Do you see a man diligent in his business?

Last week I challenges you with a vision of 2 trillion galaxies and the endless growth of the Kingdom of God.  This week's challenge: Let's get started by considering how to get started with God's endless expansion program.

Last week I proposed to you that our generation for the first time has some idea of the immensity of God's creation.  And that revelation presents us with a challenge that  Psalm 19:1-4 throws at us:

"The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows his handywork.  Day unto day they utter speech and night unto night they show knowledge.  No speech nor language, their voice is not heard; yet their line is gone out throughout the earth and their words to the end of the world."

The Bible says that the cosmos is talking to us. Not with words that you can hear but they have a message to tell all the inhabitants of the world.  And I am not talking here about the usual interpretation of "the gospel in the Zodiac" or Wow, how powerful is our God....yes there are truths there.  I am talking intent. Why? Why did He create 2 trillion galaxies, why give it to mankind, why give us time measured in thousands of generations? Why in fact not just skip this whole weary earthbound creation and not make us directly to wake up in heaven when we first open our eyes, created like the angels, and skip this whole human experience with all its travails?

Lots of questions that we will explore later.  But for now....we are here and Monday morning we have to go to work and there are bills to be paid and life to be lived.  So what does any of this cosmic speculation mean for me practically now?

Well the way I read scripture the fascinating thing about all this is that if you put written scripture together with the message of the cosmos then a wonderful picture emerges. Just one of many scriptures would be Psalm 115 where in verse 14 it says "The Lord shall increase you more and more, you and your children." and in verse 16 it says heaven belongs to God but the earth he has given to men.

But this gift of God of the created cosmos comes with a requirement:  It is still God's property, we get to use it, but He wants a return on His investment. We get leasehold on His property, not title deeds.  Those belong to Christ.  And His commandment right from the beginning in Gen.1:26 has always been...."Be fruitful and multiply and take dominion over all creation".

But in such an immense undertaking, where do we begin?

Well here is an idea and a strategy for you to consider with an illustration from our business news this last week in South Africa.  I know that the news has been dominated by corruption and "state capture" and billions stolen through wickedness in high places.....but there was another story that captivated my attention.  The retirement of Mr. Whitey Basson the CEO of Shoprite/Checkers food supermarkets.

Consider this:
It was announced this week that at the age of 70 Mr. Basson will be retiring at the end of the year.  Several months ago the press and social media were disparaging him because the board of the group awarded him a payout of R100 million.  Well there is a bigger picture here that I want to use to illustrate a point I wish to make.

Mr. Basson was hired by the well known owner of the Pepkor group Mr. Christo Wiese in 1980 to be the MD of a new purchase Pepkor made.  They bought a small group of 8 struggling grocery stores called Shoprite for R1 million and asked Mr. Basson to turn the group around.  36 years later Mr. Basson is retiring and he owns 1,6% of the group of grocery stores he has built over the last 36 years.  Except that group is now over 2,200 stores spread across South Africa and Africa, has 137,775 employees and worth R152 billion.  Mr. Basson 's small shareholding is worth R1,7 billion.  Needless to say he did not really need the R100 million, but a nice gesture of thanks from a grateful board.

Why does a man like Whitey Basson keep going to work every day in his 60's working for a company that he does not own when he is already a billionaire?  The Bible calls that attribute "diligence", a lifetime habit of every day doing the job that you are given to do and do it with "diligence".  Even if it is not your company, even if you are making others rich, you get on with it and you do not stop.

What is our first lesson in taking dominion over all of God's creation:

You must be "DILIGENT" in what the Lord has given you to do! Diligent work over long period of time always produces results.

Prov. 10:4 "He becomes poor that deals with a slack hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich."
Prov 22:39 "Do you see a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings and he shall not stand before mean men."
Prov. "Be diligent to know the state of your flocks and look well to your herds."

Second lesson....SERVICE!

For 35 years Mr. Basson had one thing in mind: What can I do to get the best quality food, to the most people at the lowest cost.  That is the mentality of someone who realizes that business success relies on first having the attitude of service...what needs of the consumer can I fulfil?  What do people need that I can provide?  Mr. Basson revolutionized the grocery supermarket business in South Africa by his vast centralized logistics to get food from factory to consumer in the fastest, cheapest possible way. Today's supermarket behemoths stock anywhere from 20-80,000 items, all for our needs and conveniently placed wherever there is a shopping centre.

Contrast that with the political corruption being exposed today whereby people get rich by taking as much as they can without giving any value in return, all because of political contacts that give them special access to favours and funds.

The scripture tells us:
Phil. 2:5-8  "Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God....took upon him the form of a servant.."

All successful long lasting enterprise is based on service in meeting the needs of people. 

Third lesson....TIME!

All successful enterprise needs time.  It is said the 8th great wonder of the world is compound interest.  It takes time to develop skills and service. It takes time for investments in business and people to work through to profits and growth.  Nothing happens overnight and nothing of great value comes easy.

I can list more items that make for success in life and eternity but I wish to apply the lesson:

I do not like what is happening in the church.  We have taken on a defeatist mentality.  We have a mindset of no time, the end time, it is over etc.  Thus we do not plan, we do not believe in victory.  Our preachers that preach prosperity talk mostly nonsense and unbiblical nonsense at that.  We are given the idea that if I give money to God then somehow miraculously people will give me huge returns on my gift.  This is actually inflationary theft...getting something for nothing.

What Jesus talked about "give and it shall be given unto you, pressed down and running over shall men give unto you"  is happening every day for Mr Basson at Checkers supermarket.  I give my money and I get wonderful supply of groceries.  I say thank you at the till and the cashier says thank you. Why? Because I would rather have Mr. Basson's groceries than my money and he would rather have my money than his stock.  He gets a good deal and I get a good deal. We both got a better deal than when I walked into his store.  He gives and I give, we both get pressed down and running over as Jesus said we would.

We Christians should be the best at business, government, social work, education....anything that requires diligence, hard work, skills, service and cooperation....we should be the best in the world!  Now look at all those things I just listed.  Think of the all the world's activities that require those attributes for success.  Now ask yourself why are we not dominating in those areas?

Because we do not have the strategy for taking dominion over all the works of God's creation. 

Because we do not have leaders who either believe in Gen 1:26 and therefore are not organizing the people of God for dominion.

Now consider this:

We as a continuous organizational entity have been around for 2000 years! Can you think of any other organizational entity that has been around that long?  Studies of empires in history give a time frame for average empire length of about 225 years.  Corporations if lucky are around for 10-20 years.  Nations for about 100 years. 

Mr. Basson built a business in 35 years from 8 stores and R1 million value to 2200 stores and R152 billion value with 137,775 employees.  Same can be said of Brian Joffe at Bidvest starting in 1988 with a R20 million purchase of Chipkins and today he retired this year head of a group of R150 billion value and 50,000 employees.

These people plan and operate in a time frame of a couple of decades....the church needs to plan and operate in time frames of millennia!  Can you imagine what we can do if we had vision as worldwide church of Jesus Christ?  We are in every nation of the world.  We the evangelical/charismatic church are now 700 million strong.  That means 1 out of every 10 people in the world is a born again child of God. My estimate is that one generation of 40 years and we run the world....if we had the vision and the leadership.

The nice thing about the world system is that the Lord has placed a burden on so many secular companies to do His work and do great discoveries which are all to be handed over to His people so that they can inherit the earth.

And God has told them to freely give to the poor.  Consider what Apple has given to us in the IPhone, Google has given to us with free Youtube, free internet search, Microsoft with the PC, Amazon with home delivery, Uber with taxis, Airbnb with rooms for rent, Bitcoin with private money and every new business start up that must give away enormous amount of freebies just to get noticed.  What comes free installed on today's phones someone calculated would have cost you about $600,000 in hardware in the 1980'a.

God has created a cosmos of abundance.  But it needs diligent work to create value.

The greatest value is not the creation of things.  The greatest value that this cosmos can produce are families that invest time, resources and diligence to raise children into the image of our Lord Jesus Christ and present them to our heavenly Father as new members of God's family.  When that happens all of heaven rejoices when one new name is written in the book of life.

Jesus put the value proposition this way...what does it help you to own the world and you lose your soul?  God calls us to take dominion over all creation in order that creation serves its purpose of providing for the growth of families!

Lets catch vision and get going!

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