Entrepreneurs and Cultural Change
An entrepreneur is defined as one with the ability to spot opportunity and to know what to do about it, at a profit. The defining link is in correctly discerning and knowing what to do about opportunity, which from both a biblical and an historic Jewish stance is what stewardship is all about.
Scripture makes it clear (Proverbs 18:16) that the one exercising a true gift will have room, that is space … that yields opportunity being made for them, along with it bringing them before great men. Yet, there are different levels of the way that one’s gift operates which again from a biblical stance, bleed into and exacerbate one another. This dynamic is what I refer to as the combined gifts. Entrepreneurship is a part of these combined gifts.
For a vast array of cultures around the world, most people have a natural gift, something they can do better than most other people. However, when that natural gift is combined with a gift of God, a spiritual gift, along with two prime dimensions of God’s nature directly tied to the dynamic of entrepreneurship … to create and to bring increase … the result begins to multiply opportunity exponentially.
Joseph the Patriarch possessed a unique combination of such gifts. He definitely had an entrepreneurial gift, although in his day, that label had not yet been given. He had a distinct spiritual gift, that of the prophetic, of being able to see the impact (or opportunity) that the spiritual realm had on the natural. Despite being despised and then betrayed by his brothers for his unique gift set, it took him being sold into slavery for him to discover the potency of his natural entrepreneurial and leadership gifts. Combined with his spiritual gift, the result brought recognition from those observing the results of his efforts. Scripture describes Joseph, who was a slave in Potiphar’s house from the perspective of the Egyptians around him.
“The Lord was with Joseph and he was a successful man and everyone saw that the Lord was with Joseph and made all that he did to prosper.” Genesis 39:2-3
This dynamic released favor, which engendered trust, which led to promotion. Again, the factors involved the unique expression of his combined gifts: the spiritual and catalyst for God’s involvement; the entrepreneurial or creation of opportunity; then that of community, which would foster and benefit the opportunity.
The Jews: Carriers of This Divine Dynamic
But let’s back up and take a closer look at the very vital dimensions of this dynamic that have become so characteristic of the Jewish people since God entered into covenant with Abraham.
Abraham knew God and when he heard from God, he listened and believed that God’s words carried something vital to his life-purpose and destiny, together with the destiny of his descendants; which became so key to what has become the identity of the Jewish people to this day. In short, by heeding God’s admonition to get out of the box of the hindrances of his cultural constraints, he found himself operating a God-centered, entrepreneurial community. Each of these key dynamics were at work in Abraham and his life-journey: God’s guidance and righteous standard, entrepreneurship, opportunity and stewardship …. and more.
A very key insight into who Abraham was, his identity as a friend of God and carrier of this destiny-bearing cultural dynamic, included a covenant agreement with God. In other words, this was not a passive relationship between God and Abraham. The relationship was expressed by the Lord: “For I have chosen him [Abraham], so that he might direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD might bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.” Genesis 18:19
Over the centuries, this God-centered, entrepreneurial community foundation of the Jewish people has been the model and vehicle of change that has redefined and outlasted the surrounding cultures of which these descendents of Abraham have been a part.
Origins of the Entrepreneur’s Potential
While there are some abbreviated definitions for entrepreneur as being those who conduct business, historically and biblically it is more, much more. A term coined by the 18th Century French to capture these additional dimensions, an entrepreneur, was once referred to biblically as a craftsman or tradesman. It was someone with a gift of craftsmanship who used that gift to support their family while benefiting the community. One of the definers of the term entrepreneur, Frenchman Jean Baptiste Say, identified entrepreneurs as ones who drove economic development. Parenthetically, early-on scripture notes that among craftsmen-tradesmen came gifts reflecting a special anointing and ability from God.
“Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge and in all manner of craftsmanship. Ex 31:1-3
This special creative ability of the entrepreneur applied in bringing increase reflected in the descendants of Abraham, has resulted in Jews becoming known universally as “the people of business.” It is the basis for what author Steven L. Pease described as comparatively “disproportionate achievement” culturally in his brilliant study: “The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement.” More significantly, not unlike the days of Joseph, it carries unusual relevance for the spiritually-based cultural clashes of today’s times with the words from the prophet Zechariah.
“Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were four horns. And I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these?” So he answered me, “These are the horns that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.” Then the LORD showed me four craftsmen. And I said, “What are these coming to do?” So he said, “These are the horns that scattered Judah, so that no one could lift up his head; but the craftsmen are coming to terrify them, to cast out the horns of the nations that lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it.” Zech 1:18-21
So, not unlike Bezalel being recognized, anointed and chosen by God, the craftsmen-tradesmen-entrepreneurs referred to by Zechariah wield a mantle that is much more than those who simply buy and sell. They represent game-changers who will carry the authority of Joseph to stand against those lifting up their horns against efforts scattering Judah, Israel and Jerusalem. The model extends to more than that typically wielded by the church with the spiritual and community dimensions, to that reflected over the centuries by Jews with the influence wielded by their economic prowess as an integral part of the spiritual and community dimensions of faith.
Understanding this more inclusive mantle requires a closer look at the ability to spot opportunity, a dimension of entrepreneurship so reflected in the gifts of the Jews.
Opportunity, Jewish Thinking and Stewardship
Adherence to the principles Moses took from Sinai impacts the thinking, along with the disciplined practices or stewardship of those following them … and provides a sharp advantage individually and as a society of people. The first order in grasping Jewish thinking is in their identity as a prophetic people of God. Interesting that this pivotal part of the Jewish perspective was also very key to what Jesus imparted to His inner circle when He told them that they would be in the world, but not of the world. In other words, that as a society of God’s people, that His followers would always be a culture within a culture.
So then gaining the advantage in discerning and capitalizing on opportunity as entrepreneurs, requires embracing the type of thinking passed down from Abraham, sharpened by the Sinai impartations, then further elaborated on by Jesus’ insights into the dynamic of the Kingdom. Keep in mind, Jesus didn’t come to build an institution, but rather to set in motion a movement.
At its most basic level Jewish thinking incorporates vision, prudence, hard work, imagination linked to faith, prayer, strategy and planning. Unwrapping this framework of thinking goes back to when God told Abram to take a look at the starry sky … and in numbering the stars, so would his descendants be. In this exchange, God was imparting vision to Abram/ Abraham, which incorporated the grasp of a passion in believing it to be so.
Abraham’s trans-generational response of faith was pleasing to God. Jesus further tapped this realm of thinking when he noted that when we allow our mind to overly dwell on anger; that this thought process could result in our being guilty of murder … an illustration of the potency that can accompany how we choose to harness our imaginations in prayer. In defining the focus of our thinking, Proverbs 14:15 (“The naïve believe everything, but the prudent is cautious and considers well his steps.”) deals with the caution and prudence of one’s focus, admonishing us to give careful evaluation to decisions and the planning needed in setting goals and establishing strategies. All of this becomes a part of diligence and hard-work (“In all hard work there is profit, but mere talk only leads to poverty.” Proverbs 14:23)
Together with Kingdom thinking (Kingdom identity, the combined gifts, community self-sufficiency, leadership to be blessed to be a blessing), it merges together to tap the area we refer to as stewardship. With a foundational identity of fully operating as a culture within a culture, we begin to grasp the extent of the God-given tools required for cultural change.
Principles of Biblical Entrepreneurial Stewardship
Biblical entrepreneurial stewardship embraces both Jewish and Kingdom thinking while operating with God as Senior Partner in one’s business venture. Serving as junior partners, we consistently seek His goals for the enterprise, while serving the key stewardship function of managing and bringing increase.
“To the steward who brought increase he said, well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many.” Matt 25:18
In making God Senior Partner in our planning and in our strategies, we learn to listen to His voice and to discern His priorities, along with applying the secret to bringing increase: that being the law of sowing and reaping and the underlying power of generosity. Biblically, the principle of generosity represents our alignment with the heart of God bearing on building the community of God’s people to be all He intended.
“Now if you listen obediently to the voice of Adonai your God, taking care to do all His mitzvoth [instructions] that I am commanding you today, then Adonai your God will set you on high—above all the nations of the earth. Then all these blessings will come upon you and overtake you.” Deut 28:1,2 TLV
So, biblical stewardship involves giving, managing and bringing increase. In short, we become God’s stewards of the resources we’ve been entrusted with. However, there is a caveat in more fully grasping this principle of giving.
All believers can operate with wisdom and God’s anointing by means of the giving that emanates from the fruit of the Spirit, in other words from the spiritual fruit of giving. The fruit of giving or generosity begins with acknowledging God’s role in the enterprise through the discipline of the tithe and first fruits. However, there are believers who possess a strong Romans 12 motivational “gift of giving.” These are those, who like Christian entrepreneurs like Robert LeTourneau (“Mover of Men and Mountains”) during the era of WWII and Charles Mulli (Charles Mulli: We Are Family) in his current efforts with MCF (Mully Children’s Family) have tapped the supernatural potential when generosity extends beyond what is considered even normal biblical practice.
Those possessing this extent of “giving” as their prime motivational gift can be identified by the passion and proactive pursuit with which they apply their giving. It is a part of their spiritual DNA. There is a distinct difference in mind-set and priorities evidenced by those possessing this gift beyond the passion they have for giving: it is the distinct lack of materialism and with that, the lack of ambition for personal recognition or fame.
These are ones, not unlike an unusual characteristic noted with the investment guru Warren Buffett, who would prefer to drive an older model, used vehicle to enable them to give more. Ones with such a passion seem to have an edge in developing strategies and anticipating market turns that result in money simply flowing in their direction. Not unlike the steward Jesus described in Matthew 25 who brought the most increase, they seem to trigger greater levels of opportunity by means of the increase they achieve.
It is instructive and enlightening for those operating with the fruit of giving, to wisely reach for the standard represented by those with the gift of giving. The intent of the giving is driven by community responsibility, that of not just providing opportunity to others, but the (Isaiah 58) mix of building and rescuing the needy and eliminating the poor among us by virtue of the adage that suggests that it is better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish for a meal. It is the basis of the program we have ministered in regions of persecution, oppression and poverty since the late 1990s.
It also represents the kind of witness that draws the attention of a skeptical and unbelieving world, when they see a community of believers operate on this level. With this witness comes the basis for cultural change …. and the reason I have been discerning that the emerging shift in seasons is going to include a major thrust from the marketplace.
Restoration, Cultural Change and Times of Awe
In their exchange with the resurrected Jesus, the disciples asked whether these awesome supernatural events were leading to the Kingdom being restored to Israel. Jesus’ response was very revealing: “It is not your place to know the times or the seasons which the Father has placed under His own authority [control].” Acts 1:7
Yet in Matthew 16 and Luke 12, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for not discerning the signs of the times. So there is a subtlety and difference in our grasp of the signs of the times and the climax of this cosmic struggle which the Father has chosen to personally hold the key to … when He restores the Kingdom to Israel. In both the book of Daniel and Revelation, there are matters that have been hidden, until the strategic time of the Father’s release.
So it is that not unlike David when he became king, in putting into order what was under his authority that he reached out to the tribe of Issachar who had a gift to serve the community of faith with their ability to understand the times, in order to know what they should do. So it is today, that we bow to those things under the Father’s authority alone, but reach hard to grasp and respond appropriately and well to the signs of the times. The shifts in Israel and the Church in this last generation offer strong indicators of the process that is clearly underway.
In 1948 the State of Israel was reborn. During that same time frame, by the Spirit of the Lord, there emerged over 250 healing ministries, strong indicators of the new wine prophesied by Jesus. As a sign of the times, it revealed the beginning of the restoration of the supernatural to what compared to the early church, had become a spiritually anemic expression of the Body.
Then in 1967, came another significant sign of Israel’s restoration when Jerusalem, for the first time in centuries, came under Israeli control. During that same time frame, two additional signs emerged in the church. The first was a cross-denominational movement of prayer that yielded miracles accompanied by restoring everyday people to a hunger for the truths of God’s word. The other, equal in impact, was the rapid rise of the Messianic Jewish movement and with it the restoration of the Jewish roots to the church.
The establishment of the State of Israel, along with the movements more fully activating the church has combined in the increases of the stages of Aliyah, the return of God’s people to the Land given to Abraham. These signs are all a reflection of the increases in the times of awe … evidenced by the movements, the alignments and sovereign interventions of God, that have carried with it cultural change.
So, those who were gathered with Jesus in Acts 1 in His post-resurrection, pre-ascension state were not wrong in asking if these amazing things that had transpired were the prelude to the Kingdom being restored to Israel. Before us indeed is the climax of the ages. However, when viewed in light of the array of glimmers and clues derived from Daniel, John the Revelator, Joel and many other prophets, we recognize the increase in the signs tied to the “restoration of all things.” It is a process … which the band of followers Jesus had groomed uniquely outside the traditions of men … with Spirit and Truth … were to become the cultural game-changers of, for their generation.
Game-Changers Emerging in Quietness and Confidence
Isaiah 30 targets those God considers rebellious … who take counsel, but not His, who devise plans, but not of His Spirit, who trust in the shadow of Egypt or that of the world. Among those missing the boat are those who are stuck in the routines and practices of previous seasons. Yet, the answer is in returning, giving focus to the simple things ….. evidenced not by the clamor of self-promotion and misguided ambitions, but rather in the servant leadership that embraces and reflects His heart and priorities in quietness and confidence. Such is the cultural change being orchestrated by entrepreneurs whose gifts of creativity, increase and generosity have tapped a dimension and flow from heaven.
Emerging today are ones like Charles Mulli and the Robert LeTourneau’s of this hour. Not unlike Jesus’ challenge to the rich, young ruler to go, sell and give, these are ones who have been examples of personally putting it all on the line … in quietness and confidence without any fanfare. These are the heroes of faith of this hour, whose efforts impact the spiritual atmosphere to penetrate the deepest recesses and barriers of darkness that bring cultural change that moves us closer to the long awaited goals that rest in the Father’s authority alone.
So it is, that the game-changers for this season are those who will get out of the box of their comfort zones and routines of past exploits to extend the model, the strategy God has employed through his people since the days of Abraham, the potent mix of the spiritual, economic and community with generosity. With the mobilization of everyday believers immersed in and flowing in Spirit and Truth who embrace the secret things incorporated in the Jewish roots of the faith … cross-boundary prayer initiatives will increasingly bring consistent supernatural results that penetrate the toxic veil of the clamor of voices …. to draw all to the One who is at the helm in orchestrating this final wave of restoration. Likewise, the draw of God’s chosen to return to Israel is on the cusp of becoming a movement.
At the forefront are those whose love of God is pure, whose life-choices consistently push back from the love of the world, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. One who in years past made an indelible impact on my life embraced a mindset with an unusual response to his quest for career versus the Kingdom. He is one of the few I have ever known who has systematically worked his way down the corporate ladder. Although starting quite high, at the core of his periodic decisions in doing so was the factor of opportunity, spiritual opportunity containing higher levels of potential, not for his position or credentials, but to benefit the Kingdom.
Today with the restoration amassed by this last generation giving greater focus to the supernatural; with the impact and growth of prayer initiatives ranging from the simplicity of small, interactive local home/ office group gatherings to international video-connected trans-generational and trans-continental efforts, there has been emerging a significant mobilization of everyday believers immersed in Spirit and Truth, embracing the Jewish roots of the faith …. as these initiatives morph into moves of God, with the Body increasingly recognizing and responding to the signs of the times, in providing the focus of “knowing what to do.”
At its core is a direct correlation to the craftsmen-entrepreneurs discerned by Zechariah, tied to dispersing the clamor and power of darkness, through the impact of the combined gifts and stewardship, of getting out of the box of the traditions of men, together with recognizing the strategies that are closing the gap to the goals of restoration and the high goal so linked to the Father’s heart, of the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel.
“The young man said to him, ‘I have kept all these [instructions]; where do I still fall short?’ Yeshua said to him, ‘If you are serious about reaching the goal, then go and sell your possessions, give to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me!’” Matthew 19:20-21 CLV
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Morris Ruddick has been a forerunner of the Joseph-calling and God’s economy message and is an international voice for the higher dimensions of spiritual game-changers and intercessors since the mid-90s. As founder of Global Initiatives Foundation, the Strategic Intercession Global Network [SIGN] and designer of the God’s Economy Entrepreneurial Equippers Program and the Jewish Business Secrets YouTube series, Mr. Ruddick’s messages equip leaders and economic community builders with strategy 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 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 3838 South Wabash Street, Denver CO 80237 or by credit card at https://strategic-initiatives.org/donate/
2022 Copyright Morris Ruddick — firstname.lastname@example.org
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 more information go to https://strategic-initiatives.org