[This is the first in a multi-part blog that will explore the topic of God’s Spirit speaking to us, particularly those that share an entrepreneurial calling.]
“He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.” Matthew 25:14-30 (MSG)
Since the beginning of human history and particularly with the death and resurrection of Jesus, God’s Spirit has been speaking to us in regard to how we live our lives and steward our gifts. One of the most intriguing New Testament stories involving investment and in a sense, entrepreneurship, is the parable of the master entrusting his money to his servants. Just how did the first two servants know what to do with the funds given to them? How did they evaluate the risks involved with investing their master’s funds? In this post, I’ll briefly explore the topic of risk-based choices and how we hear from the Spirit in making them. In future posts, I plan to unpack this topic in more depth.
Entrepreneurship is a high-wire act involving significant risk. Spirit-led entrepreneurs are those seeking divine guidance as a strong complement to their innate abilities, acquired talents and experience. Today’s complex business decisions, playing out amidst a rapidly changing competitive environment, require more than textbook application of business principles, general wisdom and common sense. While all of those are indeed important, we would do well to seek for and wait on the voice of the Spirit as we evaluate various choices and take steps involving risk.
God’s Spirit is indeed speaking today, in a variety of ways:
- By bringing Scripture passages to life – giving them relevancy to contemporary problems
- Through relationships and the differing perspective they bring – imparting wisdom to us through those closest to us
- Through the “still, small voice” that comes to us in quietness and a meditative state – subtly nudging us to consider a new or different way of thinking
- Through dreams – bringing illumination to perplexing situations we face
- Through the confluence of events -- when circumstances seem to align in a beautiful or mysterious way, pointing us in a particular direction
19-21 “After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.”
God is honored when we approach him with a posture of desiring to hear him, openly receiving his input for the practical, everyday, work-a-day situations we face. As the story in scripture continues, we can infer that God not only desires for us to step out by taking risks, he is asking us to partner with him in doing so. The faithful servants in this story understood these concepts. And though the story doesn’t illuminate the specifics, I’d speculate that they were quite familiar with their master’s modus operandi – his vision, his methodologies, his expectations.
So how do we make decisions involving investment and risk in our personal entrepreneurial milieu? The process starts with a simple acknowledgement, a posturing of our hearts to say “Spirit, you’re speaking. Spirit, I desire to hear from you and receive your direction. Spirit, I desire to align my story with your Big Story.” From there, we can trust that the Spirit will speak – though it may be nuanced and happen differently than we expect. Over time, as we lean into hearing from the Spirit, I’m convinced we can become better at it – we can actually become more skilled in discerning his voice and direction. While we might not qualify as “experts” at hearing his voice, we can put ourselves in a position to be more receptive to his direction.
When the master in the story found out that his last servant had done nothing with the money he had given him, he was furious. He then went as far as to say this:
“Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.”
The last servant in this story clearly recognized that he had been given something valuable, but was afraid to take a risk. Why? We really aren’t told. But suffice it to say, it didn’t work out too well for him. Let’s encourage each other to invest the time, talent and resources that God has given us. Let’s be intentional in evaluating the risks before us and in seeking the Spirit’s direction in stepping out. We’ll be rewarded as we do.