It is easy to pray the Lord’s Prayer without really thinking about the words isn’t it. ?Neil Hudson?(p. 9) challenges us to think a little more deeply (and indeed carefully) about what we are praying:
These are big words. These are huge words really. Hallowed. Kingdom. Your Kingdom?come. Your will be done. Lead us not into temptation. Deliver us from the evil one. These?are big concepts that Jesus introduces to the disciples who want to learn how to pray. But?you need to hear as well that they are subversive words. They are words that long for?something different. They are words that say may the beauty of heaven and the truth of?heaven, the justice of heaven, may something of the righteousness of heaven be seen?here on earth. May you make a difference, may it change. May it change down my street.?May it change in my family. May it change in my workplace, may it change on my frontline.?May Your will be done. May we see a difference.
Dr Rod St Hill, Dean of the School of Business at Christian Heritage College, Brisbane, is the?co-author/editor of the just released report from the Business as Mission Global Think Tank entitled, “Your Kingdom Come,?Your Will Be Done??In Business: Biblical Foundations for?Business as Mission”??(see Table of Contents opposite). ?
The report takes a very serious look at what it might mean for the kingdom to come in the world of business and provided a through discussion about how the world of business might contribute to God’s purposes in the world.
Here’s the Executive Summary but anyone involved in the world of business and entrepreneurship would benefit greatly from reading the full report:
The Biblical Models of Transformation Through Business Practices Issue Group (BMIG) focused on developing a Biblically sound and practical understanding of business.
The group defined its purpose as identifying principles, models and practices of business that give expression to its role in advancing God?s purpose or mission in the world. The group operated on the basis that, broadly speaking, God?s purpose is to establish His Kingdom?a Kingdom to be fully consummated with the second coming of Jesus Christ, but inaugurated in ?this present age? (Tit 2:11?14).
The group acknowledged that profit matters in any business, but that profit is not the?raison d?etre?for business as mission (BAM). Profit is necessary to sustain an enterprise and it can also finance good works of various kinds. But a different p-word motivates BAM practitioners?purpose, specifically God?s purpose.
The group set about its work in four areas, namely the overarching or integrating theme of God?s purpose in the world, the role of business in serving people, the role of business in creation care and the role of profit.
Regarding God?s purpose, the BMIG proposed that the creation mandate is foundational and that redemption of all of creation is God?s desire. An important barrier to the role of business was identified as the sacred?secular (Sunday?Monday) divide. Although this divide is now widely recognized the remedy is quite possibly to let the world see evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in business.
Jesus was a servant. He served his Father and he served humanity. Serving people ought therefore to be characteristic of BAM. All business does this in a sense?by being the primary means of delivering material blessing to people. Beyond that, business can serve people by delivering social justice.
God loves all of His creation. It is true that humankind is special and we, of all of creation on earth, have the special privilege of fellowship with Him. Nevertheless, God cares for all He created and there are a number of metaphorical scriptures that confer personhood on non-human creation. Business must engage in creation care if it is to fully embrace God?s purpose in the world.
Regarding profit, most of the leading thinkers on business as mission agree that BAM businesses ought to make a profit. Profit is an emotive word that elicits negative comment. However, what is actually objectionable about profit is not profit?per se, but greed (and, perhaps surprisingly, consumerism and the idolization of freedom). There were antidotes to economic excess established in the Old Testament that have counterparts in the New Testament and they are discussed in this report.
Dotted throughout the report are the experiences and thoughts of a number of BAM practitioners (BAMers) who were members of the BMIG. They did a sterling job of balancing the contributions of the academic members who research and write about BAM, but are not experienced practitioners themselves.
Finally, some recommendations are made that might be considered by the business as mission community. These mainly concern the way in which BAM is defined and focus on whether? the spiritual ?bottom line? should be added to the three bottom lines of Corporate Social Responsibility. This report suggests that, properly understood, the bottom lines of economic, social and environmental outcomes are?all?spiritual bottom lines. A new way of conceptualizing business as mission is presented for consideration by the BAM community.
Murray Wright (3 October, 2013)
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