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A Cup of Cold Water: Business and the Stewardship of Creation

by Mark Polet

It is now three years since the Global Consultation on The Role of Wealth Creation for Holistic Transformation and subsequent publications. During August and September 2020, we’ve published a series of articles on wealth creation, reflecting on the eleven affirmations in the Wealth Creation Manifesto, which now exists in 17 languages.

The purpose of this blog is to reflect and comment on the eleventh affirmation of the Wealth Creation Manifesto:

11. Creation care is not optional. Stewardship of creation and business solutions to environmental challenges should be an integral part of wealth creation through business.

The Wealth Creation Manifesto is an integrated whole, and so I would like to continue from Dr. Rod St. Hill’s blog on affirmations 7 and 8. Rod argues that the BAM movement is committed to the quadruple bottom line – economic, social, environmental and spiritual. He then quotes Amartya Sen, saying threats to environmental sustainability is an ‘unfreedom’ that must be overcome to foster development.

Creation is a gift from God. Eons ago, God created everything we need right now for our businesses. What are we going to do with the gift?’ Specifically, how do we “set the captives free” [1] answering the challenge given by Rod St. Hill?’

Part of the answer lies in Matthew 25:

‘35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

Many of the unreached areas also have the highest water stress and/or the poorest air quality. [2] What if we as wealth creators provide clean water, clean air, clean food or clean energy to help people flourish? Think of the benefits of a restored creation along with restored hearts.

My colleague Anugraha Gaikwad and I have the pleasure of working with wealth creators who are doing this very thing. They are working with local community leaders in unreached areas. They are offering plastics recycling, clean water technology, waste-to-energy solutions, improved sanitation systems, waste-to-product initiatives, clean energy alternatives (both on shore and near shore), and products from natural sources. I challenge you as wealth creators to join your colleagues. Be the one to bring a cup of cold water and you will have the chance to share living water.

There is a consequence if we do not use our talents accordingly. I quote my colleague Revd. Dr. Dave Bookless [3],

‘(T)he later verses of the same parable (Matthew 25:41-46) “Depart from me you who are cursed … For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me’’ are equally applicable to BAM. If we fail to take account of the impact of our business activities on the poorest and most vulnerable, whether through causing pollution, over-exploiting natural resources, or putting profit above people and planet, we are judged by Jesus’ comments in these verses.’ [4]

Jesus does not mince words. The choice is ours as wealth creators. We must take into account our impact on the environment and use God’s gift of creation so all God’s creatures may be set free.

Creation groans. [5] Help make it sing. [6]

 

ENDNOTES

[1]  Luke 4:18-19

[2] soon to be published work by Mark Polet and Anugraha Gaikwad through BAM Global

[3] A Rocha. (2020). Revd Dr Dave Bookless.  available at  https://www.arocha.org/en/people/dave-bookless/

[4] Bookless, Dave. (2020). Email communication. 2020 June 23.

[5] Romans 8:22

[6] Psalm 19:1

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
Creating Wealth for God’s Glory and the Common Good
Business Is a Holy Calling That Should Be Affirmed by the Church
Alleviating Poverty by Creating Businesses and Sharing Wealth
Business as an Agent of Human Flourishing and the Greater Glory of God
Business as Good News to the Poor
The Global Impact of the Wealth Creation Manifesto

mark polet july 2018 031Mark Polet is a professional biologist with over 40 years of experience. Working on four continents, Mark and his wife Terri bridge cultures and traditions with people of good will to serve those who are spiritually and materially impoverished. Mark is passionate about bringing engineers, scientists, and business together to develop solutions to challenging environmental issues. Mark has the privilege to coordinate the BAM Global Creation Care Consultation. Prior to working in the impact business space, Mark & Terri owned a number of companies, including an environmental services company and an environmental consultancy.

 

 

 

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:

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Profile photo by Lucie Leduc

 

Wealth Creation and the Stewardship of Creation

Intentional Stewardship

Along with the spiritual, financial, and social bottom line, the environmental bottom line is an integral measure of a God-centered successful business. The subject of this series is wealth creation for holistic transformation. The work of wealth creators includes sharing the Good News of salvation through Jesus, improving the financial wellbeing of society and the staff within their companies, providing the dignity of work and the stability that ensues from meaningful long term employment, developing a society where we love each other as we love ourselves, and providing the clean energy, water, air and land on which we live. The wealth creator acknowledges this inextricably linked web of relationship with Christ, society and creation.

Environmental stewardship, then, is not an add-on. It is not part of a marketing plan to ‘look good’. It is a God-given command to steward his creation. By affirming one’s business and passion for wealth creation as an important part of the business ecology and an instrument in meeting the cultural mandate, creation will be restored and opportunities for wealth creation will be seen. Each business run by wealth creators has a specialty, a God-gift, and points of excellence that can be applied to a pressing environmental issue. A transportation company can work on innovative fuel efficiency and improve transportation of needed medicines. A restaurant can source its food stocks with care,[i] and reduce food waste by supporting the food bank with excess, then composting the rest. An office can install passive cooling, energy efficient lighting and provide incentives to reduce commuting or increase the use of less polluting transport for their employees. Companies have the advantage of scale and resources to do much good quickly. Environmental discipline is financial discipline (conservation of resources), social discipline (respect of local communities and the resources under their stewardship), and spiritual discipline (obeying God’s commandment to steward the earth). The bottom lines are integral and are split into four for convenience, but not in practice. A company is not truly profitable until it affects a positive return in each bottom line. Stewardship is intentional and requires discipline to carry it out. Sustainable living is to ‘aim for a full, just and responsible enjoyment of the amazing gifts that our generous God has provided for us.’[ii] Read more