blessing.
Secondly, the plan of the Father is that through Christ and through the church, He can demonstrate His true nature to the world. Paul states that the Father’s purpose is to “demonstrate in the coming ages the surpassing riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Boom.
In a sense, a business is simply another vehicle, like family and like our community, for the values of the kingdom to be put on display to the world.
This means the Kingdom business mission is threefold:
1. The mission of reaching those who are in business
2. The mission of transforming the world through business
3. The mission of using business to disciple and father others.
For some people the nature of God is demonstrated by having Kingdom-minded co-workers demonstrate that God can answer the questions they are asking. An example of this is when the Queen of Sheba met Solomon, she witnessed in Solomon’s kingdom the nature of a God that knew how to order a kingdom better than she did.
For others the nature of God is seen through a business venture that empowers them to transform their lives. and provide for their family For many of the early missionaries, they demonstrated the nature of God through introducing business driven solutions to developing communities.
For others a business mentor who fathers them into their craft puts the nature of God as a father on display. Again I think of Paul fathering the next generation of leaders in the midst of practicing his tent-making craft.
Your central life’s vocation is to witness to the nature of God in every sphere of your life. Kingdom business supercharges our central calling to put the nature of God on display through our lives.
Lastly, in Christ, we are witnesses of a new reality and a new King. As a consequence of recognizing Christ’s kingship over our lives, being a Christian means discovering a whole new way of ordering our lives.
And in re-ordering our lives we discover that it the Father’s plan for us to radically increase, for our businesses to grow, our profits to rise and our influence to expand.
But here’s the thing, Kingdom increase is contingent on aligning ourselves with Kingdom principles.
It’s a pattern frequently repeated throughout the Old Covenant. God makes a promise then says, “If you keep my commands… then I will prosper you…”
The blessing is contingent on alignment.
When we order our lives according to Kingdom values, we position ourselves for blessing.
The advantage of choosing guiding values for your business that witness to the Lordship of Christ is that we demonstrate to the world the existence of a different King.
When we witness to a different King, that King honors our witness with blessing. Why? Because God favors those who walk in the values of his kingdom because they’re the ones He intends to walk in greater influence.
So I hope this short exploration has challenged your old ways of thinking. Let's hear from you. What do you think it means to build a Kingdom Business?
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