“Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone. for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven.” Proverbs 23:4f (ESV)
Every business spends an incredible amount of energy and focus dealing with money. Building budgets, projecting revenue, managing overhead, handling payroll… money is an inescapable reality of business. Even the soup kitchen has to raise enough funds to pay its bills.
Some would say, “We’re all in business to make money.” If we approach our businesses from this perspective, we will spend our days chasing profit margins that never seem to be big enough. Instead, we should all be in business to make a difference in whatever corner of the world we inhabit. The influence that business provides is too important to leverage it solely to create thicker bank accounts. There’s more to be done that make a profit.
Proverbs 23:4 does not say, “Do not toil.” Nor does it say, “Do not acquire wealth.” If you don’t work incredibly, unbelievably hard, your business will fail. If you don’t learn to be a shrewd manager and bring some cash into your accounts, your business will fail. It also does not say, “Don’t focus on acquiring wealth because it cannot be done.” You can focus all of your attention and mental aptitude on becoming rich, and you will likely do it… and you will lose your joy and sense of purpose in the process.
Your life is too important to spend it making money.
Instead, ask yourself some questions like, “How does my business make a difference?” or “If my business vanished tomorrow, how would its absence affect my community?” Take a long look at your staff and your customers; how is God at work in them because of their connection with you? How would their lives be different if you weren’t there?
While we’re on the topic of money… get over your profit guilt. Business done well is rewarded with dollars, and your business needs them to grow. You are not “taking” money from others when they pay you for your goods or services. Of course, you are too smart to misquote 1 Timothy 6:10; so stop acting like money is evil. Make more of it, become a better manager of it, and use it to make the most difference that you can with the life you’ve been given. Be careful, however, not to love it.