The Beatitudes are probably the most recognized part of history's most famous sermon, The Sermon on the Mount. It was preached by none other than Jesus Christ Himself. The scene is set, the multitudes have poured in to listen to the Savior, their hope.
The time has come, ears are ready to listen so as words from heaven begin to descend, Jesus ascends up the mount, takes His position, sits and begins to teach.
The words He uttered were timeless, yet timely. They were eternal, yet immediate. Powerful yet accessible. Life changing. Humbling. Needed still even today.
Entrepreneurs and business owners spend more time interacting with the general public than anyone else. They are often the community changers, the bridge builders, the pact makers, you know the real influencers. They're not Instagram stars begging for a free hotel stay in exchange for "publicity"...Right.
No, these are the ones that change lives for the better, they are challenging people, they are helping people, AND they are doing this on full display of the entire community, if not nations, seeing.
Within the words recorded in the Beatitudes Jesus shows us the characteristics of a faithful follower of Christ. These characteristics are our testimonies before the Lord and put on display our faith publicly before men and women. ***Cough, cough*** business owners.
To change our culture, business owners and entrepreneurs, I want to encourage to reflect your life against the Beatitudes and use them as a mirror. Do your actions compel people to come closer to Christ or do they repel them?
1.) Total dependence
The first characteristic Christ conveys to his hearers is that of recognizing our absolute need for Him. Blessed are the poor in Spirit. It is true that often times in the Bible and even in today's present age we see Christian's likened to the poor.
It isn't entirely uncommon for a Christian to be financially insecure. Just go look at underdeveloped countries and you will often find many committed Christian's, they had nothing to lose and eternity to gain. This, however, is not a call to financial destitution by Christ. This is a call to a complete, unfettered commitment to Christ.
Psalms 51, in my opinion, is the most vulnerable and intimate Psalm penned by King David. He had just lost his son due to the vile sin of adultery, murdered a man and defiled the name of the Living God before many people, a nation in fact.
It is in this poem David remembers that without God, there is no hope, joy or real satisfaction. He is crying for God to make him white as snow, completely pure. He wants to have the joy he experienced at knowing and experiencing the salvation of the Lord.
Although what David did was terribly wrong and a colossal failure, it was through that, he was reminded of his need for God. As Christians, Jesus informs us that we will find true internal pleasure as we seek to rely on him, to be poor in Spirit.
As a business owner or entrepreneur, you know the importance of faith greater than most people. You are, at times, livin' on a prayer. Building a business is hard, it ain't for the weak at heart. Jesus openly invites you to rely on Him entirely.
You have an opportunity to turn over your life to God and trust the outcome to Him. If you do this, your failures give way to victories. Your losses turn to blessings. Your trials lead to influence.
I know the Beatitudes aren't written directly to business owners or entrepreneurs. But here is the thing, as Christians we often feel compelled for whatever reason to compartmentalize our lives. We try to live in the sacred one day and the secular the next.
This just should not be. Jesus is writing to ALL Christians. These Beatitudes teach us how to live life, not how to act in church. They show us the characteristics of a believer, not the characteristics of only a pastor. It is high time for Christian business owners to claim that truth.
You can, no you should, glorify God all day, every day no matter the circumstance and understand that the greatest thing you can do for your business is to commit to the Lord and acknowledge I am Blessed because I am poor in Spirit and utter, "I need you, Lord."
2.) The Promise
The truly remarkable thing about the Beatitudes is there is always a promised outcome. Jesus doesn't leave us hanging on the edge with statements like Blessed are the poor in Spirit...He closes the statement with, "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
I am reminded of the Passage in John 14:1-4, where Jesus is encouraging His disciples with great news. After telling them, someone in their midst is going to betray Jesus, and telling Peter he is going to deny Jesus, He offers them a great source of encouragement.
Jesus lets them know it is all going to work out in the end. He tells them, and us, He is going to His Father's house in heaven where there are many mansions or permanent places to live.
Jesus loves us so much He is going to prepare a place for us in heaven, a place we never have to leave. A place that moth or rust has not touched. A place where disease doesn't exist, a place to live eternally with our Creator.
That is the promise He gives to those who understand their need for Jesus, in salvation and life. If we are willing to commit all to Jesus, He has committed a whole kingdom to us, to live with Him forever.
3.) Living this out
Paul urges us to walk worthy of the calling we have received (Eph 4:1) He is not speaking to a particular career path as we often assume when we hear this word calling. Instead, he is speaking to the life we have been called to, specifically the life of a Christian.
I believe Paul is drawing emphasis here as our calling is proved by the life that we live. James even implores his readers to show him their faith without their works, and he will show them his faith by his works (James 2:18) He isn't telling them that they need to work for their salvation, but he is saying if you are genuinely saved your life should show that.
This is why it is so vital for us to live out our faith in the workplace before our employees, co-workers, business partners, and community. Society has incredible distrust for the church and Christians in general, simple conversations of their need for Jesus doesn't always work.
Those conversations are needed, but you can undo your words by your actions. Imagine how much more convincing Christianity is when an employee sees your business begin to waffle due to the economy, maybe tax hikes or even opposition to your faith.
Sales decline and tough conversations are happening about the future. In the midst of this, they are leaving work for the day walking past your office with the door shut, but the light is on, they stop and hear you talking. They figure out you're praying for God's provision and direction.
Your business recovers against all the odds, and just like Gideon's fight, the battle was so great, and fighter's so few only God can be given credit for the victory. That is a convincing testimony.
Why? Because you are poor in Spirit and have confidence that no matter what happens you have a home in heaven awaiting you. Maybe, just maybe, your employee does now too as they have seen your faith in action.