The First Entrepreneur
God created us to be co-creators with him, to do “the things that God has done in creation—bringing order out of chaos” to create new things for the good of others. God is calling us to be entrepreneurial.
Fuller Seminary president Richard Mouw put it this way: God is an entrepreneur. He leveraged His resources at great cost to Himself. He made space in the universe for us. So, if you see a human need not being met, you see a talent that can meet that need, if you invest your resources so that the talent can meet that need, and you create new value in the world, new goods to be shared, better quality of life, or human community flourishing, then what you’ve done is not just godly, but God-like
Why We Create
Everyone knows the cliché that nobody lies on their deathbed wishing they had spent more time at the office. While imminent death certainly clarifies what is and what is not important in life, this cliché is based on the myth we have already debunked that work is inherently bad and meaningless. By adopting God’s motivations for creating as your own, can you envision yourself on your deathbed wishing you had spent more time using your entrepreneurial skills and creativity to reveal God’s character and love others?
What We Create
God cares deeply about what we create. Entrepreneurs are empowered to create products that reveal his character and love others. Where is God moving in your cultural context today? Where do you see an opportunity to create a product that will make him better known through the revelation of his character or service to humankind? The number of products we can create in line with these objectives is only limited by our creativity and our attunement to the Lord’s movement around us. “Find out the will of God for your day and generation,” be on the lookout for where the true Aslan is moving, and use your God-given abilities to create products that join him in his work.
How We Create
For those of us who are called to create, we are never done thinking about how the priorities of our Caller impact the why, what, and how of our creating. Maybe God is showing you opportunities to demonstrate excellence in everything your business does, maybe he is showing you innovative ways of prioritizing people over profit, or maybe he is showing you something else entirely. It is up to you to do the work of communing with your Caller regularly to discern where he is calling you to act next.
Trust, Hustle, and Rest
Rest is what we are all craving. It doesn’t take long to realize that rest means more than simply spending time out of the office. With the lines between work and home almost totally blurred, it can seem impossible to disconnect physically and mentally from the demands of incessant productivity. Even when we are at home, we are checking email, Instagram, calendars, and so forth. We are always doing. We are restless.
How can we find the rest we all so desperately long for? St. Augustine provides the answer: “Our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in You.” We will be restless until we rest in God alone. For those who are called to create, this means that while we should certainly hustle, we must first trust in God who, throughout history, has been faithful to provide for his people. If we trust in God’s character and steward the talents he has given us well, we can rest knowing that the results are in his hands, that he is in control and is working everything for our good. This is the only path to true and deep rest behaviorally, mentally, and spiritually, and it begins with our submission to the God-designed art of Sabbath.
Responding to Failure
The inability of entrepreneurs to respond openly to failure has led to an epidemic of depression and, in the most dramatic cases, suicide. According to a study by Dr. Michael Freeman, a clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco, thirty percent of entrepreneurs experience depression, making entrepreneurs more than four times more likely than the average American to be clinically depressed.
For those of us who are called to create, some level of failure is inevitable. The nature of creating new things is that it is risky. In the words of pastor Erwin McManus, author of The Artisan Soul, “We cannot live to create and be surprised that we have traveled through failure.” Knowing that adversity and failures are coming our way, how are we, as Christians, to respond? Because of the gospel, we can respond with uncommon hope, transparency, and boldness.
Renewing Our Minds
Everything around us tells us that the point of entrepreneurship, creativity, and life itself is to make a name for ourselves, to accumulate wealth, to build our personal brands, to cut costs at the expense of quality, and to view people as soulless transactions. If we choose to expend our creative energies sacrificially, we are choosing to be misunderstood and perhaps even mocked. In the words of the apostle Peter, we will be living as “aliens and strangers” in a world waiting to be redeemed and remade by the First Entrepreneur.
If we are to thrive as entrepreneurs who create for the glory of God rather than ourselves, we will need to augment reality. We will have to daily put on metaphorical lenses that overlay eternal truths over our world. How do we do that? Through the constant renewing of our minds. In Romans 12, immediately after Paul urges us to lay down our lives as a “living and holy sacrifice” to the One who has called us to create, he says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:1–2 NASB).