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GOD is the One and Only “Sacramental Entrepreneur.”
By definition, the entrepreneur seeks to start something new – American Heritage Dictionary, 2005 – ” “entrepreneur [(ahn-truh-pruh- nur, ahn-truh-pruh-noor)] – One who starts a business or other venture that promises economic gain but that also entails risks.”
So, according to the word itself, the one who is an entrepreneur intends to start a new venture. They are taking on risk in order to achieve some gain.
But the Church of God is not a new venture. It has existed so long as human beings have existed.
GOD established the church.
And the Church continues to be grown, sustained, nurtured and nourished by Him through the very means that He has established for that purpose.
GOD has taken on all the risk. He created humanity in His image. He put the life of His very own Son on the line to rescue us from sin death and hell. This was necessary because we we sought the glory and honor of man above and beyond of the great and glorious gifts that God saw fit to bestow.
The Church of God was established in the Garden of Eden. God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden. And, giving them the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God gave them a specific locus – a physical location – and a physical means by which the power of God would work in their lives. There at those trees, Adam and Eve would be caused to remember their relationship with God and they could rejoice that God had created them and gave them great and abundant promises.
Those two trees became something like a sacrament. God had attached His Word to both trees. If they eat of the tree of life, they will live forever. And, in they day they eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they will surely die.
And we know the rest of the story. The devil – ever seeking to disrupt and destroy God’s good and merciful work – deceived the woman and enticed the man to eat when God had commanded him not to.
God is not content to let His entrepreneurial enterprise fail.
Speaking His Word once again to His creatures, He poured into their ears the wonderful promise of a savior and worked faith in them so that they trusted that He would deliver them from the clutches of the usurping slave-driver, the devil.
You see, like all of his children after him, the devil is something of a “johnny come lately”. As He did in the Garden, he is always seeking to take glory from God and place himself at the head of something that God has has already started and is already doing.
God creates the heavens and the earth in six days. In the supreme entrepreneurial act of starting something new, He brought everything into existence out of nothing by means of His Word. Then, God builds a garden and installs Adam and Eve as care-takers over creation — and everything is going fine!
Then, the devil comes to seek and destroy what God is doing. Through his forked tongue, he whispers lies and tries to convince us men that things aren’t moving fast enough, things aren’t grand enough and spectacular enough. And all too often, we are easily convinced to agree with him.
What the devil desires is to take control of God’s entrepreneurial enterprise. The devil is always trying to place himself at the head of the organizational chart. He wants to be the leader, creating movements and networks so that people follow after Him instead of acting in obedience to what God has given them to do.
That’s why the devil tries to always convince people to take things to the next level – beyond and ahead of what God is accomplishing. Instituting means and methods and “best practices” for achieving what looks pleasing to the eye and has every appearance of satisfying our hunger to achieve something of significance.
One of the devil’s chief means to destroy the church to lead people to seek glory for themselves.
The devil is content to stay behind the scenes and allow HIS minions believe that they are establishing themselves as leaders. He convinces them to follow the elemental “leadership principles” of this world so that they can manipulate people into following THEM instead hearing of the clear and plain teachings of the One Lord and our Savior, Jesus Christ.
This is why so many well meaning Christians are deceived into starting “movements” and creating “networks.” They wrong-headedly believe that they can run out and ahead of what God is accomplishing – they can catch the next wave of God’s activity in the world. What they don’t realize is that their actions and works divert people’s attention away from God and His activity and bring them more and more under the influence of the devil.
As the ONE and ONLY sacramental entrepreneur, God has already started a movement. On Pentecost, he created a network that has only grown ever since. What some don’t understand is that this network is not held together through an organizational chart headed up by an earthly leader. Christ Jesus has ascended to the right hand of God and is, even now, the one and only leader and ruler in His Church. He guides and governs that church through the work of His Holy Spirit and gives us all the “best practices” we need in the clear teachings of Scripture. While you’re going, preach the Gospel to every creature, baptize into the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, do this in remembrance of me for as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes – and Lo, I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.
Therefore, instead of seeking to start something new ourselves, we ought to take comfort and solace in what God has revealed that He is is already accomplishing and put our hands to the tasks He has clearly given to us to accomplish. He has declared that He is already working all things for the good of those who are in Christ Jesus and are called according to His purposes. It is only our egos and our deluded concepts of self-importance that says things aren’t happening fast enough, that things are grand enough and spectacular enough.
AS You Go
A clear-headed reading of Scripture shows that Jesus does not sends His church out with some vague command to make disciples and followers. Rather, Jesus sends us out saying, “As you go into all the world preach my Gospel to all creation. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved.” (Mark 16:15)
It’s true, many things can fall under the phrase, “AS YOU GO,” even coffee houses and rock bands. But the going is incidental to the real command given by the King and Lord of creation. Jesus words mean, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, I put you under orders to, “preach my Gospel to all creation.” He gives no command to start enterprises, to begin new things, to take leaps of faith to start new ventures. He has co-opted us into His enterprise, he has made us managers and stewards of HIS venture.
That’s why, it is my firm belief that things which have their genesis – their beginning – in conference rooms are almost assuredly fundamentally opposed to the way that God has revealed that He works to create and sustain faith in this world.