Jesus the Entrepreneur

Jesus the Entrepreneur

With a successful venture playing a prominent role in Jerusalem, Jesus was naturally trained in economics and business as much as he was philosophy and religion. As Christians we have to recognize that our savior was an entrepreneur before he was a teacher. Doing so is empowering and delivers a new perspective on scripture that enables us to understand God’s heart for the marketplace. This series seeks to establish a Biblical foundation for understanding Jesus the Entrepreneur.

Entrepreneur First, Teacher Second

We tend to view Jesus as a rabbi, but did you know that he was actually a carpenter most of his life? This seemingly trivial truth actually can be a transformational reality when you begin to explore Jesus the carpenter instead of Jesus the teacher. In fact by looking at Jesus the entrepreneur first, you’ll have a better understanding of Jesus the rabbi and his teachings that make up the Gospel.

Jesus was a carpenter for over 20 years before he became a teacher. In fact, Mark 6:3 indicates that people had a hard time viewing Jesus as anything but a carpenter.

Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. (Mark 6:3 New Living Translation)

Notice how the scripture here is spoken with a tone of skepticism; people actually took offense at the carpenter suddenly taking on the role of a high profile teacher! They only viewed Jesus as a business person because that was all they knew. This is important because it hints at just how prominent of an entrepreneur Jesus was. Think about that for a minute – God could have chosen any sort of occupation for Jesus – yet he purposefully chose Jesus to be a manufacturer and salesman, not a rabbi.

Was Jesus really an entrepreneur?

Okay, so he was a carpenter. That alone doesn’t guarantee Jesus necessarily knew a lot about business. Maybe he just knew a lot about woodworking and someone else handled the business intelligence?

In Matthew 13:55, Jesus is referred to as “the carpenter’s son.” However later in scripture Jesus is simply referred to as “the carpenter.” I’m not sure this change in description was an accident – instead I think God wanted to highlight the fact that at some point Jesus graduated from apprentice to CEO. This change in scripture likely indicates that Joseph (Jesus’ dad) passed away and Jesus, as the oldest son, assumed control of the family business.

As the first born son, Jesus became the senior partner once Joseph died. His brothers were junior associates and his sisters and mother played supportive roles. This means Jesus had to be trained in basic business and economic principles in order to see that the family business thrived even after the original founder (Joseph) passed away. Thus, Jesus had to be experienced in topics like calculating the cost of goods and labor, supply and demand, competitive pricing, return on investment, and the cost of maintenance and replacement of equipment.

Questions to Consider

Everything about the life of Jesus points to the son of God being an entrepreneur. Find confidence in this because it assures you that Jesus understands what you’re going through as an employee, manager, or owner. He’s been there before. Also find confidence in the fact that you have been called to the marketplace just as the son of God was. As you reflect on these truths, consider the following questions.

  • Do you think God intentionally chose Jesus to be a business owner?
  • How do you think Jesus’ ministry would have been different if he had never been an entrepreneur?
  • How does seeing Jesus as an entrepreneur change the way you see him and interpret the scriptures?

Photo Credit: Flickr | Alan Cleaver