Starting a Business
What do you have in common with Sam Walton, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates? Plenty, if you’re starting a new business. Your business may not grow to the size of a Walmart, Apple, or Microsoft, but every business is begun by an entrepreneur who has a vision. The French word entreprendre is the root word for entrepreneur and it means “one who takes a risk.” Let’s face it; it’s risky and takes courage to start a business from scratch. A friend is fond of saying, “I learned a lot about business through trial and terror!”
Every new business also starts small; many on a dining room table or in a garage. I’ve been involved in two business and two ministry start-ups and it’s easy to become disheartened by all the challenges of a start up. Zechariah 4:10 has repeatedly encouraged me. It says, “Do not despise these small beginning, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (NLT). Think about that. If you are a follower of Christ and He has led you to start a business, the Lord is rejoicing to see it begin.
Remember, Business is intended to help us grow closer to the Lord, to make a profit, and to be a platform to influence others for Jesus Christ. Therefore, a big part of what God wants to accomplish when you start a business is to develop your character and dependence upon Him. Often, He achieves this by allowing us to face what seem like insurmountable challenges that feel as if they never end.
One of the most amazing start ups in history was the birth of the nation of Israel after the Lord orchestrated their release from 400 years of Egyptian slavery. They found themselves in the desert without food or water for 40 years! How‘s that for an insurmountable challenge that lasts a life time?
And when God miraculously provided manna, the Israelites were to “gather enough for that day” (Exodus 16:4). He only provided enough for one day at a time, and didn’t allow keeping leftovers!
Deuteronomy 8:16-18 reveals how the Lord was using these circumstances to accomplish His purposes. It says, “In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end. Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth.”
The Lord wanted to them to learn to trust and depend on Him alone as He provided their daily food over a long period of time. Often something similar happens in a start-up business. We don’t know how we will meet payroll by the end of the week. We can’t see how we will be able to survive when a competitor introduces a better product at a lower price. We have no other option than to trust and rely on Christ.
If we embrace the challenges of starting a business and seek to use them to grow closer to Christ, it can be one of the most exciting and spiritually productive times of our lives.
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