Entrepreneurs for Christ

Luke 19:13 - And he called ten of his servants and gave them minas, and said to them, "Do business with this until I come back."

Also Read "The Parable of the Minas" in Luke 19:11-27 and "The Parable of the Talents" in Matthew 25:14-30.

Somehow "Entrepreneurs for Christ" doesn't sound too biblical. It seems to convey an idea of some kind of commercialization of Christianity--maybe even false advertising schemes and questionable business practices. This is certainly understandable in view of our conditioning to the many scheming and greedy entrepreneurs who surround us in our society. But strictly speaking and properly defined, an entrepreneur is not an unprincipled opportunist or "wheeler-dealer" but rather one who organizes, manages and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise. With that definition in mind, let us pose the following question. Does the Bible teach that growing Christians should be entrepreneurs for Christ?

In Ephesians 5:16 and Colossians 4:5 we are exhorted to "make the most of every opportunity." Is there any better way to answer, "yes," to the question we posed? This entrepreneuring for Christ, of course, is not the idea of forming a Christian business in order to make money, or getting ourselves into the Christian yellow pages phone book! That approach to livelihood is not necessarily wrong but is not what we mean by entrepreneuring for Christ. And more effective fund raising schemes for TV evangelism is not what entrepreneuring for Christ is all about either! The context of Ephesians 5:16 and Colossians 4:5 indicates that the growing Christian is the enterprising Christian who looks for and takes advantage of opportunities to advance the kingdom of God in this evil world. Are we this kind of entrepreneur for Christ? How many golden opportunities are we missing right now to "make hay while the sun shines?"

When we speak about entrepreneuring for Christ in this way we are not just talking about daily witnessing although that is certainly part of it. We all must acknowledge that hardly a day goes by where we don't miss at least one opportunity to share Christ with a fellow employee or student or neighbor. But enterprising Christians do more than witness. They are concerned about being the most effective and efficient with their time and opportunities to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. They are creative and innovative when it comes to crossing barriers that hinder most of us from being more productive for the Lord. They look for "open doors" to begin new ministries. They involve their time and talents and money in organizing and managing projects for the Lord. Let's face it! Many of us use our abilities to successfully organize and manage all kinds and sizes of projects--either as our jobs or hobbies. Why not direct more of our planning strategy into ventures for Christ? Some of the most fruitful ministries in your church or community are yet to be thought of!

Entrepreneuring for Christ is a principle that is taught in the parable of the minas or pounds (King James Translation) in Luke 19. One of the first things we notice about this parable is that it sounds very similar to the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. (Talents and minas were both amounts of money in Jesus' day.) Upon closer analysis, however, we find that the parables are significantly different. In the parable of the talents, the servants are given different amounts of money, while in the parable of the minas the servants are given the same amount of money. In the parable of the talents, the different amounts of money are given out on the basis of the different abilities of the servants. But in the parable of the minas, every servant gets the same amount of money, regardless of his ability. In the parable of the talents, the rewards of the faithful servants are the same irrespective of their relative successes. However, in the parable of the minas, the rewards are different depending on the success of the servants.

It doesn't require a whole lot of insight to see that the the main point of the parable of the talents is faithfulness; not success. The master's statement of praise is, "Well done, good and faithful servant," and not "Well done, good and successful servant." The 2 talent servant received the same praise as the 5 talent servant because both were faithful in carrying out their responsibilities to the best of their abilities. Will we hear the Lord say to us some day, "Well done good and faithful servant?" Remember, the Lord does not require from you more than you have been given. Not every Christian is a 5 talent person. However, every Christian has been entrusted with some responsibility in the kingdom which is in line with his ability. The question we are forced to ask ourselves after analysis of the parable of the talents is not, "How much successful Christian service am I doing'" but rather "Am I faithfully fulfilling my divinely appointed responsibilities?" Don't ask what your responsibilities are if you are notinvolved. Involvement in the things of God is the key to finding out your responsibilities in the Kingdom of God.

After a study of the parable of the talents, we may get the idea that the Lord is only concerned about our faithfulness and is not interested in our success. However, the parable of the minas teaches us that such is not the case. In this parable, the servants who receive praise from the master are both faithful, but they are rewarded on the basis of their "business success" with the money that was entrusted to them. Remember that each servant started out with the same amount of money. The only difference was that one faithful servant was more successful than the other faithful servant. The more successful faithful servant was the more enterprising servant. He found and took advantage of opportunities to invest the one mina and turn it into 10 minas. The other faithful servant was faithful but not as successful. In this parable, then, in contrast to the parable of the talents, the faithful servants are rewarded not only for their faithfulness but for their success.

The application of this parable is now quite obvious--but also quite convicting. As servants of the Lord, we are not only expected to be faithful in our various areas of responsibility. We are supposed to be enterprising faithful servants. We are to be as effective as possible in "doing business" with the opportunities God gives us. We all differ in abilities and responsibilities and spiritual gifts but we all have one life of 24 hour days to invest. Every Christian is on an equal footing here. In this respect, we have equal opportunities to be entrepreneurs for Christ. Are we more than faithful with the 24 hours that pass by each one of us every day? Are we "making the most of every opportunity?" What about the opportunity to start some kind of summer children's outreach in your backyard? What about the opportunity to write for the Lord so that when you are gone your ministry will continue? Opportunities neglected are lost forever!

Entrepreneuring involves risk. To be an entrepreneur for Christ may involve risking your reputation. You may be labeled a fanatic for your zeal. Your joy of being just one happy member of the group may be risked. Because entrepreneurs are always pressing ahead and setting the pace, they are constantly questioned by the faithful who are not as enterprising. You may end up risking your financial security. Starting new ministries, for example, generally involves the money of those with the vision. But go ahead anyway and risk it! God will not let you down and He will bless you for being an entrepreneur for Christ. Obviously, we are not to be enterprising to the point where we are "running ahead of the Lord" or just "doing our own Christian thing" and answering to no one. And we are not to be so risk-oriented that we fail to "count the cost." (See Luke 14:25­35.) When our entrepreneuring for Christ is directed by the Spirit of God we will not be ahead of His schedule and the risk will be a "sure bet." Furthermore, we will find that spiritual sisters and brothers will join us and support us in our endeavors.

The difficult part of the parable of the minas as well as the parable of the talents is the interpretation of the unfaithful servant. In the parable of the talents it appears that the unfaithful servant must represent an unbeliever because of his destiny. He is cast out into "outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 25:30). He ends up in Hell because he is not a true believer but only a professing servant. There are many unfaithful servants today involved in our Christian churches and organizations and institutions. They are failing in their responsibilities to make known the gospel of Jesus Christ. They pose as Christian leaders and workers but they have no real love for Christ. In fact, many believe and propagate untruth concerning the Master (Matthew 25:24). It would have been so much better if they would have at least carried out their responsibility of standing on the side of biblical truth--even if they were not personally committed to the Master. Then at least there could have been some "interest" as a few of their flock or students responded to the Word of Truth (25:27). But no, these wicked servants actually tear down the Person and work of Christ and undermine the Word of God and lead their followers astray--all in the name of Christianity! How often a student, for example, after taking a course in a so-called Christian university from a so-called Christian professor ends up a skeptic both of the Bible and the faith of his fathers. The responsibilities in the kingdom that these "wolves in sheep's clothing" have assumed and buried because of their unbelief are therefore removed from them and carried out by true servants (25:28).

But what about the unfaithful servant in the parable of the minas? Does he also represent an unbeliever or do we have here an example of a believer who is neither faithful nor enterprising. We can't be sure because his destiny is not given. He is not part of "the enemies" that are destroyed in verse 27 because they are the "hateful citizens" of verse 14. But some of the same things that are said about the unfaithful servant in the parable of the talents are also said to this unfaithful servant so that he mayrepresent an unbelieving professing servant. If he does, then the same lessons we've seen from the unfaithful servant in the parable of the talents apply here. If, on the other hand, this unfaithful servant represents a believer who has wrong ideas about how our gracious Master deals with us, then the parable of the minas becomes a very stern exhortation to be faithful entrepreneurs for Christ.

The "handkerchief" of verse 20 is actually a sweat cloth. "Handkerchiefs" in those days were not for blowing noses but for wiping sweat from the face during labor. The unfaithful servant had used his sweat cloth for wrapping his mina instead of wiping his sweat! There are many believers today who should be sweating a little more in their efforts as entrepreneurs for Christ. But because of distorted ideas of their Master they have chosen to limit their efforts of entrepreneuring for Him to a "no sweat" policy. Such an attitude results in loss of opportunities now and loss of reward later. Let us be faithful entrepreneurs for Christ and "make the most of every opportunity."

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