I used to see my business as the tool to get out of debt, save some money, buy a home, a nice car, and live comfortably.
But what if I told you that my mindset was utterly WRONG about money, business ownership, and happiness?
While working on a branding project for a client of mine, I began to study the concept of “travel experiences.” I read research that people are happier when they EXPERIENCE things rather than receiving something. For example, buying someone a $5,000 trip on an African safari would be more impactful on that person’s life than buying them a $5,000 Rolex.
This got me thinking about my own thoughts and desires around the accumulation of wealth and what the purpose of money is for entrepreneurs.
My whole business life I’ve been trying to climb out of student loan debt, but could that goal have been met a lot sooner? Could this journey of entrepreneurship have been much more enjoyable had I just thought differently about money?
We, business owners, are all in this to make money, but the question is – why? That “why” will either be a motivator of something God wants or a chain that binds us to something the enemy wants us bound to so we don’t see the truth.
Being a Godpreneur, I first went to the Bible.
The Bible says
“thus says the Lord of hosts, “Consider your ways! You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.” (Haggai 1:5-6 NAS)
The Prophet Haggai is talking about God’s perspective on money and happiness.
Through Haggai, God was addressing business owners frustrated about the accumulation of money. The wealthier they got, the more they were dissatisfied. The problem was they were viewing their use of money on a scale of the accumulation of things.
Dear Christian entrepreneur, listen to me carefully here, this is a game-changer. It’s not what the profits of your business can buy you, but HOW you use your wealth that brings happiness.
Getting out of debt and paying all your bills is NOT a form of happiness. Are you happy when you step outside of the prison gates after being locked up for 20 years? No. Life is about to be a tough journey for that person. His happiness can’t come from getting out of jail, it has to come from all of the experiences he’s accomplishing, even while in prison!
You might think that “experiences” are only temporary things and that buying a Rolex is a more permanent form of happiness, but this is the wrong way of thinking.
But the enemy wants us to think we are happier spending our money on material goods because he doesn’t want you thinking about what God would want you to experience with that money.
What if instead of the Rolex, God wants you to go on a vacation with your wife because it’s on that trip that the both of you will restore your relationship and take it to a new level you never thought. A Rolex won’t do the kind of magic Disney can.
We Christian entrepreneurs all started our businesses to make money, right? And now we all have a choice of thinking about WHY we want that money. Some of us want the money so we can “stop struggling,” thinking that we’ll be happier if we’re not struggling. But the Bible clearly teaches that we’re going to struggle in this world regardless, so why would we make your goal to stop struggling?
Instead, we Godpreneurs have the choice of thinking about what God would want us to experience with that money, a point of view that brings in His higher standards.
See, in a God-first business, we don’t just consider our products and services to be things God created us to do, but we must also consider how God wants us to experience Him more with that money.
Yes, the Bible has been a fantastic tool to help us guide our businesses ethically and morally. However, what it says about money, even though written thousands of years ago, is practical truth for now and forever for entrepreneurs.
Jesus talked about money and its futility in a famous parable:
“The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”‘ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21 NAS)
How we handle our profits (the Bible calls it stewardship) will determine whether or not we’ll experience true happiness or a fake temporary pleasure. The mindset we take will determine how we run our businesses and how we treat everyone we do business with.
When I made a decision to think of my business not as something to get out of debt and buy things, but instead as a way to create new experiences in my life and the lives of those God has called me to impact, it changed my entire motivation for business.
I don’t think of Disney as a place to lavish myself, I think of it as a retreat God sends my wife and me on to bring us closer together. Why? Because that’s what God would want. Not me. God.
And the more we can see our business profits from God’s perspective, the more we will see a wealth transfer in this world from those that don’t think God’s way, to those that do think God’s way.
The Bible says, and research proves it. It’s what we do with our business profits that counts more than what we buy through it.
God’s going to hold us accountable for how we spend our money, and for those of us that can steward it correctly, God will give more. Therefore the most important thought we need to have in our business is, “God, how do you want me to use these profits for your glory?”
The Bible says in Proverbs 29:18, “Without vision, the people cast off restraint.” Without God’s point of view on what you’re going to use your profits for, waste, and dissatisfaction result.
Imagine if we all traded our material desires for things God wants us to experience? Without God, there’s no real purpose for the money. But with God, we get meaning and purpose and thus a more “whole” view of money and its use and therefore producing true happiness.
It’s true – Disney is the happiest place on earth, and for me personally, it helps me and my marriage….but only if I can afford to get there. Therefore, my goal is for my business to pay for my Disney habit.
What are your money goals now?