Nov 2016

Babylon vs. the Lamb

Posted by / in B4Blessing News, Business Principles / No comments yet

We believe in capitalism: the economic system based on private ownership of the means of production. The owner of the capital who puts it to work can make a profit. Along with profit is the concept of private property, a voluntary exchange of labor and goods and competitive markets. When we look at the parable of the talents in Matthew 25 we can see that this is a system consistent with biblical principles.

However, when we talk about the Babylon model of business, which is widely practiced today, we are talking about something different. While this model is evident in the Bible, it is not a business model consistent with the character of God.

In the picture above, the Dutch renaissance artist, van Heemskerck pictured Babylon in a way that allows us to see how it relates to the normal life of today’s business:

  • Most famously, front and center, the half completed tower of babel depicted man’s attempt to reach God and people who are trapped inside or at the edge of the tower.
  • The building on the right with the hanging gardens represented the king and his power.
  • The image of the university is in the large building with a clock tower. You will notice a replica of the tower of babel reaching toward heaven. The education system was one that attempted to reach God by learning.
  • Justice is the woman left naked on the tower at the left. Justice is unclothed. The drawbridge limits access and clearly disenfranchised people fall at the feet of justice.
  • The power of war is depicted by the horse and rider with a bow aimed at the lion.
  • The movement and distribution of goods with ships, water and bridge reflects the narrow ability for goods to move to where they are needed.

So we see in business today a hyper-competitiveness with hostile take-overs, cutthroat sales practices and short-term profit being the most important measure of the company. Our universities turn out MBAs who can perform to these standards and are willing to give up the normalcies of family and community life to be successful. Justice is bought in many places with the cost of a bribe, which the Bible calls unfair to the poor and the widows. Our rulers and leaders are building huge luxurious edifices and poor people have little access to needed goods. It’s a global system that permeates normal business practices today. People are marked by it, they don’t know how to take a step back from its 24/7 impact with global distribution and media.

Revelation 18 says it will fall in a day and that it is all kinds of business. People are trapped in this business model, not realizing that it will be destroyed, along with all their efforts and assets. Even concepts such as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are most often self serving for “bragging rights” or to sell more of the company’s product.

Like we said, we believe in capitalism. We believe it is a system of business that is blessed by God. This other? This Babylon system? Its an aberration that causes people to reject even the good of capitalism. Capitalism practiced in a Godly manner we call the Lamb’s model as Jesus was the Lamb of God. It is typically a mirror image of Babylon.

First it begins with the premise of the sovereignty of God: that He actually owns all that we have and are. He created the world containing the “stuff” to design a product or service, he made us in His image, so we are creative enough to utilize the “stuff”. We believe that He loves us and wants to engage us to bless others. We can walk with Him in the cool of the evening as Adam and Eve did. He will give us all the wisdom we need to run a business in the Lamb’s Model.

This is the foundation. It isn’t that we don’t work hard – we do. But we work hard in connection with God. We aren’t trying to reach Him since He has already reached us. So we rest in Him, we create business structures that bring Him honor and glory. We are fair to all our stakeholders. And when we get it wrong, we own up and make it right. We tell the truth even if it hurts.

This is business 4 blessing: a business that blesses not only its owner, but the family, the community and all those within its sphere.

The chart at the end of this blog shows the elements of both business models:

Our workbook, Designing Your Business 4 Blessing, will help you work through the principles of a biblical business model – the Lamb’s Model.

The Babylon Model The Lamb’s Model
Marks its people Honors and brings glory to God
No Rest Rests in the Father’s care
Lives in luxury while people are poor Considers all stakeholders
Doesn’t pay or treat people fairly People are God’s honored creation
Full of lies Truth is at the center of the business
All kind of businesses: financial, fishing, global trade, dealing in precious metals and jewels, clothing, food, construction materials All kinds of businesses that could bless a community or a family
Set for destruction Creative and creates LIFE


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