- - Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Fellowship of Companies for Christ International is redefining the rules on business. Markets with a conscience thrive.

Most people would say that a business exists to produce shareholders’ value, or profits. This is a true statement of sorts, but can a nation thrive with this belief?

Let me propose a different view.

Business leaders who are integrating biblical principles in their lives and businesses learn that their companies exist for a greater purpose: to honor God, to create wealth and to support the community through Christian service. That is a different, or redefined, mission statement with eternal objectives.

There are many ways to serve the millions of people in grinding poverty. FCCI, for three decades, has equipped and encouraged Christian business owners to integrate their faith at work, lifting people up, and giving them hope and a future through the marketplace.

The core of America’s economy is small business. Of the 28 million businesses accounted for in our records, 22 million are considered small businesses with fewer than 25 employees — but their impact holds up the arms of America.

Some may say that what makes America great is its vast military, education system and economy. In our opinion, what makes America great are small businesses, whose owners feel called to serve others more than themselves. Not for themselves, but for those who have been given to them to shepherd. These are our true warriors on the front lines of fighting poverty in this nation. These are our true influencers who are making America great again. These are our true shepherds caring for the flock, all for a greater purpose.

Is America in decline? Is the decay of our morals and values eating at the very nerve system of this nation? Can any nation fulfill its constitutional responsibility with a heart for its people? To make America great again, we must start to care about its people again. We must start to care about small business owners who make America great.

Lives are changed when we see ourselves as stewards committed to a greater purpose than self, a greater cause than self. It all changes when our worldview and mindset commit it all to a greater purpose and something eternal. Proverbs 16:3 ESV says, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”

One of the foundational principles of FCCI is that God owns it all, and we are stewards of what He has entrusted us with. We are to use our earthly resources for His glory, not ours. This is stewardship. A country cannot prosper without this basic underpinning supporting it. Many Christians don’t have an accurate concept of what stewardship is all about. When we hear the word “stewardship,” most of us think about the program at church where we are asked to increase our contributions to the budget. Unfortunately, that is a narrow view.

“Stewardship is the practice of systematic and proportionate giving of time, abilities, material possessions and all God’s gifts to us based on the conviction that these are a trust from God, to be used in his service, for the benefit of all mankind in grateful acknowledgment of Christ’s redeeming love,” John Haggai wrote in his book “The Steward.”

Essentially, we are managers of God’s possessions, all of which He owns.

It is not the wallet but the heart of a man or woman that makes us strong. A heart redefined will make America strong, nurtured by principles that will shape the very core of our nation. No nation can thrive with an inward, selfish focus. We must look beyond ourselves and love something or someone other than self.

Terence Chatmon serves as president and CEO of Fellowship of Companies for Christ International, a fellowship of executive leaders in 139 countries. In his role, he is leading unprecedented efforts to equip and encourage leaders in small-, medium- and large-size companies. FCCI is known around the world for its global platform, world-class annual international conference, rich library of business leadership resources and transformational Kingdom Leader and Kingdom Company models. For more information, visit fcci.org.

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