Prepared by the Apostolate
The following guidelines have been drawn up to assist members of the Church in starting up private businesses in light of the New Covenant's goal to establish the practice of all things in common.
A. God's Will
A. Is the business God's will?
B. Will the nature of the business bring glory to God?
C. Will the business serve the interests of the Kingdom?
D. Are the parties 100% committed? Will they put their whole energy into it?
E. Is the business economically viable? What are the risks?
No business activity will be countenanced by the Holy Order if it is not the will of the Lord. This means that the first action to be undertaken is to determine, through a thorough discussion with the parties to be involved, and then through private and group prayer, if the plan is acceptable to Him. Under no circumstances should action to set up a business be taken without the Lord's permission and blessing because any economic investment is, by definition, with His money, not ours.
To know the Lord's will necessarily entails living close to Him in prayer and active Kingdom service. We have the promise of personal revelation on all matters if we approach Him in real faith, having done all we can first.
B. Bringing Glory to God
To bring glory to God means, in essence, advertising Him with our lives. A business, to honour Him, must be doing certain things:
C. Serving the Kingdom's Interests
(a) It must show people working harmoniously together in love;
(b) It must be His project, not ours;
(c) It must, ultimately, be an advertisement for the Kingdom, and not just be a source of revenue.
All business conducted in the Name of the Church and in behalf of the Church must bring benefits to the whole Church and not just one or two families. It must, in short, be a United Order enterprise.
It's purpose will be to teach the world certain principles:
This means that the products it makes are Zionic. In other words, the products sold must be the products that the Church and its members would be proud to purchase. The goods must be functional and of real practical use. In other words, goods must not be sold simply to make money but must be morally beneficial. For example, acceptable business would include such things as:
(a) What hard work is;
(b) Honest labour and an honest price -- in other words, its purpose will not simply be to make a profit but to serve the community by showing excellence;
(c) It must be seen to be witnessing concretely of Jesus Christ.
Unacceptable business would include such things as:
(a) Selling essential healthy food and non-luxury functional clothes;
(b) Christian and wholesome books, perhaps together with a café, for instance;
(c) Building and servicing homes;
(d) Farm livestock;
(e) Guesthouses, etc.
In short the question should be asked: Is this what Jesus would want me to be doing with my time, money and talents (i.e. His time, money and talents)?
(a) Unessential luxury items of any kind (clothes, jewellry, etc.) that promote vanity (e.g. fashion) and inequality;
(b) Alcohol and tobacco;
(e) Luxury hôtels, etc..
Committment in any business is essential in our cut-throat capitalistic society. This means that the parties undertaking business must be showing by their actions in other spheres (other jobs, housework, child-care, etc.) that they are industrious, orderly, efficient and dedicated. Of course, the market is not the only motivation for such a high standard. It is the standard of Zion itself.
Someone who has not demonstrated a capacity for hard, consistent work is not a suitable candidate for being entrusted the Lord's money and time (time which could otherwise be used for Kingdom work and/or family responsibilities). In short, the candidates must demonstrate the qualities described in Proverbs 31:10-31. In the case of a wife who wishes to go into a business, exemplary domestic service is clearly indicated as a pre-requisite and qualification for business activity.
E. Economic Viability
Any business must be soundly researched and the market carefully studied before to determine if it is viable and if there are risks. If the hand of the Lord is in it, then the Lord will sustain it and the parties may confidently enter into business. But if the parties are not sure if it is the Lord's will, they are under NO circumstances to risk the Lord's money. Such is reckless and irresponsible stewardship.
Moneys used for a business must be raised by the parties themselves. Under no circumstances is money to be used which has been set aside for the Lord's Work, such as tithing, temple funds, missionary funds, etc.. What is paid in tithes and free-will offerings for specific purposes is holy unto the Lord and must be used for the purpose it was originally dedicated. Anything else is robbery of the Lord's Treasury.
If a matter is the Lord's will, the Lord will provide capital, business, profit and the spiritual fruits described above.
Money is the fruit of man's labour, his life; and his life is God's. Administering money is therefore a most sacred responsibility. The saints are only to enter the world system if it is absolultely necessary and then with the Lord's permission and blessing.
The bottom line is, of course, fellowship with God. An answer to such questions cannot be obtained without walking in the Path of Holiness daily with the Lord. This requires an active prayer life -- private as well as group -- and consistant service in the cause of the Kingdom. In short, in means that THE KINGDOM MUST BE PLACED FIRST, in other words, preaching and teaching the Lord Crucified to a perishing and desperately needy world. That, and that alone, is to be our first task. Economic considerations of all kinds, including the establishment of business, are a very firm second.
Money is not an end but a tool. The Lord, it must remembered, also provides for His servants in miraculous ways and is not dependant on the world system. Neither should we be. As Elijah was fed in the wilderness because he was a 100% committed servant, so also shall we be.
This page was created on 15 April 1998
Last updated on 15 April 1998
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