Entrepreneurial Christianity



Luke 16:1-13 records one of the strangest parables ever recorded. Jesus says:

“There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods.  So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’

“Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’

“So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.”

This story is strange because Jesus seems to be praising the servant for ripping off his master. And the servant was "unjust" in the truest sense, quite honestly stealing from the master's incoming cash flow. Why would Jesus speak well of a dirty thief, a pragmatic lowlife who looked out for his own at the cost of his master's finances?

Notice, however, that the master does not praise this servant for his thievery. He praises his shrewdness: his inventive reaction to his looming layoff.

The servant had been wasting his master's goods, and he knew he had to give an account of his conduct before his master. So instead of powerlessly accepting the facts, instead of wallowing in his inevitable joblessness--he did something. Anything. With the resources he still had at that point in time, the servant quickly made provisions for himself by making some allies with his master's debtors. Maybe then he won't be on the streets begging for bread. For that his master commends him.

Jesus concludes his parable with a statement all too relevant for us: "For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light."

Ouch.

But it's true. Look at your typical entrepreneur. He is dreaming up ideas and prototypes, constantly thinking of how he can find a niche in the market place. He is spending sleepless nights inventing and perfecting a product that will make millions. He is taking loans from banks to give him as much capital as possible to get his product off the ground. He is promoting his idea to everyone he meets--almost irritatingly so. He is meeting with retailers to see if anyone will give him a chance to sell on a large scale. And when he fails, he tries again.

How does the church look in contrast? Too often we Christians just accept our lot. Too often we play it safe in the padded pews of our sanctuaries and the cozy walls of our homes. Too often we grow satisfied with the comfortable norm, lazily going through the motions. Doing. Just. Enough. To get by.

Where is the risk? Where is the mentality that says: "I am going to do something, anything for my God"? Where is the hunger that dreams: "I am going to do whatever it takes to reach my community with the gospel of Jesus"? Where are the sleepless nights for the Kingdom of Heaven?

We need to become entrepreneurial Christians. Christians who are shrewd in our generation. Restless. Hungry. Inventive in our service of a God who has given us so much.

What might that look like? You decide.




"Why are gamblers for gold so many, and gamblers for God so few?" --C. T. Studd

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