Creating Wealth for God’s Glory and the Common Good

by João Mordomo

It is now three years since the Global Consultation on The Role of Wealth Creation for Holistic Transformation and subsequent publications. Over the coming weeks we will have a series of articles on wealth creation, reflecting on the eleven affirmations in the Wealth Creation Manifesto, which now exists in 17 languages.

The first two affirmations of the Wealth Creation Manifesto focus on the fact that wealth creation is an overflow of God’s nature, and people are created in God’s image:

1) Wealth creation is rooted in God the Creator, who created a world that flourishes with abundance and diversity.
2) We are created in God’s image, to co-create with Him and for Him, to create products and services for the common good.

These affirmations dwell in the convergence zone between theology and economics, and they serve as the biblical-theological foundation for wealth creation. God is the creator (Gen. 1:1 – 2:4; Neh. 9:6; Ps. 104; Col. 1:16; Rev. 4:11) and owner (Gen. 14:19; 1 Chr. 29:11-12; Ps. 24:1; 1 Cor. 10:26) of the universe, and it is his desire, will, and plan that the world and the people therein flourish with abundance and diversity (Gen. 1:28; Ps. 72:1-7; Prov. 28:20; 2 Cor. 9:8; Rev. 7:9). This is the Old Testament concept of shalom, which theologian Cornelius Plantinga beautifully describes as

The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets call shalom. We call it peace but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness and delight – a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Savior opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be. [1] 

Shalom is revealed and fulfilled in the New Testament as the reconciliation of all things to God through Jesus Christ (Col. 1:19–20). Humanity can thus experience the fullness of shalom: spiritual, psychological, emotional, social, and physical. This is where the second affirmation kicks in: God’s people, created in His image (Gen. 1:26-27) and called for His glory (Is. 43:6-7; Eph. 1:11-12) to serve the common good (Mt. 5:16; Jas. 1:27) can do so by innovating and creating new products and services. It’s the webbing together of God and humans to bring flourishing, prosperity and delight, and it happens by way of wealth creation. Paul seems to be thinking of this “webbing” of God and people for glory and good when he writes about Jesus Christ, “who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Tit. 2:14).

When we do good, everyone wins: we flourish when we help others flourish

This “doing what is good” component of shalom includes a focus on the material and physical issues of human prosperity and flourishing, and recognizes that when we do good, everyone wins: we flourish when we help others flourish (Jer. 29:4-7) and God gets the glory. When we seek God’s glory and the common good — especially when we innovate and create because it is part of our nature as children of God and we dare not do otherwise — we build good societies and disciple nations (Mt. 28:19-20).

My friends at LivFul are wonderful examples of people — and of a company — who are driven by a vision of God as the Sovereign Creator who desires for His creation to flourish, and who for this reason created and called His people as agents of wealth creation through innovation for transformation and prosperity. LivFul is driven by an Isaiah 61 understanding of the dynamic interplay between God and His glory and His people and the common good. That’s why they are deeply invested in producing and supplying the world’s best insect repellent.

Millions of people die each year from insect-borne diseases. Millions more live in misery and suffering due to preventable insect-borne diseases. LivFul addresses this issue head-on through a nature-based product that saves lives, and improves lives, and contributes toward healthy and functioning people and families and communities in many ways, including by lowering absenteeism, by reducing health costs for businesses and employees, and by creating jobs directly and indirectly. In other words, LivFul contributes not only toward prevention, but toward creation… of jobs and wealth, through creativity and innovation. This is what good and godly business is capable of: economic and social and environmental transformation.

If we are not offering our neighbors the ultimate common good — the knowledge and love of God — we are not taking the idea of the common good seriously.

And… AND… spiritual transformation. LivFul’s business model deliberately provides direct and indirect platforms for fully-orbed Gospel proclamation which leads to spiritual transformation in many countries around the world. They have embraced the fact that, as Andy Crouch puts it, “If we are not offering our neighbors the ultimate common good — the knowledge and love of God — we are not taking the idea of the common good seriously”. [2]

When God’s people live out their identities as image-bearing innovators of products and services — be it in their day-to-day activities, through their professions or, as in the case of LivFul and many like them, through their businesses — they fulfill and affirm the goodness of business and the biblical calling to create and share wealth for the common good (Dt. 8:18; Lk. 3:10-11) and God’s glory.

I hope you’ll take some time to read the Wealth Creation Manifesto and the reports that were so thoughtfully crafted, because “We believe that creating real wealth is what God desires from us: wealth that blesses families, communities, and countries. That blessing includes sharing faith and love, providing jobs that are meaningful and reflect the creativeness of our God.” [3]

 

[1] Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans (1995), p. 10.

[2] https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/november/whats-so-great-about-common-good.html

[3] https://www.bamglobal.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Wealth-Creation-Creators-November-2017.pdf, p. 9.

More in this series:

Wealth Creation Manifesto: Affirming the Role of Business People in God’s Plan for the World

Shaping Our Views on Wealth, Wealth Creation and Wealth Creators

Joao Bio Pic 100Dr. João Mordomo is co-founder and vice-chair of Crossover Global, a global church planting organization working among unreached peoples, as well as co-chair of BAM Global and co-Catalyst for BAM at the Lausanne Movement. João serves variously as owner, managing director and board member of several BAM companies, and teaches BAM and other courses as several universities.

 

 

 

 

 

Watch the Wealth Creation Classroom Series

The Lausanne Global Classroom on Wealth Creation is a series of short 2-5 minute videos based on the work of the Wealth Creation Consultation

More Resources

Download: PDF of the Wealth Creation Manifesto

Read: Wealth Creation Manifesto with Bible References

Read: Calling the Church to affirm Wealth Creators

Download: Wealth Creation Papers:

Click on image to open BAM Global Reports page

 

 

Photo by Dương Trí on Unsplash