The Intrinsic Value of Business

Ripple Effect on Water[1]

With the few brain cells in my head that have not been toasted by four straight days of lectures, I am writing this post. It is perhaps among the hardest posts I have written, not simply because I’m fried, but because I have learned so many great lesson here at Acton. The challenge is deciding on what to share. That said, I have a point to make. It is actually something for which I need to apologize to my boys in the form of a confession. I now have your attention don’t I.

Thanks to Scott Rae of the Talbot School of Theology, whose lecture titled “Theology of Work” I attended this afternoon, I realized that I have unwittingly made a mistake, one that I need to straighten out. Here it is: from when my son Philip (who is now eight) was born, I have had this strong sense that he will one day be a pastor. There are some reasons for this, including his gentle, nurturing demeanor, but it is mostly my subjective intuition. Over the years, I have made comments to this effect, sometimes in the hearing of his siblings. I have been mindful of encouraging my other sons to serve Christ in whatever line of work they happen to engage, because we are Protestants who value the Priesthood of Believers yada, yada, yada, they too will serve God. But Philly, he is going into “ministry.”

I now realize that I was wrong to express it this way. I unintentionally elevated vocational church ministry to a higher plane above other vocations. Because all (virtuous forms of) work has intrinsic value to God (my parenthetical qualifier is intended to exclude the Playboy photographer and mob boss) it too is ministry with as much legitimacy and significance to Christ and his kingdom as the pastor or missionary. In other words, business is ministry when it is done in a Christian manner and for the glory of God. This is the message that I must offer my boys. It’s not “ministry” versus “business;” rather, it’s “church ministry” and “business ministry.” Indeed, this is the message that we must preach and teach. God help us. 

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