Kory Sorensen of Surrey, B.C., is director of
the not-for-profit organizational leadership
program at Summit Pacific College. He also
teaches about business as mission at Trinity
Western University. Read more of these columns
Kevin O’Leary is a Canadian businessman with public prominence due to his role as an investor on the TV
shows Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank.
He is entertaining because he makes
bold statements. Recently he made
headlines challenging Alberta Premier Rachel Notley on her government’s fiscal policy. He even said he
would make a donation to the oil
industry if she would resign. All of
this makes for ratings, headlines and
a few laughs around social media.
O’Leary and many other investors assert they only invest in busi-nesses that make money. “If it
doesn’t make a profit, it is likely not
a good business.” This is a pretty
common view – the role of business
is to make money for the owners
and shareholders. This perspective
dates back at least to Adam Smith,
the 18th-century Scottish thinker
who wrote The Wealth of Nations.
Not everyone today agrees. Over
the last 20 years, people in the business community have begun to ask
if there are other bottom lines. Today
we now see significant dialogue
about triple bottom lines, quadruple
bottom lines – business jargon to
express other measures of success in
addition to financial profit.
People are asking, Can business
also help people? Ease poverty? Make
lasting change in society?
Some companies also measure
success in being environmentally
caring or more community minded.
There is even a Christian movement
to see business as a way to address
spiritual needs (
These are all great discussions.
But the foundational question for
Christians is, What is God’s bottom
line? Here are four things we need
ACT WI TH LOVE
The greatest commandment is to
love the Lord with all our heart,
mind, soul and strength, and to love
our neighbours as ourselves (
Matthew 22: 37). If we practised this in
all areas of our lives, including the
marketplace, imagine the transformation that could take place!
The book of Nehemiah sets the
priorities and principles for believers in both business and faith.
Nehemiah clearly heard God speak
to him with a plan (1, 2). Much of
the rest of the book is the outworking of that plan, employing
hard work and faith to get there. As
believers our first obligation is to
always hear from our Father.
Second, we have to work hard and
be good stewards of the vision and
resources God gives us. Sometimes
the avenue of strategic planning
and its implementation is seen as
something less than what it is –
honouring God and being good
It’s interesting to look at the parable
of the talents in Matthew 25. Here
we see three different responses to
being good stewards. Those who do
nothing aren’t looked upon well.
Only those who invest well are rewarded. It’s fascinating the Greek
word describing the wise stewards’
investments literally means “to
work.” This very much ties into the
Nehemiah principle that tells us we
need to hear from God, but we also
must be diligent and work hard.
STE WARD WELL
Ultimately we recognize that
everything we have – in fact, all the
world’s resources – belongs to God,
and we are simply stewards of those
resources. Our real bottom line is
to steward them for the maximum
benefit of the Kingdom.
When we look at all the complexity of the integration of faith into
business, and ultimately the
marketplace in which we are all
engaged daily, it does become hard
to discern what the bottom line is.
If it is only financial profit, we do
well to remember the poignant
words of Jesus. “What good is it for
a man to gain the whole world, yet
forfeit his soul?” (Matthew 16: 26,
Mark 8: 36 and Luke 9: 25). If profit
is our only bottom line, maybe our
priorities need to be looked at in
light of eternity, not just a balance
Is business about more
What is God’s bottom line?
“CHRIS TIANS ARE
CALLED TO BE SALT
AND LIGH T IN THE
I T IS NO T ABOU T
A SINFUL AND
CORRUP T SPHERE,
BU T RATHER
ANSWER TO THE
MAY YOUR KINGDOM
COME IN THE
– MATS TUNEHAG.COM