Sattler Values: KingdomJune 24, 2022 2023-10-17 15:01
Sattler Values: Kingdom
Sattler Values: Kingdom
Advancing the Kingdom Through Business
The Kingdom of God must affect every aspect of our life today. In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus prays for the kingdom of God to come to earth as it is in Heaven (Matthew 6:10). As a student of business, I am forced to wrestle with the ways that the teachings of Jesus should affect how I pursue business. Do all of Jesus’ teachings on finance apply to business owners today? When Jesus says to love my enemy, how should that affect how I treat my business competitors’ interests?
Sattler College stresses the importance of reading our Bibles Christocentrically. To do this, one must read the entire Bible through the lens of Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God, and his teachings are essential and binding on us today. President Dean Taylor challenges Sattler students with his poignant question: “Can you be a follower of Christ without following Christ?” This statement cuts to the heart; while many may agree that you must follow Christ to be a faithful believer, their lives show a completely different example.
The fact that the kingdom of God is here should fill true disciples’ lives with excitement. We are not merely punching our tickets for a future reward, but we can participate in the Kingdom now. The Gospel of Matthew says that the “kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). We as disciples not only get to participate in the Kingdom now, but we can share the message with the entire world.
Businesses can be a key driver in furthering the Kingdom’s advancement. Those in the professional world have a tremendous opportunity to point the world to the kingdom of God. Many people spend roughly 34-35 hours working every week.1 That time provides many opportunities to relate with unbelievers. The attributes of love, forgiveness, non-retaliation, and generosity should set Christian business owners apart. A life governed by the teachings of Jesus is a clear way to show that Christians are operating from a different set of values. The Kingdom of God is here—now—on the earth, and our business must be a representation of that.
One of the tasks in Sattler’s Business 101 class was to give presentations on a Kingdom business. This pushed each one of the students to find businesses that are operating by kingdom ideals. We looked for things like the company’s message, vision statement, products, leadership, and more. We then wrestled with questions like: does a kingdom business need to be overtly Christian (e.g., displaying Bible verses on their website), does the owner need to be a Christian, do they need to be offering good in the world, and many more. The exercise forced us to evaluate what it means to be a Christian business. Often, we would disqualify a business as a kingdom business based on that business not following Biblical teachings.
One clear distinction for a Kingdom business should be its focus on loving its neighbors. The Gospel of Matthew says to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39) How might a business owner put that kingdom teaching to practice in business? As one example, Eventide sees their stakeholders as their neighbors. The stakeholders include: “customers, employees, suppliers, host communities, the environment, broader society.”2 Eventide goes on to say that “a good business loves its neighbors. It just so happens that loving your neighbor is also good for business.” Profit is necessary for a business to stay afloat and employ people, but a business leader who makes profit his sole focus can cause harm to his wider range of stakeholders, his neighbors. Good neighbors recognize and admire other good neighbors. In short, loving the stakeholders of your business may, in turn, help your company become more appreciated as a Christian witness and be profitable—with a growing capacity to do good in society.
The teachings of Jesus in the Gospel should cause each one to pause and evaluate if they are faithfully putting them into practice. At Sattler, we believe that Jesus’ teachings should direct our everyday life. Business is no exception. Business owners must wrestle with the hard teachings like loving their neighbors. When the teachings of Jesus are put into practice, businesses have an excellent opportunity to show the world how the life of a true disciple should look. May our love for Christ be the motivation for living a life of faithful obedience to his teaching, and may we further His Kingdom with all of our lives.