by David Bennett
‘What is the role of wealth creation in holistic transformation?’ Have you ever heard a sermon or participated in a small group Bible study that answered this question? If your answer is ‘No’, you are not alone.
Although I have been preaching and teaching the Bible for over four decades, I had never addressed that question explicitly. I had taught about the dangers of obsession with wealth, and the importance of good stewardship of wealth. I had discussed the importance of ethical creation of wealth, and the compassionate sharing of wealth. I had advised foundations and wealthy individuals concerning the wise distribution of their wealth. But I had never taught about the God-given role of wealth creators. I had not highlighted the potential impact of a growing business, not only in lifting individuals out of poverty, but in benefiting entire communities, caring for creation, and introducing people to the good news of reconciliation and shalom through Jesus Christ.
Mats Tunehag, our first Lausanne Catalyst for Business as Mission (BAM), expresses it like this, in a chapter for a book soon to published by the Korean BAM movement:
The Bible talks about wealth in three ways; one is bad and two are good. Hoarding of wealth is condemned. Sharing of wealth is encouraged. But there is no wealth to be shared unless it has been created . . . All too often in the church the issue of wealth creation is misunderstood, neglected, or even rejected. The same thing applies to wealth creators.