Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today. Lest, when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and a thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the hard rock; who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end. Then you say in your heart, my power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth. And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day (Deuteronomy 8:11-19).
God Loves Business
As I pastored for thirty-three years, I met many wonderful business owners who loved the Lord and helped contribute to the building of church buildings and sponsoring of missionaries, orphanages and homes for alcoholics and pregnant young women. It seemed that so many, early in their business career, gave God all the credit for His guidance and financial blessing to begin their business which was more successful than they had ever dreamed possible. Yet, I watched so many eventually fail as they became disconnected from the church and their relationship with the Lord and began to build their life around making more money instead of looking for more ways to serve the kingdom of God.
This verse in Deuteronomy was directed to the whole of the population of Jews coming into Canaan but was especially directed toward those who were gifted in business. God’s message to them was not to forget the Lord when the prosperity began to come in. God gave them the power to make money to win souls, help disciple believers and establish the covenant of God in the earth. The simple message of Deuteronomy 8:11-19 is “keep God and others first in your thinking, not you.”
One of the great hazards of the Christian businessman is to forget the great blessings God has given which led to the formation and opening of the business. And, to think it was his own wisdom and intuition that built the business to what it is today. God loves to get involved in the life and decision making of business leaders. God originated business and the first businessman in the word was Adam.
God’s Plan for Business
Adam’s job was to work and protect the ground in the Garden of Eden. All business comes from the ground. Metals, wood, minerals, animals, oil and food all come from the ground and return there. We did not create the earth or the abundance of it, God did. God gives it to us without cost. Everything it free. This is God’s grace. Business is not the cost of producing everything from the ground. The ground does not charge for its abundance. Business is the cost of refining, manufacturing and getting the products to the people. Without God, there would be no business. Without God’s guidance there would be no direction and expertise to His disciples to form a business and then become successful. The ultimate use of business capital is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The curse brought on by Adam’s rebellion affected the ground and everything made of it. When the curse hit the dust, thorns, weeds, pests and storms suddenly rose up to threaten Adam’s business. The curse still exists today against business because the curse on the ground still exists. Taxes, permits, laws, cost of building, depreciation, permits, regulations and other forms of opposition still exists today against business. Yet, the Lord told Adam that he would still eat of the ground, but with much sweat and toil (Genesis 3:17-19). Meaning, that business can succeed despite the curse of Adam, crime, government or competition.
Business Connects the Church with the World
Business is God’s bridge between the world and the Church. Solomon tells us “the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just” (Proverbs 13:22) and business is one of the ways God funnels the wealth of the world into the Church. Each believer who tithes and gives offerings into God’s work is an individual bridge from the world into the Church. But, business owners are large bridges to bring much wealth into God’s kingdom. God created wealth and the world took over the wealth through the fall. Through the cross, God redirects the wealth back into His kingdom through those who have accepted Jesus as savior. God is still looking for righteous business owners to fulfill His will and bring the wealth of the world into God’s house.
One Christian business owner told how his goal was to personally give 90% of his personal wealth into the kingdom of God and keep 10% for himself. Before he died, he arrived at that goal and said the 10% was more than he ever needed. You just cannot out give God. Money given to the kingdom of God with the right motives will always produce an abundant return. God will never allow the righteous man to be forsaken or his children abandoned to beg bread.
All God asks of the businessman is not to forget the Lord and His goodness who helped you begin your business. Do not look to your own wisdom and intellect to increase your business but allow the God who began it to continue to guide you into greater wealth and prosperity. There is no limit to the wealth God will bring to an individual who will continue to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
Simple Things to Prosper Your Business
First, remember that God loves business. The world and society around us may ridicule you for desiring to prosper, but that desire came from God. Just don’t allow the desire to prosper turn into greed. Keep God and His kingdom foremost in your mind. Remember, when you get to heaven, there are two things God will never say to you, “you attended church too much” and “you gave too much money into the kingdom.”
Second, remember, next to God, the one who makes your business prosper is the customer, not the employees or your business plan. I ran into a department store in the mall late one night about ten minutes before the store closed. I needed to buy a few clothing items and made it to the register about a minute before they locked the doors. The employee was counting the money in the till and told me to go to the register in the next department. When I got there, there was no one there. I found an employee on one of the aisles and asked if he could help me, but he told me he was putting out the new fall line to hang up the next day. It took me about five more minutes before I found someone who would check me out and they only did it because they felt they had to. I was last on all the employees list to assist. When I left, I told myself I would never go back to that store. They seemed to forget who put the money into the register to count or who provided the capital to purchase the new fall line. It was the paying customer.
My wife and I went on a cruise along the coast of Mexico and one night we were invited to meet the captain of the ship at dinner. We walked by his table and I felt honored to meet the man who directed the ship. Then I thought, “no, he is honored to meet the ones who paid for this cruise and make his job possible.” The most important people on the ship were not the crew, but the paying passengers.
Walmart has a policy that they will give your money back even if you did not buy the product at their store. That might sound radical, but it brings in more money than it returns. People like the fact that they are placed as number one. When Nordstrom began, the owner was having a business meeting. He told his employees, if someone brought a tire into the store and wanted their money back, to give it to them. One of the employees spoke up and said that Nordstrom did not sell tires. The owner told him, “I told you to give them their money back”. That is putting customers first.
Third, keep your word. This will save a lot of money in advertising. What causes a business to prosper more than anything is doing what is promised. Do you want to make money? Keep your word. You will truly stand out among your competitors.
I called a company to come and pour concrete at my house and took off work to meet them when they arrived. They did not show up and finally, an hour later, I called them. The receptionist told me they had something else come up and could not make it. I asked her, “did the truck driver break his hand?” She told me no and I said, “then why couldn’t he call me and let me know?” I told her to forget the concrete. Integrity and dependability are two simple things which cost you nothing but produce so much.
Don’t Forget the Lord Your God
The God who led you and prospered your business is still smarter than you. Do not replace the guidance of the Holy Spirit with your own plans to expand and prosper (James 4:13-16). The only thing the world has is projections and expectations. They are not omniscient. But the Holy Spirit is. Do not replace the Bible and its promises with the Wall Street Journal. Market predictions will never reach the level of the guidance of God. God knows what areas will prosper and produce and if a coming slowdown in the market is coming or a financial collapse. It is He who gives you power to get wealth so His covenant can be established. And, He who has begun a good work in your business will complete it.