The Purpose of Business by Gerald Chester

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule . . . “ Genesis 1:26 NIV

What is the purpose of business? Many would respond that the purpose of business is to make money. While profit is one of the results of business, is it really the purpose of business?

Or consider the possibility that the purpose of business is to promote social good. For example, there is much fanfare around the charitable fund-raising prowess of the PGA tour in America. Other companies are lauded for reducing their carbon footprint or energy conservation or supporting social causes. (Depending on your worldview, you may or may not view these initiatives as socially good.)

Other than money and the social good, is there a more profound purpose of business?

From a biblical worldview, there is. The above text is the first record of the purpose of man in God’s universe. Man was created by God to rule the physical universe. (Some refer to this as the Creation Mandate, which is recorded in Genesis 1:26–28.) Given the Creation Mandate as the prime mandate of man, then everything relating to the life of man must find its purpose in this mandate. Therefore business is a tool to enable man to rule.

If the purpose of man is to rule God’s physical creation, then all human activity must relate to man’s responsibility to rule. Therefore work is, and must be, a means to rule.

To see business as an instrument to fulfill the Creation Mandate is a stretch for most people. Why? Perhaps because most assume that business is a function of physical reality and has little to do with spiritual reality. This presupposition is not biblically rooted; it is a fantasy of man. If you are going to build your life on a biblical view of reality, you must recognize that spiritual reality drives physical reality. And if sound spiritual reality comes from Scripture, one must look to Scripture to provide wisdom on God’s purpose for business.

Given that the true purpose of business is to facilitate God’s rule and reign through human beings, it is important for us to realize that our rulership must be aligned with God’s meta-narrative. By meta-narrative, I mean the overarching story of history, which is about Christ. Therefore business must find its meaning and purpose in the context of the meta-narrative.

Here is your business tip. The purpose of business is to provide a venue for man to obey the Creation Mandate and therefore administer God’s rule in the universe. Each business should find and play its role in the meta-narrative. Decisions made based primarily on money or social good will prove to be unwise. The only wise way to conduct business is to align with the will and ways of God. Business leaders must function with this awareness. Projecting the rule and reign of God is the number one objective of business. Consequently, other objectives, such as, money and the social good must be viewed as secondary purposes.

Listen to Dr. Chester’s presentation on:
“Ruling in God’s Creation – A Case Study”
Available either as a PodCast or audio download.

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