In the book Start with Why, Simon Sinek says that what we do must always come from why we do what we do.
He discusses something called the celery test. In his example, a business owner is told by different successful people what he needs to do to be successful. The items vary from celery to M&M’s. A person who doesn’t have a reason, a why, for his business will buy everything and take every piece of advice. However, a person who knows their why has the guidance they need to decide what item is the best to buy. A person who does what they do to promote healthy eating and healthy living know that buying celery is more in line with the why of their business.
I think we need to each identify the why with our finances. Ultimately, it is the why that determines the level of honor God receives with what we manage. Honestly, I think God’s primary concern with our finances is why – not what we do.
Different ‘Why’ Motivations for Christian Business Owners
1. Use a business as a means to free up time for other ministry.
I’m a missional entrepreneur. I see the function of my business to provide the funds necessary for a simple lifestyle. Instead of working to grow my business, I spend less time with my business so that I can use my freedom to be involved in other ministry events. This week, as an example, I’m teaching a Friday night young couples small group, teaching a Sunday morning Bible class, and preaching at church. That means that I’m using weekday hours to prepare to teach when I could have been using that time to grow my business.
Business owners like this see their time and involvement as the way the business blesses the kingdom of God.
2. Use business as a means to give as much as possible.
I know of others who dedicate themselves to make their business as successful as possible. They push for more growth. They study trends and seek to improve efficiency. They dedicate their energy to the success of their business. What drives them is that, as they earn more money, they know they have more money to give to kingdom work. They see giving as the way the business blesses the kingdom of God.
3. Use business as a means to serve as many as possible.
Some business owners run their business as a way to help people, and their profits are a sign of their ability to help people. These are people who consider the value and benefit to others. Everything from their hiring decisions to their marketing decisions seek to bless others. They may create a position to help provide work for someone. They may pay for training just to help a person develop a skill that is important to their own personal development. They may alter a marketing campaign because it could unintentionally influence people to make an unwise decision.
Business owners like this see their service as the way the business blesses the kingdom of God.
If you can’t connect your business to your Christian calling, it will be hard to determine your true reason and motivation for ministry. Above I’ve highlighted three different ‘why’ motivations for a business. The results from each may differ, but all make a positive contribution to the Kingdom of God.
Different ‘Why’ Motivations for Christian Money Management
What we do is often very different in how we manage our money. However, even though we do different things with our money, the ultimate goal is to glorify God in our finances.
1. Cut your expenses so you have more to give.
Despite the fact that I can afford to buy new clothes, I continue to buy used clothes. Even though I could buy a bigger and better car, I continue to drive an older car. I don’t seek to spend the limit of my income because I think this opens doors of opportunity for me to help more people. I find it very fulfilling. I also recognize that there is a negative impact to the economy when I choose not to spend the money I have.
2. Spend more to help those without.
Buying a new car helps the economy. Buying a new house helps the economy. Buying anything helps the economy. When the economy is strong, more people have work. Surely, there are some who buy things simply because they know that creates jobs and helps make the lives of others better. Producing and consuming stimulates the economy and creates jobs.
3. Spend to use what we have for God’s glory.
A family may decide to buy a larger home so they can host people visiting from out of town. A family may purchase a bigger car so they can use it to help drive for church events. A person might buy a lake house so that it can be used for hosting camps.
What each of these groups of people are doing with their money is very different, but their ‘whys’ serve a unified purpose.
What I teach about at Money Help for Christians – frugal, simple, debt-free, and generous living – is one way to express God’s gracious sacrifice for us. But it’s not the only way. Through this blog, I’m seeking like-minded folks who want to join me on a journey of simplicity and frugality. Still, none of the articles on this blog are written to negate the value of how others seek to honor God with their finances.
In the end, we must focus on our ‘why’ and find like minded Christians to encourage us, motivate us, and even challenge us.