The desire to create is natural, it’s ingrained in every child at birth. Watch a child, as soon as they are old enough to think and analyze, their first instinct is to shape available materials into objects of their imagination.
In the last 100 years, the world has taken a technological leap. We are surrounded by every imaginable gadget, conceived and created by innovators who released their creative powers to bring into existence figments of their imagination.
In the beginning, God our creator created the world and by extension the universe out of nothing. He imagined as it should be and called forth everything that we see, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." Genesis 1:1-2
When creating man, God spoke to the Trinity. He said, Now “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1:26.
George Washington Carver 20th century American agriculturist scientist and inventor credited with promoting planting alternative crops to cotton, and being solely responsible for the rise of US peanut production said,
“No books ever go into my laboratory. The thing I am to do and the way are revealed to me the moment I am inspired to create something new. Without God to draw aside the curtain, I would be helpless. Only alone can I draw close enough to God to discover His secrets.”
As a scientist and innovator, he knew the secret to his genius, God. All of us are called to create, it doesn’t matter whether we are scientists, musicians, designers, farmers, traders, manufacturers, singers, beauticians, preachers, or teachers, we’ve all been endowed with different creative abilities:
In this article I will explore how we should imitate God’s creative characteristics in business:
- We are created in God's image
We are created in God’s image; this is the first Characteristic we should exude. Psalm 82:6 says, “I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.' In Romans 8:17 Apostle Paul qualified this statement, "Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
God created in all of us a desire to create. This desire imitates his nature as a creator. Every time we create or see others creating, we take spontaneous delight just like he did during creation. "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.'' Genesis 1:3. This reflects his character in our actions and the actions of others.
The desire to own things goes hand in hand with creating. God owns everything he created. “Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord's thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.” Deuteronomy 10:14. God is sovereign; he’s put a piece of sovereignty in all of us; - our desire to own things. We imitate his sovereignty in ownership of resources.
Owning resources and putting these resources to good use, is not the same thing. This is where we reveal our god-like characteristics. Paradoxically, we put our resources to good use by giving some of them away. When we give to the church, the disadvantaged in the society or the poor, we exude God's giving character;
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
- Using our possessions for God’s Glory
No other generation has seen an influx of worldly possessions like our generation. Pushing innovative boundaries, we have created incredible scientific inventions to make our lives easier and better. Technological breakthroughs in manufacturing processes have poured an avalanche of new products in our midst.
Unfortunately, to quench the world's thirst for an easy lifestyle. We have:
- Developed non-biodegradable products that pollute the environment.
- Some industries in pursuit of supernormal profits have engaged in unethical exploitative practices that prey on the weak in society.
- Some individuals desiring more possessions have engaged in corrupt dealings that cause harm to others instead of good.
- Some cultures have made owning property a near-impossible feat. A few powerful individuals who also double as political leaders have selfishly hoarded the rights to wealth creation subjecting a large part of the population to poverty.
All these actions dishonor God. Paul in 1 Timothy 6:17 cautions “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”
God promises to give us wealth for our enjoyment. However, when we put our trust in wealth, we give birth to greed which is evil in God’s eyes. God blesses us with possessions so that we can serve others and impact their lives for the better. To quote David Steward American Billionaire,
"There's a scripture that's one of my very favorites. It says seek first the kingdom of God and all of his righteousness, and everything else will be added unto you. It means seek to serve first and bring value and make a difference in someone else’s life. If you do, in due season, that will turn around to benefit you in a big way. I like what Martin Luther King said as well. He said, “Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve.”
Are you using your possessions to serve others?
- Exercising Dominion
In his book Business for the Glory of God the author Wayne Grudem writes;
“Human desires to increase the production of goods and services are not in themselves greedy or materialistic or evil. Rather, such desires to be more productive represent God-given desires to accomplish and achieve and solve problems. They represent God-given desires to exercise dominion over the earth and exercise faithful stewardship so that we and others may enjoy the resources of the earth that God made for our use and our enjoyment."
God created us to be interconnected, we cannot achieve any greatness by ourselves. Through teamwork, we can build the Superdome, launch rockets to outer space, build satellites, discover new technologies, increase agricultural production, alleviate hunger, develop new industries and create jobs.
This interconnectivity is bound in the exchange of labor and offering of services. Only humans were given the power to exercise dominion. Only humans can exercise stewardship. The exchange of labor through employment contracts is one way of exercising dominion and good stewardship of resources.
We glorify God when we pay our employees just wages, or when as employees we work hard and with integrity for our employers.
- We are interconnected in business
Business connects all of us, we are either customers, benefitting from the business, employees working for the business, or entrepreneurs operating the business. Business gives us an opportunity to either exercise authority as employers or submits to authority as employees.
Commercial interactions are a way of relating to one another regardless of whether we like each other or not, they give us an opportunity to do good to others. We either offer them excellent goods and services or we offer our talents and gifts. Commercial interactions are a great way of sharing God’s love.
Buying and selling are uniquely human, no other species interacts by exchanging value for money. It's the only activity that pushes us out of our comfort zones to interact with others who may be different from us.
Buying and selling gives us an opportunity to express godly values, - honesty and truth. Jesus Summarized the law in these words, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27. We have a chance to love our neighbors as we love ourselves when we buy or sell.
When we sell shoddy products, give lackadaisical services, fail to keep our business promises or take undue advantage of others, we do not glorify God. Engaging dishonestly with others is a result of living in a fallen world. As Christians, we have an opportunity to reveal God's character to the world through honest dealings.
- The power of money and Profit-making
Christian Businessmen and women grapple with these questions; how much profit is honest profit? is it godly to make a profit? When we add value to the resources we take from nature for the good of others, we should expect to profit from our efforts. Profit-making is global everyone in business expects to make a profit.
Wayne Grudem writes in his book 'Business for the Glory of God' “The ability to earn a profit thus results in multiplying our resources while helping other people. It is a wonderful ability that God gave us and it is not evil or morally neutral but is fundamentally good. Through it, we can reflect many of God's attributes, such as love for others, wisdom, sovereignty, and planning for the future.”
Money is good but money is only a tool that we use for exchange of value. We should not attach our identity to how much money we have. Money is power, it opens endless possibilities of exercising Godly Characteristics:
- We can use money to grow our business to have a greater impact and reach more people to give them value.
- We can use money to transform other people's lives, give them access to a better life by investing in their communities and families.
- We can take the gospel to the remote places of the world and share God’s love with people who do not know Jesus.
- Understanding society’s inequality
The parable of the talents in the Bible is not just a lesson about stewardship, it’s a lesson on profit-taking, diversity of talents, and inequality. In a world that requires diverse skills to accomplish different tasks, God saw it fit to give us different gifts and abilities, this means that we cannot be equal.
God in his sovereignty found it wise to give each of us different levels of stewardship. We are endowed with different wealth creation skills. Each economic level comes with deferring responsibility. Unfortunately, in a fallen world, some people who have more material possessions, have taken advantage of this inequality to oppress those they perceive to be lesser.
Poverty does not glorify God. The Bible talks of being contented in whichever state we find ourselves in; “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:11-12
The world reels under the evil power of sin, Poverty is a result of living in a fallen world. When God cursed the earth, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil, you will eat food from it all the days of your life. By the sweat of your brow, you will eat your food until you return to the ground since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust, you will return. “Genesis 3:17,19
Jesus came to reconcile us back to God, As Christians, we have an opportunity to manifest God's glory on earth, "For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed." Romans 8:19. When you take the burden of others, and, "Do to others as you would have them do to you." Luke 6:31, you manifest God’s glory on earth by loving others.
- Why competition is a good thing
It's natural to compete, this competitive spirit starts early in our childhood, sometimes, like in the case of Perez and Zerah Judah’s sons, in the womb;
“As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, “This one came out first.” But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, “So this is how you have broken out!” And he was named Perez.” Genesis 38:28-29
Competition helps test our abilities to make us better. A system that encourages competition rewards those who do better work for less, making quality products and services accessible to everyone. A good example of how this works is in technology, as we discover cheaper and efficient ways in manufacturing, products become cheaper and better. This increases our standards of living.
Competition is good, it makes us strive to be better, in the words of the late Gianni Versace, fashion designer who said, “It is nice to have valid competition; it pushes you to do better.”
When we imitate God in business, we manifest His attributes and release his power to touch and change the lives of others.