In 1st Corinthians Chapter 7, Paul encourages the unmarried to remain in that state “in view of the present distress”. He specifically says this is NOT a “command of the Lord”, but that he was “trying to spare” them. We know from both scripture and history that the pressure placed on first century Christian families was enormous. Families were turned against themselves, and persecutors often used and tortured other family members to tempt Christians into renouncing their faith.
This discussion is not about marriage. I am obviously not an apostle, and have no direct divine inspiration to share. What I do have is wisdom based on a reflection of the times we live in and knowledge of the principles Christians are called to live by.
My advice is this: In view of the present distress…START A BUSINESS.
We have for several decades relied on large companies for employment. This is a relatively new arrangement, as for most of human history we have developed household skills that were passed down through the generations.
Over time, our economies have advanced and our problems have become more complex, so that has facilitated the rise of large corporate structures that have led to an enormous growth of goods and services. Yet what has been lost in this mad scramble of consumerism is that which is most essential to our being…the desire for connection to our God and fellow man.
With this loss of connection, so our culture has lost our compass for righteousness. Companies now demand not only your time, but your body, mind and soul. They create healthcare mandates, call you into HR for statements of faith made online, and increasingly require immediate responsiveness at all times to the needs of the company. They have become like Nebuchadnezzar, having erected a golden statue to which they demand full loyalty and devotion.
So we have been thrust into a new dynamic of life and work. We must work to provide for our families, but the work required of us is increasingly antagonistic to the faith we are called to live by. The supposed “safety” that tied us to corporations and prevented us from pursuing our own business activities has eroded. The “loyalty” your employer has to you extends only so far as your complete compliance to their wishes (and maybe not even that far), a path that may ultimately lead to your termination or compromise of your faith. That is not to say we do not owe a duty to our employer, but there is a need to consider the temptations we now face, the priorities we have as Christians, and the difficult days ahead.
This leads us to perhaps a necessary conclusion for those of us pursuing godliness and supporting our families…we must start our own businesses.
Before I’m accused of encouraging Christians to abandon their source of income and journey into the unknown: you don’t have to do it all at once. Perhaps you should consider building a side business to bring in a little extra income. If it’s scalable, you may be able to replace your entire income from your company with time. Starting a business does have risks, yet with the innovations of the internet, there has never been a better time to get your product or service out there with minimal capital investment required.
FEAR is not a reason to hold the Christian back from starting a business. Your fear is meant to serve you…to provide you earnestness and motivation, not to hold you in paralysis. In Proverbs 29:25 we read “The fear of man brings a snare, But one who trusts in the Lord will be protected.” Fear is a trap…it convinces you that inaction will keep you in your present state. Ask the prey if their paralysis from the lion’s roar kept them safe. Only faith in God offers any certainty, and that certainty is the promise of salvation, not freedom from risk or trials on earth.
Start a business.
Hire those of like faith.
Serve your fellow man with boldness, honesty and trustworthiness.
Build relationships and connections with your customers that extend beyond money.
Pursue righteousness in your family, business, church and community.
Only through a living faith and the spreading of the gospel can we hope for our nation and culture to change. That is the case for Christians to start businesses.