What Biblical Principles Should Guide Entrepreneurs?
This article originally appeared at The Gospel Coalition.
In this video, Eden Chen, founder of Fisherman Labs, offers three biblical principles that should give Christian entrepreneurs a competitive edge. He also suggests one seeming disadvantage and a better way to understand it.
The following is a lightly edited transcript provided by a transcription service. Please check video before quoting.
Risk-taking as an Act of Stewardship
As I think of the, not just principles, but advantages that Christians have as potential entrepreneurs, I first think of risk-taking. I spoke a little bit about this in the last session. Christians are called to take risk. You see examples of risk in Paul, Jesus, Esther, Joab, and Abishai.
There are a lot of examples out there of risk-taking in Scripture, but we’re also called from a theological standpoint to take risk as well. The Parable of the Talents I think to me is one of the best examples of the interaction between risk and stewardship. You have someone that was given five talents, someone that was given two, and someone that was given one and the fellow that kind of buried away the talent and said, “I was afraid. I was afraid that you’re a hard person,” actually didn’t do a good job with risk, and didn’t do a good job with stewardship—which are the two things that people typically use against each other.
I think risk-taking is a huge advantage also because we, as Christians, understand the sovereignty of God as such a core principle to our theological underpinnings. Because God is sovereign, we can really take no risk, and therefore, going into something and taking that risk, as long as it’s not foolish—and there are a lot of foolish risks as well—we’re really not taking any risk at all.
If you look at the reputation of Christians, typically, they are the most conservative, risk-averse, safety-conscious individuals you’ll encounter. And that’s a culture that really needs to change, and it’s something that isn’t being applied in a lot of cases, and it’s something that I feel like is biblical principle.
Excellence as the Cultural Mandate
The other one for me would be just this idea of excellence. I think we’ve lost our ability to be excellent and create amazing art, amazing film, and things like that because of our inability to see the cultural mandate as a key part of what we do.
Hiring with a Different Standard
And then finally, like, there are lots of biblical principles that give us advantages in terms of hiring. For example, honesty and humility would be two most important things I look at when I hire. Someone’s smarter than someone else, but they’re not as honest, they’re not as humble. Ten out of ten times, I would pick the person that’s more honest and humble because if I’m in a creative session with a bunch of people and somebody’s not willing to listen, they could be the smartest person in the world, but if they’re not engaging with other people, they’re just not going to be a good entrepreneur. They’re not going to be someone that’s a good worker. So I think there are a lot of different biblical principles that give us advantage as entrepreneurs.
Obsession with Work: Necessary or Unnecessary?
I think there are some that also give us disadvantages as well. For example, there’s a certain amount of obsession that non-Christians can have in their work that we are not able to do as Christians. And I think that’s ultimately a good thing, but there’s a max cap in terms of how much we should be working, and I think sometimes that drives non-Christians to create great businesses, but it’s something that’s not healthy for the rest of life, and so it should be seen as ultimately a disadvantage.
Christians have so many great advantages as entrepreneurs, and those principles are not just advantages in working, but they also speak to something greater than themselves and give people opportunity to talk about their faith.