Business for the Glory of God
By: Wayne Grudem
October 10, 2011
Business for the Glory of God
Wayne Grudem wrote the book ‘Business for the Glory of God,’ this book is based on biblical teachings. The book discusses issues such as ownership, productivity, employment, commercial transactions, profit, money, inequality of possessions, competition, borrowing and lending, attitudes of heart and effect on world poverty from a biblical standpoint, each are “fundamentally good and provides many opportunities for glorifying God but also many temptations to sin.” (Grudem, 2003, p. 19) Grudem claims that business can glorify God. He states “I am going to argue that many aspects of business activity are morally good in themselves, and that in themselves they bring glory to God—though they also have great potential for misuse and wrongdoing.” (Grudem, 2003, p. 12) He consistently defends the use of private property, profit and competition for the moral good as opposed to the moral neutral or evil. In each chapter he shows not only how business can be used to glorify God, but how it could also be misused and become sinful.
Grudem addresses the ownership of property, also known as stewardship. One way we honor God is by imitating His supreme ownership and rule, or sovereignty. This is done by exercising sovereignty over the things we own. God gave us a desire to possess material objects, and this gives us the desire to imitate his sovereignty. We do not own things absolutely, but only take care of what belongs to God. As its stated in the Bible, “…The earth [is] the LORD's, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.” Psalms 24:1. (Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1982) As responsible stewards we must take care of our material possessions, whether it is as in significant as a pencil or as important as a large corporation.
Productivity is fundamentally good, and the production of necessary material items for both us and others is a good way to glorify God. God not only gave us the desire to possess material items, he gave us the desire to produce them as well. Genesis 1:28, “…God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1982) To subdue the earth we take control over it and all it gives us. As we harvest raw material from the earth like wheat into flour and flour into bread this makes us productive.
The employment of workers is confirmed in Luke 10:7, “…for the laborer is worthy of his wages….” (Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1982) God intends for some people to work for others for wages. When an arrangement between an employer and an employee is within each others interest then God can be glorified by the outcome. As the employee and employer work together they can bring goods and services to others, who in turn can provide for even more people, and continue a chain of provision. Both working for yourself and working for others can glorify God.
The buying and selling of goods and services, otherwise known as “commercial transactions”, will also provide opportunities to glorify God. Grudem looks into verse 14 of Leviticus chapter 25 for justification for commercial transaction, “And if you sell anything to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor's hand, you shall not oppress one another.” (Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1982) We can be morally righteous in our sales and payments so long as we are fair and do not wrong one another in the process, for as Grudem states “…commercial transactions are in themselves good because through them we do good to other people.” (Grudem, 2003, p. 36)
There is a parable that teaches about profits in Luke 19:17 “And he said to him, 'Well [done], good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.” (Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1982) In this...