Back in high school, I loved business class. I dreamed of one day being an entrepreneur who took the business world by surprise by filling a market niche that nobody even guessed existed. I was captivated by managing. Enthralled by marketing. Exhilarated by the possibilities and challenges. I was entranced by the blended necessities of belief in a product, knowing a product and actually having the best product available. I was setting myself up to be a business man. To me, business was the ultimate combination of math, science, history, logic, wit, PR, and pure willpower.
I loved to play the numbers game. Projecting, predicting, and planning entranced me. I would build spreadsheets of mock businesses, plug in numbers, and gratified myself by watching one become two; and two become three. Statistics were my game and calculating my pastime.
Then something changed. I’m not really sure what, and I can’t really say exactly when. However, I likely never will end up with a college business degree or mashing through the business world with some new “must-have” thingamajig. Now don’t get me wrong, I still am intrigued by marketing, PR, managing and all those good things, but no longer do I see myself being the business entrepreneur that I dreamed myself to be in my high school days.
Instead of building my own business plan, I jumped on a bandwagon. God has a business plan which does not fill some cramped niche but rather a gaping need. He has a product that requires no lying and accepts all unemployed. His basic plan is so simple yet so impossible, “that none should perish but all should have eternal life”.
In many ways, business and missions are very similar. Both require a quality product, a firm belief in this product, a marketing scheme, PR, logic, wit, and pure willpower. Business is like missions because missions is God’s business. However, there is a difference.
God is not a God of numbers. In business, numbers tell the story. If my numbers as a vacuum cleaner sales man are five vacuum cleaners sold one year and fifty the next; that spells the ridged difference between success and failure. However, God is not like that. Or perhaps I should say God does not measure our success numerically. His business plan of wanting ALL to be saved is a mathematical statement. “All” is a mathematical term. But God does not pay us by commission.
We do this to much. We get really excited that we have large churches and generous offerings. Growth is measured by bodies and bills rather than truth and sincerity. Kids clubs are measured by the attendance cards rather than hearts that are changed. We “businessify” something that really is not just a business, it’s a war, raging battle, and we add one to one and call two success. Percentages and statistics are nullified. In war it either is or it isn’t. You win or you lose. Numbers are a triviality.
Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t claim to be the first to shout this cry, I’m not. It’s an old battle call. Neither do I minimize the importance of large churches and generous offering. Acts says that three thousand were added to the church in one day and by generous offerings the awesome temple of God was build. However, two mites and a measly dozen of thrown together vagabonds are what Jesus really praised. Two mites. Why not a million? A dozen apprentices. Why not a hundred? Because numbers aren’t in his game.
Taking it to the Good Book I think of the prophets who laboured tirelessly calling God’s Chosen back to him. They were met with a variety of “success” in their work. Jonah, the prophet by force, had Bill Gates-like success. His half-hearted preaching and sleazy attitude was greeted by the entire city of Nineveh repenting and falling in desperate repentance in sackcloth and ashes. However, a hundred years later in the same city the frantic work of the prophet Nahum was met with stone cold resistance. Could it be that Jonah succeeded? Could it be that Nahum failed? The numbers tell a story. Jonah saves a city of hundreds of thousands of people, everyone from the smallest to the greatest. Nahum reports not one. The numbers tell a story but God’s business is not a business of numbers.
So look yourself in the mirror. Stop grading yourself. Godliness is not gained by the amount of tracts you hand out, the amount of people you lead to the Lord or the size of your kid’s club. Two plus two does not equal Christian and each dollar you give will not paint another star on your celestial crown. He is not a God who is most impressed by millions and hundreds, he is a God who praised two mites and taught twelve apprentices.