Is It Our Business, or God’s Business? (by Rick Betenbough)
I am a business guy. I love the marketplace! It is fascinating and exciting to me. I grew up going to work with my father. He was a real estate developer with small partnerships with other business men. He would take me to breakfast meetings with his associates, and I would go to the office with him and hear their conversations. I would listen to them talking about this deal or that apartment building, and the business world took root in me! Though, like most kids, who wanted to be a scientist or an astronaut as a child, by the time I was 12 years old, I knew I would be a business man when I grew up!
I remember a time when Dad took me to Dallas to explore some shopping centers as he made plans to build one, and I loved it! Once he did build it, I even spent my summers, beginning when I was 15 years old, mowing the grass there.
Poor Economic Circumstances + Heavy Debt = Disaster
When I was 19 years old, Dad lost his business. His development business was heavily leveraged, as that was the way it was done in the marketplace in those days. Poor economic circumstances plus heavy debt equals disaster. He lost everything, including my mom, his wife of 23 years. He moved to California to find some “blue sky,” as the Texas skies had turned gray and cloudy for him. Soon after, I flunked out of college due to a lack of discipline and took a job in the software industry. I learned much about the marketplace and many different kinds of businesses traveling to cities all over the U.S. while selling software.
Meanwhile, Dad was in California, and while he was not successful finding much business, he did find the Lord! He had always known there was a God and grew up in the church, but he did not KNOW God. And neither did I.
He came back from California and joined me in my homebuilding company that I had begun after leaving the software industry. And he brought the Lord with him! His words to me were, “I did business my way the first time around, and this time, if we have success, I want to honor God.” He asked me what I thought, and even though I did not know what that meant (nor did I have any real faith), I agreed. We had made the first business deal of the new company – with God.
Though I did not understand it then, today I know that we indeed made a covenant with the Lord, and He honors His covenants! He began giving us success immediately. We never lost money and always had everything we needed. He made us the largest builder in West Texas by the third year in business! I am still amazed that our agreement to “honor the Lord if we had in success” with so little faith would bring so many blessings from God. It reminds of the parable of the mustard seed:
“…the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32
Our vision for the new company was so small. We thought we could build 50 homes a year and make some money for ourselves, but that small faith we put in the Lord was like the mustard seed. We took it, planted it in our field, and it has grown into a tree with birds of the air perched in it!
Instead of our vision, God gave us His vision: We have now built more than 7,000 homes, have over 150 employees and over 2,000 trade partners and vendors, and have been able to give nearly $40 million to more than 400 Ministry partners around the world to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ! It is indeed a beautiful tree, just as God promised! It is His business – His Kingdom business that exists for His purposes so that He may be glorified. For if God did not love us, how could we do all this?
Today, we know that our business is actually His Kingdom Business. He owns it and we are but stewards, charged with managing it. It exists to reveal His Kingdom to all who come near.
You can be called to the marketplace – called to be a business person. You can love making stuff, selling stuff, buying stuff for the purposes of a business and still serve God every day exactly where you are! You are in full-time ministry in your calling. You don’t have to leave your calling to serve the Lord, in fact, you MUST NOT leave the marketplace if you are called there!
Plant a Seed. Make a Covenant. Surrender Ownership.
Simply plant a mustard seed in your field. Make a covenant with the Lord. Surrender ownership of the business to Him. Ask Him to show you what to do. God will give you His vision instead of the small vision you may have! Bring your faith into the marketplace as He shows you, and He will establish a Kingdom Business in your field!