Entrepreneurial and creative life comes with challenges. They change from season to season, and every level has its own devils. Some taunt us to give up, others push us to work harder, want more, and never rest content.
As Jesus said, the road leading to life, real life here and in eternity, is narrow. Staying true to your faithful convictions in all seasons is the challenge every faithful-preneur will face.
This month, I’m excited to be sharing some of my learnings over time in my entrepreneurial journey. Now it needs to be made absolutely, abundantly clear. I am not standing here as some guru of online entrepreneurism. I am just as much in the trenches as anyone here who’s listening. I’ve had my fair share of successes and my fair share of failures. I guess that’s part of the kind of what qualifies us to call ourselves entrepreneurs. It’s not just generally a smooth road that we traverse. There are challenges along the way. And one of my favourite chapters in the scriptures is Genesis Chapter 26. And as we know, the scriptures are kind of a layer cake at the surface level. We are oftentimes just reading a diary. We’re looking at a real life lived out before our eyes as it actually happened. You know, God, the Holy Spirit, was there to view it all, to see it all transpire, to see how it played out. And then he threw the means of men who were inspired by that same Spirit, by the witness of all that took place. Men were able to give us insight as to the journeys that others have taken.
But then we go down layer by layer. We read in the New Testament that the Old Testament was given as an example for us, that we might learn from it, and that we might live with hopeful hearts, knowing that there is a bigger plan at work than just the small keyhole that we look through when we’re sometimes even looking at our own lives. We can have a very limited capacity to truly appreciate the breadth of what God is working in us and through us in the world. And indeed the bigger eternal destiny that has been worked out as he builds and develops and shapes our character for something not just in this life, but beyond this life, but Nevertheless, Genesis chapter 26, for me, is absolutely packed with insights that we can draw from in our creative and our entrepreneurial journeys. And I want to begin today talking about the lean land of learning. Entrepreneurial and creative life, as we all know, comes with challenges. And they will change from season to season. And every level, as they say, has its own Devils. Some will taunt us to give up. Others will push us to work harder, want more and never rest content.
Those early days where maybe things are lean and hard and there are more questions than there are answers. Those are the times where it’s very easy to just throw in the towel. But then we get some success under our belt. And success has a very seductive way never to allow satisfaction. It wants more. It pushes and guides us onward instead of our heart being at rest and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us onward. As Jesus said, the road that leads to life. And I’m talking here about real life right here on the dirty Earth and into eternity is a narrow road. And staying true to our faithful convictions throughout all of the seasons and the challenges that we face is something that every faithful entrepreneur will face. And here in Genesis chapter 26, it begins with these unmistakable words. There was a famine in the land. In the kind of online marketplace particularly, I think, but elsewhere, I’m just talking about places that I am familiar with. There’s so much fanfare around entrepreneurship, highlighting the glamour and the gold waiting just around the corner. It’s almost like entrepreneurship is glamorised and made to be something far more attractive than it actually is.
In reality, entrepreneurship and creative living is one that demands a great deal of faith and challenges us to our very core. The perpetual carrot chases run from one opportunity to the next, seeking out the luscious land. It reminds me a little of the story of Abraham and his nephew Lot and Lot. When the two parted, we’re told that Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom. There was this lush land there. There was a beautiful, fruitful land. And Abraham said, look, there’s not enough here where we’re presently situated for us both and our flocks and our people. You choose which way you go, I’ll go the opposite direction. So we won’t have strive. And looked out. He looked for the best of the land. And it says he pitched his tent towards Sodom. And as we know, before long he was in Sodom. In fact, he was in the gate of Sodom. He was a man of influence in that place. And just as Egypt represents the world, Sodom does not represent something necessarily desirable. It may have been the most enticing, it may have promised a great deal. But as we know, the story of Lot in life, as the story plays out, was not something that we would want to emulate.
Isaac, on the other hand, Abraham goes off in the other direction. And then we fall into the story, continuing through his son, Isaac, the son of promise. And like his father Abraham, Isaac chose to live a tent dwelling pilgrimage. He didn’t kind of put down his roots in this world, if you like. He was a man on a journey. And here we see as he stumbles into Genesis chapter 26. Things are not looking great, and this is not often the case when we begin our dream of creative contribution and financial freedom. Far from the Fame and fortune that maybe are plastered across the sales pages. The land of famine is marked more by an abundance of ideas, but it’s balanced by an equal absence of an audience or even the means with which to reach them. It’s a challenging place to be in and one that requires great faith. The chapter, as I’ve said, begins with these unmistakable words. There was a famine in the land. And even when you go back to the original Hebrew, it means exactly the same thing. There’s no getting out of this. There will be times where we are challenged.
There will be times where things look contrary to the way that we would like them to look. There will be times where we are called upon to look beyond the immediate situation and believe God for a favourable outcome, despite contrary evidence. Faith, we are told in Hebrews Chapter 11, is the evidence of things not seen. It’s the substance of things hoped for. Once we have those things in our hand. Faith is no longer required, but in this entrepreneurial, in this creative journey that you are on, looking to bring your message to the world, looking to make a difference in people’s lives. Faith is required. Without faith, no one can please God. What? All faith is something that is an essential. Yeah, it’s a non negotiable. And faith often is tested and required of us. Yeah. God allows us to develop our faith. Not through getting everything that we want, when we want it. Faith is built oftentimes in Adversity. And here we find Isaac in the land of famine. He is the man of God, his Papa’s chosen. And we find him here in the land of famine. The thing is, the land of famine is also often a land of learning.
It’s a place where we learn to trust God, learn to speak up when no one’s listening. Put yourself out in the open while all the world seems to be going in the opposite direction, turning away, heading to Egypt. It’s a time where faith really is required. Believing both in the God who has called us and in the gifts that he has given us to bring to the world. It can be a difficult time. Those early days where we are literally in sowing and sowing and sowing, and it looks like there’s no harvest. It looks like the ground is unyielding. Can be very challenging times. We’ve all been there. Maybe it’s even a time where it seems completely ridiculous for you to think that you can be do or make more through your God given gifts and talents. It’s so easy. The world is designed, yeah, to corral us into the status quo. Just do things the way everyone else is doing them. Who are you to think that you could live differently and prosper from a place of peace? Go to work, go to school, get a job, work all your life, retire for a few years, spend what you’ve saved, and then whatever will depend on where you stand in relation to Jesus Christ.
But I’m sure that there is a greater destiny for you right now. And it’s not that that pathway is necessarily wrong. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I’m just talking from the perspective of the fact that many people do lay down their dreams, lay down their hopes and just settle. Yeah, they settle for something less than that which they believe God has called them to it’s a hard training ground, but it’s often a key starting point for so many successful, creatives and in the land of famine, the world shouts so seductively with its come hither call to compromise our convictions and settle for less than the best that we know God is prepared for us. And as I said, that’s not a criticism. The temptation is very real. And if God has called you down a more conventional path, don’t be ashamed of that either. You know God can use us wherever he has planted us. I guess what I’m trying to say is when God speaks, follow his lead. Sometimes that may be into something that is more, if you like, ordinary, and there is nothing wrong with that. But sometimes he’ll call us to do something extraordinary in the sense that it’s outside of what someone would generally or normally do.
Sowing a bunch of seed into parched, dry, dead ground is maybe not what common sense would say is the best thing to do. And yet here we find that the Lord speaks to Isaac. It says, Then the Lord appeared to him Genesis 26, verse two, and said to him, do not go down to Egypt. Live in the land of which I shall tell you, we don’t want to compromise ourselves, running off in a direction that the Lord is not leading us. Really, I think the key here is hearing, not hustling, leaning Larna close to the heart of God receiving his direction, pointing us to the land of promise. However that looks for us, he is the one doing the leading. We are the ones doing the following. Now, with regard to business, for me, this came several years ago when he told me that words were my way forward despite having several plates spinning with variable success. I had a website, business and lots of different things happening at the time. The direction God gave required not just heading in the direction that he pointed out. It also meant walking away from those things that didn’t kind of fuel that vision or lean in that direction.
Now the temptation really, at the time, quite honestly, to hold on to a number of activities that provided dollars in the bank is one that I think many people face. Faith is often not just about what we take hold of. It’s also about what we’re called to let go of. At times I was challenged to close several doors, trusting that the writing and publishing door would open wider as I leaned into it. And like Isaac, I guess I was faced with a choice. Do I continue to consider my options in Egypt and spin busy plates, or do I trust God and believe that he could use whatever creative seeds he’d placed within me to bring a harvest even when the ground looked dry? And again, I guess a point to bring out of this is creative. Life takes courage now. Sometimes outside circumstances can look contrary to the vision that we carry in our hearts. How many entrepreneurs are like that? They’ve got this big vision of the dent that they want to make in the universe, the money that they want to generate, the difference they want to make. And yet here we are, like punching away on a keyboard to just a few ears who are kind enough to hear us or read us.
We’re looking. We carry this big idea on the inside, but outside, the rewards seemed to be kind of remarkably small at times. Those early days, those wilderness years, if you like, can be so, so challenging. I want to encourage you. Keep walking in the direction God has given you. Offers and opportunities will appear to bypass the pain of obedience. And if we heed them, they’ll just keep us spinning in circles, really, or heading woefully and hopefully in the wrong direction altogether. See the foundation of your entrepreneurial endeavours. Your creative life is not the same as the world. In the world’s ways, the end meaning money most often will always justify the means. But in God’s economy, the real riches are found in relation to the one who’s promised to give your hand the power to get wealth, if that is the outcome you’re looking for. Deuteronomy Chapter eight is instructive reading for anyone who’s wanting to bring value to the table and receive wealth in return for that exchange. The key that opens the door is proximity to the God in whom all good things reside and from whom all good things proceed. Now, hearing God’s voice, I believe, is the treasure that we should be seeking.
There’s a beautiful verse in Proverbs 20:15 there is gold and a multitude of rubies, but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel. What could be more precious, my friends, than the lips of God speaking wisdom to our heart? And there’s not one treasure on Earth, not the gold or the multitude of rubies can compare with learning to hear our God speak. The first lesson in faithfulpreneurship is to hear God. Until we get that one down, we’ll always be tempted to run down to Egypt. When the challenges come. Only God can satisfy the hunger and especially and even in the land of famine. That is the case too often in business and creative endeavours. We think that money, audience, reputation, success in the marketplace, subscribers, connections, or whatsoever. Whosoever else are going to satisfy our craving? But these are just answers with a small A. Yes, they’re needful. Yes, they’re important, yes, they make a difference, but they can be short lived, they’re changeable. Things can be going well one day and not so well the next. And really, what we’re looking for the sanctuary that will truly satisfy us in the long term.
The Harbour for your heart is found in hearing God speak. And that alone is the one essential. That’s the answer with a capital A. The answer a life of hearing. Obedience is the one that’s going to weather every storm and overcome every obstacle successfully. In times of abundance and in times of abasement, when things look bleak in the land of famine, you’ll know, the security that eludes the lovers of Egypt, those who are looking to the world for their significance, those who are looking to the world and whatever the world is currently trending for their sense of worth, this sense of well being and this sense of rootedness, this tree planted by Rivers of water that bears fruit in every season at all times, only comes when we plant ourselves in the rich soil of God’s love and Grace. And we are willing to allow Him to do the leading, you’ll know, in the proving of your character that your future prosperity is being incubated. Deuteronomy Eight, Verse 18, as we’ve already mentioned, talks about God giving our hand the power to get wealth. But it’s preceded by this verse. It talks about how he fed his people in the wilderness with manner which their fathers knew not that he might humble them, that he might prove them in order to do them good in their latter end.
And I believe that we often as creative Christians as men and women seeking to follow a different path and dance to a different drum, will also be given the privilege of being humbled and being proved that God might do us good in our latter end. And when we learn to lean in and hear God’s direction, even a land of famine can look like a field ready for sewing. And we’ll be willing to step out and throw out our very best into the world regardless of the circumstances, because we know that our God is faithful.
Thanks for listening to today’s episode. Hopefully it was a blessing to you. If it was do, please consider leaving a rating in a review on whatever platform you are listening on. I also would love to encourage you to cheque out my new book, Faithful Creative. We’ve got a package of resources designed specifically to encourage you in your Christian creative call. You can check that out at faithfulcreativebook.com and if you choose to pick it up, use the promo code podcast for 50% off so you’ll get it for half price. Have a great rest of your day and God bless Jesus first. Everything else follows you.