A while back I read an article (link to article) about a Christian using his business to live out Biblical justice. He intentionally employs refugees at his Richmond Chick-fil-A.
“I remember [hearing from] a pastor whose congregation was made almost entirely of refugees from various African nations. I was humbled that the stranger and alien talked about in Deuteronomy were literally in my neighborhood and I didn’t know.” – Eric DeVriendt
My philosophy of Christian business is based around a simple phrase: “Maximize God’s profit without minimizing yours.” I believe DeVriendt is living into this philosophy. Let’s break it down.
Maximize God’s Profit…
Jesus tells a parable in Luke 12 that ends with this:
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” – Luke 12:20-21
The key phrase for me is right at the end: “rich toward God.” Whose profit will you try to maximize? God’s or yours?
I’m going to guess that refugees aren’t in the business plan packet from Chick-fil-A’s corporate headquarters. It’s not easy work to identify, hire, train, and supervise refugees – even though many of them are educated and motivated. There are still major cultural differences and sometimes language barriers to work through. That’s time that could be spent growing the business in other ways. There might be some side benefits for the business, but DeVriendt’s primary motivation is to use his employment power to help people that the Bible says need helping.
When you’re willing to maximize God’s profit with your business, you’re willing to use your capacity to do God’s work. Notice that he didn’t change his core business – he just hired and invested in people who otherwise are forgotten.
…Without Minimizing Yours
Out of 67 employees, 13 are refugees. That’s a large number, but it’s not an unmanageable number. He didn’t hire 67 refugees.
Christian businesses are still businesses. If the Chick-fil-A doesn’t make a profit, those 13 refugees won’t be employed. Notice in the passage from Luke that Jesus talks about those who “store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” He could have ended the sentence after “themselves.” I think Jesus is showing that it’s OK to profit in your business as long as you are maximizing God’s profit first.
Malachi 3:10 puts it like this:
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.
In other words, if you are willing to let God use your business to bless others, he won’t forget about you.
Now a word of caution here. I’m not saying that hiring refugees will prevent this Chick-fil-A from closing down. What I am saying is that God notices faithfulness. We can’t guarantee how he will notice this particular faithfulness, but he does notice.
- Christian businesses can maximize God’s profit by using their opportunities to further God’s purposes
- Ex: employment, employee relationships, stewardship of the planet, products that truly help people
- Christian businesses should still generate profit, because otherwise they wouldn’t be able to make the world a better place
- Ex: hiring some refugees instead of only refugees
So remember: “Maximize God’s profit without minimizing yours.”
- What opportunities do you have to maximize God’s profit?
- When have you seen someone else maximize God’s profit?