In our discussion of Jewish business secrets, community represents both the core and the catalyst of the secrets of Jewish culture. It is within community that vital actuators are found tied to why the Jewish people are disproportionate achievers.
Community has been given as a gift. It is a safe place. Community builds and releases blessing upon its members from one generation to another. However, the cog in the wheel that sets a community apart is when entrepreneurship, stewardship and generosity merge, with God at the center, to mobilize the community.
Community bears the defining factors that were sought by Ghandi who was amazed at the teachings of Jesus, but rejected the faith because of his observations of the lives of the Christians he knew.
In our look at Jewish business secrets, volunteerism is an igniter and galvanizer of the community force, both the strategy and action that brings change that is recognized by the world.
When the community assumes its identity and destiny by mobilizing, then a multiplication factor kicks in. The impact on the outside world begins as community builds from within. Yet the mantle of Abraham is in being blessed in order to be a blessing. As the community-in-action mobilizes and actuates change from within the blessings on those around it will trickle down.
The priority is to: “Do good to all men, but especially those who are of the household of faith.” In other words, if the mobilized community only serves to bless itself, then it misses a vital ingredient in the dynamic.
The Enduring Foundations
God, through Abraham, set in motion the original economy, the original foundation for business. In God’s economy, the framework of Jewish business secrets, the purpose of business goes beyond the need of the business owner and helps both its customers and neighbors. It is written that you should love your neighbor as yourself.
Jewish tradition has a long track record of benevolence and providing opportunity for the less fortunate. The design of helping your neighbor is to provide the opportunity for them to stand on their own. In farming settings, ancient Jewish tradition stresses the importance of leaving the leftovers, the gleanings of the harvest for the poor and needy to gather up themselves once the harvest is complete.
In the world’s economy, everyone is focused on taking care of themselves. It engenders squeezing everything out of an opportunity for the benefit and future of the business or individual. However, in God’s economy, the practice of gleaning illustrates looking out for your “neighbor,” others in the community less fortunate and even providing the dignity of work while fulfilling the need of food that is obtained from the “leftovers” of the gleaning.
In Jewish tradition, taking care of the genuinely needy carries the promises of God’s blessing. It is written that if you assist with the needs of the poor, of the orphans and destitute widows, then will your light shine in the darkness and your darkness be as the noon day. In Jewish culture poverty is viewed as temporary, with the community bearing a responsibility of assisting with the stepping stones in getting beyond this interim state.
Strengthening the Culture
Jewish feast-days are community celebrations, times that mobilize the community to draw it together in unity. These gatherings celebrate significant milestones in Jewish history, remembrances of how God has not only defined their identity as a people blessed to be a blessing, but in giving remembrance to events representing God’s intervention at significant junctures.
These are times giving focus to their identity as a people of God and a culture within the cultures of the world. These are times that reinforce the unity tied to being a part of the fulfillment of an eternal purpose that transcends the generations. These gatherings represent a vital part of the means to keep the community focused and mobilized.
The Gift of Mobilizing
Years ago I was program manager for a rural AM/FM radio station that had a simulcast format filled by two local ministers whose gift some claimed was simply in random gabbing. When I took the job, the station had the dubious distinction of more than twelve years without being on the audience-rating charts. In other words, almost no one was listening to the broadcasts.
In my new role as program director of this station, I began giving prayer to the solution needed. Not long afterward, we were in church with some hearty worship in song. The song-leader clearly had a gift of mobilizing the congregation.
As I continued praying about the serious need for this radio station, I decided to meet with this man. I asked him if he had ever considered working in radio. Tears came to his eyes as he replied that becoming a radio announcer had been his dream for years.
I hired him. Not only did he provide an upbeat program to listen to, but he went out and met people in the community. He began putting together cross-denominational events and people came. At the end of the first rating period after hiring him, this heretofore almost defunct radio station hit the charts. For the next year, that community came to life because of this man’s radio show and the resulting activities in the community.
Charlie Myers had a gift as a community mobilizer. Then good for him, but not for the smaller communities served by this station, he was hired by the largest Christian radio station in the metro area 40 miles from the station where he began. He did the same thing there. His show and his activities mobilized the community and he became known as the most popular Christian “voice” in that area.
Volunteerism: The Strategy of Mobilizing
Mobilized community is not only the catalyst to benefit the community, it is what the outside world is observing. From that ripples extend to the broader community.
Mobilized community translates into disproportionate generosity and volunteerism. These two factors were studied in-depth by Arthur Brooks in his book “Who Really Cares” (2006, Basic Books, New York). His conclusion was that religious people as a whole are far more fervent in both generosity and participating in community activities than non-religious people.
He investigated the supposition that the mobilized charity and volunteerism among the religious was only within their religious spheres, and found it not to be valid. Charity, philanthropy and volunteerism from among the religious extends to activities that benefit society as a whole. It is not only central to Jewish cultural DNA but represents an important core element in the foundations Christianity has inherited from Judaism.
Trust: the Secret of Mobilizing
Mr. Brooks’ conclusions dovetail uniquely with the social economic dynamics described by Francis Fukuyama in trust societies. Trust societies nurture economic prosperity far more than other forms of economic models.
Dr. Fukuyama has found that high trust societies form volunteer and meritocratic organizations that enhance the vibrancy and opportunity within the economies they serve. They create networks that benefit the enterprises by fostering better communications and social change. Low-trust societies on the other hand tend to rely on more restricted networks that confines opportunity, communications and change, and as such the potential for prosperity.
Again we return to the story of Joseph. Joseph’s thirteen years of captivity were the means by which the spiritual climate of his captors was changed. Joseph demonstrated the reality of God through his service. Joseph’s identity in God and his wise stewardship resulted in him being trusted. Joseph bore a mantle of blessing that he extended to his captors. So it is in operating in a culture within a culture that we serve and we bless.
With wise steward and trust as the foundation in each circumstance of Joseph’s captivity he operated with unusual spiritual authority. When Potiphar saw the authority of God operating in Joseph and the resulting blessings, he trusted Joseph with his authority.
Despite the trauma of the spiritual backlash that sent Joseph to prison, God gave Joseph favor with the keeper of the prison. As such, the jailer trusted Joseph with his authority and put him over all the other prisoners. When we serve and bless, it makes room for us. It may not happen all at once, but wisdom shouts at us to walk before we run and establish a track record.
Charlie Myers had a vision to be a radio announcer. He had no idea on how or whether the dream would ever become a reality. Yet, he was faithful in the small things and volunteered as a song leader at a time when I was in a position to hear from God and recognize his gift. With the anointing for the gift will come the trust and the authority that opens the doors for opportunity.
I have a long-time friend who once advised me to “follow favor.” After evil’s attempt to crush Joseph and the role he was serving in Potiphar’s house, that resulted in sending him to prison, it was favor that God gave Joseph with the jailor. Favor is the fruit of trust. Favor is the gateway of opportunity.
Service: the Catalyst of Opportunity
Service and volunteerism is the pathway of opportunity that triggers favor and trust.
These factors need to be embedded in the culture. When they reflect a lifestyle, then the bearing of fruit that produces opportunity will not be short-circuited by impatience. Even Joseph struggled with impatience. At the time he interpreted the dreams for the baker and the wine-taster he wanted nothing more than to leave Egypt and return home. Yet, the time that followed and his patience in waiting produced something that was dramatically more than what he could have worked out on his on.
It was the fulfillment of the dreams he had as a young man that had so riled his brothers that they sought to rid themselves of his challenge to their profane and too often substandard spiritual lives.
Service: The Higher Standard
Joseph’s life raised the bar for those around him. First it was his brothers. Then it was Potiphar’s household and then the environment of the prison. Joseph was the spiritual seasoning, the salt that brought forth the flavor in the spiritual environment around him. It didn’t happen immediately. It came through his faithful stewardship to be blessed to be a blessing. Sometimes, as with his brothers and Potiphar’s wife, it resulted in spiritual backlash.
Yet, the salt, the spiritual flavoring carried a higher standard and spiritual authority that could not be held back. The salt is an igniter that multiplies when operating within a community of light.
Arthur Brooks’ premise is that people are looking for those who really care. The litmus test can be found in those who are involved not only in their own communities, but in serving the society at large. Ghandi was looking for such people. Such dynamics are embedded in the core of Jewish culture and Jewish business secrets.
Volunteerism and generosity trigger the authority that releases change. It is change first in the spiritual climate before it takes root to bear the fruit of change. It is the trigger for discovery that results from the thinking that releases the creative.
The Purifying Role of Volunteerism
Mobilized community tends to cross fertilize. One of the chief criticisms that outsiders have of Christianity is how fractionalized the church as a whole is. Yet in the practice of Jewish culture, Jews can come together around worshipping the God of Israel and feeding the poor.
The boundaries defined by doctrinal precepts in the church are too often barriers to the community interacting as it should. They are obstacles to coming together for a common purpose non-judgmentally and without the need to cast aspersion on ones holding different perspectives.
It is about the unity that Jesus noted that should define us. When a people are defined by their identity and major purpose rather than minor precepts that divide them, it tends to draw even diverse factions together. Unity of purpose strengthens and purifies.
On the wall of my wife’s office is plaque she received for her many years of service as a mental health, disaster relief volunteer for the Red Cross. Her memories of the mobilizations she participated in included disproportionate participation from the Jewish community. Indeed, in global tragedies, Israel is known as a first responder.
As it is written: “Lift up a standard on the bare hill, raise your voice to them, enter the doors of nobles. I have instructed my consecrated ones and called even my mighty warriors.” Isaiah the prophet foresaw the need to mobilize and make an impact on the surrounding society. It is a clarion call for people of faith to be people of change. Such a groundswell for change and for good will only happen through a mobilized community.
People want to be a part of something that is happening, of something that is making a difference. There is a remote town in Nebraska named North Platte that became famous during WWII. Trains carrying the troops across the country destined for the war stopped ten minutes in North Platte.
One night, a woman met one of the trains with sandwiches, apples and candy. The local paper told her story and soon each train was being met by women, young and old, who cared and wanted to demonstrate it.
Eventually, people came from surrounding communities to participate. The president of the United States learned about it and sent a personal contribution. Most of the resources came from people in the North Platte area, with many sacrificing and giving up food from their ration cards in order to bless these troops. This practice began in 1941 and continued throughout the rest of the war.
Today, those still alive who gave along with those who received from this ongoing spontaneity of volunteerism have incredibly meaningful remembrances embedded of those acts of kindness in their memories.
It is written: “Be doers of the truth and not hearers only.” Jesus observed that people would be truly known by their fruits. What is being suggested is that within the community of faith, there is a call for activism that crosses boundaries. That activism is incorporated in the mantle of Abraham, to be blessed to be a blessing.
Jesus also made a most unusual statement in a famous prayer he prayed. He asked that His followers would be one, as Jesus was one with God. Such a dynamic implies that the community of believers would flow together in purpose so uniquely that the world would take notice. He went on to say that in doing so the community of faith would grow in maturity and power by abiding in one another in this way.
This great statement taps the truth of what happens when the community simultaneously abides in God and in one another. It is a Jewish phenomenon that results in the mobilized community making an impact for good in the broader society around it. In terms of Jewish business secrets, it is the igniter to the disproportionate success achieved by the Jewish people.
The world is looking for the reality of God operating through a people. The world is looking for those who care.
Volunteerism and hearts joined by tz’dakah represent the actions that energize and propel the mobilized community. Mobilized community bears the fruit described as “a light shining on a hill that cannot be hidden” that draws the world.
Morris Ruddick has been a forerunner and spokesman for the higher dimensions of business leadership since the mid-90s. As founder of Global Initiatives Foundation and designer of the God’s Economy Entrepreneurial Equippers Program, Mr. Ruddick imparts hope and equips economic community builders to be blessed to be a blessing where God’s light is dim in diverse regions around the globe.
He is author of “The Joseph-Daniel Calling;” “Gods Economy, Israel and the Nations;” “The Heart of a King;” “Something More;” “Righteous Power in a Corrupt World;” “Leadership by Anointing;” and “Mantle of Fire,” which address the mobilization of business and governmental leaders with destinies to impact their communities. They are available in print and e-versions from www.Amazon.com, www.apple.com/ibooks and www.BarnesandNoble.com.
Global Initiatives Foundation (www.strategic-initiatives.org) is a tax-exempt 501 (c) 3 non-profit whose efforts are enabled by the generosity of a remnant of faithful friends and contributors whose vision aligns with God’s heart to mobilize economic community builders imparting influence and the blessings of God. Checks on US banks should be made out to Global Initiatives and mailed to PO Box 370291, Denver CO 80237 or by credit card at http://strategicintercession.org/support/
Likewise, email us to schedule a seminar for your group’s gathering on the Joseph-Daniel Calling or on anointing the creative in business.
2016 Copyright Morris Ruddick — firstname.lastname@example.org
Reproduction is prohibited unless permission is given by a SIGN advisor. Since early 1996, the Strategic Intercession Global Network (SIGN) has mobilized prophetic intercessors and leaders committed to targeting strategic-level issues impacting the Body on a global basis. For previous posts or more information on SIGN, check: http://www.strategicintercession.org