Have you ever thought about what the world would be like without entrepreneurs—without their creativity, tenacity and courage to make the world a better place?
Because men and women have taken the risk to start something new, we enjoy products and services that truly contribute to human flourishing.
I’m not just talking about people in business. Entrepreneurs exist in every sector of society—commerce to be sure, but also home, church, government, education, media and entertainment. Erstwhile mechanical engineer and Forbes Executive Editor Brett Nelson made the point at Forbes.com.
Entrepreneurs, in the purest sense, are those who identify a need—any need—and fill it. It’s a primordial urge, independent of product, service, industry or market.
Entrepreneurs are forever, looking around corners for what new they can discover, captivated by the prospect of a better way to do something, or dreaming of a new product that hasn’t been invented yet.
It’s George Washington Carver divining one more product to make out of a peanut.
It’s R. G.. LeTourneau pondering how to move dirt more efficiently and with less back-breaking labor.
But it’s also a mom who thinks of a new way to keep peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from getting soggy in her first-grader’s lunch.
But is the entrepreneurial impulse to fill a need really “a primordial urge,” something buried deep inside the human psyche as Nelson claims?
In reading Genesis 1 and 2. I would agree with Nelson. We were meant to look at creation and say what new can be developed. Maintaining a status quo existence was the last thing in God’s mind when he created us. He wanted us to make something of the world, which is the essence of entrepreneurship. Genesis 1 and 2 describe a daring entrepreneurial initiative. God made a huge capital investment in a start-up of cosmic proportion. Adam and Eve, the two initial entrepreneurs that God entrusted with His creation capital, were gifted and called to bring the world to fruitfulness.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Genesis 1:27-28
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (Genesis 2:15)
When they began, there were no tools leaning the shed waiting for their hands to pick up—yet. There wasn’t even a shed. Everything they would need to do God’s work had to be invented, conceived, designed, and crafted. But they had the resources of all creation to draw from and their sharp, unfallen minds to consider the development of the first technology.
Imagine the world God intended. Buried in the DNA of Adam and Eve were all the abilities necessary for them and the multiple generations that followed to bring the earth to its fullness—fully developed, every resource exploited in the best sense of that word. Natural resources and human potential would combine to create technological advances and human society that would foster a productivity unimaginable in the now fallen world in which we live. Great technological innovations would immerge not chiefly as a result of war, but out of the exuberant expression of mankind’s creative potential. Rather than causing human misery, every advance would have fostered more flourishing, more of the fullness God had in mind when he turned our first parents loose with the riches of creation.
We can only imagine what the world could have been apart from our rebellion.
And yet I marvel, marvel at what is, because someone identified a need and tried to meet it, even with all the risk and resistance our current age presents.
While we may not start a new business or organization, invent a new product or service, or discover how to meet an unmet need, we are all called to summon the primordial urge to be entrepreneurial, that is to make something of this world and make it better. That yearning is embedded in every human being made in the image of God. We affirm it when we pray the Lord’s prayer, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” When we identify a legitimate need, discover a way to fill it with something good, and act, we express that primordial impulse not only to make something of this world, but to rule and take back territory usurped by Satan and claim it as God’s kingdom domain whether it turns into an enterprise or not.
And make no mistake; entrepreneurship is a cosmic battle that requires courage and tenacity whether you’re launching a start-up business, founding a non-profit, planting a church, or managing a family. Failure is a distinct possibility in our fallen world. But there is something far worse than failure. That’s resisting when you are called.
Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins. (James 4:17)
Questions to Consider
Have you ever thought of yourself as an entrepreneur?
What ideas have you had about a new product, way of doing something, a service to provide, a problem to solve, a need to fulfill?
What has kept you from acting to make something happen?
What’s your biggest fear?
If it’s true that God calls and gifts us to make the world into a better, richer, fuller place, and Ephesians 3:20 is true, what are you waiting for?