Several years ago, I asked the Lord for an idea to help my family make some extra money. I wanted something original, something that was His idea.
One day, as I was praying, I came upon a billboard full of chocolate candies. It was a sign—literally and spiritually! I already had the skills to make chocolate candy; I simply needed to gain understanding about how to turn my skills into a trade.
It was a fun few years of learning and gaining understanding. Keeping my endeavors small at first allowed me to make small mistakes, which cost me $20 instead of $2000. I learned that the biggest trap of a small business is taking too big of a step in the growth cycle. I learned about taxes and employees and advertising. I learned about the politics involved in community commerce.
After about 5 years, the Lord asked me to lay it down for a season. Looking back now, I see that He had some other things to teach me, especially in regards to running a business according to His kingdom, not according to the world.
Two Clashing Systems
The Lord gave me a dream about running a race in a public arena. There were grandstands of people watching the road where we were racing. We made several turns, and the people were cheering. Before I reached the finish line, Jesus was standing in my lane with a stop sign, so I stopped, while the rest of the people finished the race. He pointed to a door under the grandstands, and I followed Him through it. Inside, there were little stations of people hand-dipping chocolates. They were people who I used to minister to in the food pantry where I worked. In the dream, I knew I was employing people who needed jobs and job training, instead of using machinery.
The Lord spoke to me and said, You’ve been doing business wrong. You are not supposed to do business in order to be seen by the world. You are supposed to do business to grow My kingdom. You’ve been programmed to do business by a Babylonian system; now I want to show you how to run a business according to My kingdom.
This really made a lot of sense to me because, in the process of building my chocolate business, the only thing I had to lean on was a worldly system. There were very few resources dedicated to helping a Christian understand how to seek God’s Kingdom first when it specifically came to this area.
A Babylonian system shuts out the leading of the Holy Spirit and establishes itself through pride, greed, and an unhealthy ambition for wealth and power. In Revelation 18, there is a charge to believers to be separate from her and not share in her sins.
Babylon seeks to serve itself and to be seen by others. It results in networks that operate like the people at the tower of Babel—relying on human wisdom to be strong and prosperous, as well as pride that considers itself equal to God.
It’s not that any of the commonly used systems like the Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Development Centers, or Business Networks are evil; it is just that these systems cannot be the thing that Christians seek first. We must seek first the kingdom of God, and then we can correctly filter the systems of this world.
God does not use human wisdom to build things; He anoints His people for their callings. He allows favor to rest upon those who are faithful. He blesses those who rest on the Sabbath and who are generous through tithes and offerings. When we seek His kingdom first, all of these things will be added unto us (Matthew 6:33).
My primary goals were wrong because they were to simply make money, to be publicly seen, and to be a household name. My foundational goal should have been to advance the kingdom of God. Of course, making money or being a household name are not wrong. The problem was that I made those my focus, rather than allowing those things to be by-products of following kingdom principles.
Using a Kingdom Business Model
The Lord left us a very good model in the New Testament—the five-fold ministry found in Ephesians 4. We generally associate this model only with the church, but the wisdom of this structure is effective for business too.
When all of these giftings are present and being used appropriately, the body of Christ flows well. The apostle provides a framework. The prophet hears from heaven. The teacher learns and disseminates information to the sheep. The pastor cares for the hearts and well-being of the people. And the evangelist is the Public Relations specialist who brings sheep into the church.
These same giftings function in business as well. The Business Apostle can see how a structure should be set in place. The Business Prophet is one who intercedes over a company and prophesies the heart of the King into it. The Business Teacher is constantly learning and teaching strategies in both the natural and the supernatural. The Business Pastor oversees how the practices will affect the employees, as well as their clients, ensuring that all the people connected to them are taken care of. The Business Evangelist is like a Public Relations director, always trying to get the word out about how they can help people.
When we seek His kingdom first by applying Ephesians 4 to our efforts, with Christ as the Head, as each part does its work, the business will grow and build itself up in love, not self-centeredness. (Eph. 4:16) As I have witnessed firsthand, when all five of these gifts are present and working together, a flow of the kingdom happens which is simply inspiring!
If you are already in business, ask the Lord to show you if you have apostles, prophets, teachers, pastors and evangelists present. Then ask Him to put those giftings in order within your organization to find the flow of the kingdom.
If you are going to start a new venture, ask the Lord to show you someone with an apostolic and prophetic business gift to help you get started. The kingdom of God is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets; any businesses His people start should be founded on them as well (Eph. 2:20).
A kingdom-minded business is one that announces the same good news Jesus brought—provision, healing, freedom, and redemption to the customers they serve. Apply the wisdom and resources of heaven to what you are building!