PIONEERS, ENTREPRENEURS AND TZ’DAKIM
As a Jew, Jesus understood the mantle of God’s people. From boyhood, His spiritual awareness and mastery of Scripture touched the depths of the heart of God and role of the game-changers in the course of Jewish history.
In our discussion of Jewish business secrets, God’s people have been distinctive. As stewards of God’s ways, they have facilitated God’s order. This order forms the standard encompassing the creative blend of discovery and entrepreneurial-enabling that fosters increase. They have creatively built self-sustaining communities. They have upheld God’s standard of community righteousness, known in Hebrew as tz’dakah. Fueled by this shared community standard that spawns opportunity, they have pioneered and organized themselves toward something higher and more enduring: a most exceptional societal standard of trust and leadership.
Historically, their impact has far exceeded the best the world, or society without God, could offer. The result, despite overwhelming adversity, has been a consistent role as disproportionate achievers and contributors exhibiting a distinctive brand of leadership pointed to by Jesus: leadership by serving.
Combined, the Jewish dynamic has generated a trans-generational history of pioneers, entrepreneurs and tz’dakim (righteous people).
Jesus raised the bar from an already high standard outlined by Moses in the Torah. It was this standard that caused the amazed response from Indian reformer Ghandi. Jesus was indicating that with God at the helm, that His people have long been and even more so in the days following, would be different. This difference has mapped a pathway of restoration toward God’s original intention for His creation.
This new order began with Abraham. Abraham set in motion the beginning of a new standard for society, one that challenged the bondage that held the world in its grip. God called him to leave the comfortable place of his family and country and to go out, as a pioneer. As a pioneer, Abraham became known as the father of our faith. He is a model to the generations that followed in knowing God and His ways.
Abraham left a land of corruption and sorcery and broke the mold. He put it all on the line. With God guiding his way, he began the release of a new order based on faith-based, entrepreneurial community — and a mode of leadership that pivots on the anointing, being led by the Spirit of God.
The Process and the Priorities
Being led by the Spirit is what has defined my journey with God. My walk of faith began as one who faced realities with a standard I was willing to die for. It was a standard that embraced a cause, a purpose higher than myself. As an experienced combat Marine, there was a priority and simplicity in my grasp of the cause. Then it all converged with faith, as I read the story in Acts 7 of a man called Stephen, who faced a parallel reality in being willing to give it all for a purpose higher than his self.
God spoke to me as I read about Stephen and contemplated the parallel. He asked me if I was willing to embrace that same standard for Him. That foundational sacrificial attitude is at the core of three key factors that differentiate the Kingdom criterion of leadership: trust, honor and service. These are priorities and are key to walking with God.
These three factors are the faith-based heart of biblical community. They undergird the cost to uphold the standard of leadership that Jesus modeled, as He raised the bar for those with the faith and courage willing to embrace the process marked by God’s pioneers, entrepreneurs and tz’dakim.
Reaching for that higher standard, that has been modeled by the heroes of faith and exemplified by Jesus, is the demarkation point of God’s standard for leadership and the foundation for a society of people who are known by His Name. It begins with trust. The wisdom of Solomon highlights the requirement of trusting the Lord with an undivided heart. That incorporates not playing mind-games even when God’s ways are not fully grasped. Both God and the mode for societal behavior operate at a higher plane. When this wisdom is adhered to, it honors the Lord. When combined in reaching for this higher standard, then the Lord becomes the overriding guidance for both individuals and communities.
King David’s greatest accomplishment, of bringing the twelve tribes of Israel together began seeing turmoil and division in the generation following the reign of his son Solomon. The ten tribes of the House of Israel, responding to abuses of power, separated themselves from the two tribes incorporating the lineage of David: the House of Judah. Eventually, these ten tribes were conquered by the Assyrians, followed by a great dispersion into the lands east of what was then Syria. They have become known as the lost tribes of Israel.
Yet, as modern-day researchers have probed the history of these “lost tribes,” what has been found have been communities, within Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Afghani and other central Asian cultures, whose identities and religious practices are still tied to their heritage as Israelites.
Against the odds of assimilation, these Israelite descendents have been merchants and silversmiths and other forms of entrepreneurs, demonstrating over the generations the model begun by Abraham as pioneers, entrepreneurs and tz’dakim. At the core of what has been the spiritual DNA of Jews that transcends the generations is a faith that applies an enduring blend of trust, honor and service.
The Trust Facet. Faith begins and is based on an unqualified trust in the Lord. Trust based on this faith then is the thread that holds the model together. It is the standard for community that results when God’s higher order of the spiritual, the economic dynamic of increase, and community operate together. Faith cannot operate without trust; neither can biblical community. Yet, it is much more than religion.
Religion is man’s attempt to cleverly squeeze out or at least contain the devil’s intentions. It takes more, a lot more. Jesus addressed this wheel-spinning premise by His indictment of “the precepts of men.” However, God’s order releases God’s intentions, despite opposition, in a way that progressively leaves no room for the devil. It is the subtle difference noted by Jesus when He said that we would be in the world, but not of the world. It is a mystery that draws from operating according to God’s order. Its release comes from the balanced mix and merging of pioneers, entrepreneurs and tz’dakim.
In God’s order of things, trust in the Lord sets things in motion individually; but it is the catalyst relationally for things to operate in community. It enables the tapping of the supernatural dimensions that can only come from God. Biblical community thrives on trust.
In Matthew 10 Jesus warned about those who would betray us. This is one of the signs of the times we have entered, when those in spiritual leadership acquiesce their mandates to misguided illusions and ambitions, misapply their spiritual DNA and are warped by corrupt power and deceit. This is not unlike what Ahab did in acquiescing to his wife Jezebel’s occult influence. Ahab lost sight of what was right. He betrayed the trust of those looking to him for leadership. So, when facing such issues within the community of God’s people, Jesus admonished us to be cautious and seek out those who are worthy of our trust, people of honor. He said we would know them by their fruits.
When we operate with this standard of faith, even when betrayal happens, Jesus said that despite being caught off-guard, that it would lead to the release of unexpected opportunity. Today’s persecuted church has an intimate grasp of this higher-standard dynamic. So did the Jews impacted by the horrors of the holocaust.
The Honor Factor. Genuine trust cannot operate without honor. The honor required involves integrity, but it is more than integrity. It embraces the right thing with consistency, but the demand is for still more.
It is the honor based on holding to a sacrificial standard higher than oneself. It is the honor that stems from not only attitude, but a consistent manifestation in deed. Since God has had a people, this honor has factored significantly into relationships in business and community. It transcends the generations.
The honor that God bestows comes at a cost. This level of honor is vulnerable. Yet it comes from doing the right thing for the right reason without fear or compromise. It is the honor that comes from embracing responsibility. It is not based on the approval-of-men, conformity, greed or blind-obedience, but rather on the bond of truth that consistently sparks the life-dynamic of community itself.
This level of honor is the leadership dynamic that fosters the enablement by which each part functions in the harmony to make it something more than its individual parts. It ignites the Kingdom premises that give birth to righteous power.
This measure of honor is sacrificial and worthy of trust. It considers others before oneself and refuses to compromise the standard. At its core is service, service with a cause.
The Service Dynamic. The standard for God’s order combines trust, honor and service operating in harmony. In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees short-circuited this premise with their unholy alliances, personal agendas and the manner in which they handled their true responsibility and worthiness of trust. They lowered the bar with the premise that the end justifies the means. They curried the favor of power-brokers without honor. They did it for their own benefit. In so doing, they betrayed the true bond of trust required of the righteous.
God’s standard for community is about serving. Community is a safe-place applying the diversity of talents and gifts of its members to the benefit of others. Without trust or honor, community becomes contrived, fractional, brittle and unsafe. This reality and higher standard punctuates the key role of the tz’dakim, the righteous in serving.
In this series, we have previously mentioned Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist’s Business-Technology Incubator program. This program, reflecting 25 technology-specific incubators across Israel, has yielded success ratios that are an important part of the reason that Israel is known as the “startup nation.”
Even beyond this amazing OCS program, Israelis have taken the service dynamic found in this pioneering, entrepreneurial and tz’dkah DNA to a new level. Even the Hassidic community in Israel have startup incubators which have been creating world-class services. All of this has been during a time when Israel, the people, the economy, its very existence has been under the threat of extinction through terrorism. Not only has Israel survived, it has achieved distinction in its economic impact around the world. It is the pioneering, entrepreneurial and tz’dakah DNA.
When biblical righteousness (tz’dakah) is the mark of a people, it becomes the glue to melding the pioneers and entrepreneurs into a true model of community. It is God’s people (tz’dakim) in operation, as they are blessed to be a blessing. It is the demonstration of Jesus’ Kingdom message of employing righteous power in a corrupt world.
The word of God is filled with examples of the misfires of leaders who have undermined God’s purposes for His people operating at this standard. While many within the church today point to the problem as being individual issues, the examples of the misfires from the Bible more often note it is a leadership problem. In the cases of those who served as kings, God’s word describes their lowering of the standard and misfires as having done evil in God’s sight.
In Isaiah 22, the demise of Shebna came because his priorities were focused on his position and personal benefit. God’s standard is higher. In the case of Saul (1 Samuel 15), his downfall resulted from his need for the approval of men. Again, for leaders, operating below the standard is not acceptable. Rehoboam and Jeroboam each lowered the standard and cost required of those serving in righteous leadership. It divided Israel and paved the way for the Syrian conquest and dispersion of the ten tribes. In Ahab’s case, he furthered the digressions of Jeroboam by his passive compromise with his wife Jezebel, in allowing the standard for leaders to be mixed with sorcery.
In each case there was a lack of spiritual maturity, wrong priorities, the misuse of righteous power, the mix with worldly standards, and a compromise of God’s order by which the ends justified the means. These are the indicators of the disintegration of God’s order. The standard for God’s leadership demands more and cannot be drawn from the world.
Throughout Scripture are references to mysteries: spiritual dynamics that cannot be understood according to our grasp of the natural order of things. It acknowledges that God’s truths are deeper and His ways are higher than the best man can discern.
Both the Old and New Covenants give reference to this. Scripture tells us that the secret things belong to the Lord, but those that are revealed belong to us and our heritage, to those who, as a people, are known by His Name. Paul, in almost all his epistles, alludes to the “mysteries” of our faith. Jesus, in the Gospels, refers to the “mysteries” of the Kingdom. These mysteries, these “beyond the veil” truths are the igniters of the simple things that confound the wise.
They represent the edge, the advantage, demonstrated when God’s people employ this standard not only as individuals, but in the harmony God intended, as a community. The mysteries applied release the pioneering spirit to break the mold. The merging of the diversity of gifts creates the foundations for becoming self-sustaining through community, which enhances the economic dynamic. The righteous factor, based on tz’dakah, of “charitable righteousness,” then ties it together as the mutually-beneficial function of building community is served.
Joseph applied the mysteries in the most adverse and impossible of circumstances. As a slave without position, he began by bringing God into the open and generating increase and blessing to the one he served. He gained trust and operated as a prophetic steward. Unwilling to compromise, he weathered the spiritual backlash from Potiphar’s whoring wife and in his bad-to-worse dilemma, in being made a prisoner, he gained the opportunity that led to his promotion with Pharaoh.
In the process, Joseph changed the spiritual climate of Egypt and harnessed the resources needed to provide a safe place that yielded even further opportunity in a time of spiritual judgment that racked the world at that time.
These mysteries are at the heart of the paradoxes of Jesus’ Kingdom message. They fly in the face of the best the world has to offer. They are at the heart of this biblical leadership mantle employed by the Jewish people, who generation after generation, have come together as a culture within a culture, with an identity in God, as a society that operates with trust, honor and service.
The standard cannot be driven by the approval of men. It is a God-standard that reaches high, but bears fruit beyond any worldly expectations. It is a standard described by the Jewish prophet Isaiah: Distance yourself from oppression, even judgmental finger pointing and malicious talk and give focus to helping the underprivileged and needy in your community. Then your light will begin piercing the darkness and what was night will become like noonday. The Lord will consistently guide you, provide for your needs and supernaturally strengthen you. The result will be in becoming as a well-watered and consistently fertile garden. As that takes place, you as a people, will be a part of rebuilding the ancient ruins and pathways and of raising up the age-old foundations. You will be known as repairers of the breach, restorers of the walls and dwellings that have been in ruin. Such is the spiritual DNA of God’s pioneers, entrepreneurs and tz’dakim.
The distinction of the pathway of this mix of pioneers, entrepreneurs and tz’dakim is that it will only move forward — with God at the helm. When it does, remarkable things take place. It is the seedbed for restoration and revival. It becomes the “light shining on a hill” that demonstrates the reality of God to the societies around it. When this dynamic unfolds in harmony then extraordinary things will be released at the hands of otherwise ordinary people.
This dynamic provides the release of the dimension noted in the Torah (Deut 33): of tapping into an abundance and of hidden treasures. It is an abundance with hidden treasures that can only be brought as far as the gates by superstars. Its full release comes only through piercing the spiritual veil, as a people, who operate together as pioneers, entrepreneurs and tz’dakim. It comes with the faithfulness of a people, a chosen people whose choice is God and His heart, whose pathway is built from generation to generation in bringing the standard of God’s order full circle.
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/
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2016 Copyright Morris Ruddick — email@example.com
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