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.
The wilderness and famine years
So much of the fanfare around entrepreneurship highlights the glamour and the gold waiting just around the corner. The perpetual carrot chasers run from one opportunity to the next seeking the lushest land. Like Abraham’s nephew, Lot, they ‘pitch their tent toward Sodom’ because that’s where the rewards look most likely.
It’s a telling and frightful story how Lot’s lot in life played out.
Genesis 26 – An Entrepreneurial Journey
Isaac, the son of promise, chose a different path. Following his father’s tent-dwelling pilgrimage.
He stumbles into Genesis chapter 26 – and things look bleak!
Is this not often the case when we begin our dream of creative contribution and financial freedom?
Far from fame and fortune, the land of famine is marked by an abundance of ideas, balanced by an equal absence of an audience or the means with which to reach them.
The chapter begins with the unmistakable words…
“There was a famine in the land.”
No amount of Strong-arming will change the reality – the Hebrew means precisely what it says just as much as the English.
Here’s the man of God, Papa’s chosen, and we find him in the land of famine.
The Lean Land of Learning
It is also a land of learning. Learning to trust God. Learning to speak up when no one’s listening. Putting yourself out in the open while all the world is turning away and heading to Egypt.
Maybe even a time when it seems ridiculous for you to think you can be, do, and make more through your God-given gifts and talents.
The famined land is a hard training ground, but often a key starting point for so many successful creatives. In the land of famine the world shouts seductively with its come-hither call to compromise your convictions and settle for less than the best you know God has prepared for you.
That’s no criticism. The temptation is very real.
Hear or Hustle?
As a Christian creative with a message burning in your bosom do you lay your call aside and just look for a quick buck? A swift way to cash-in on your creativity?
The answer is clear in the next verse of Genesis 26:
“Then the LORD appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you.” (Genesis 26:2 NKJV)
Hearing, not hustling.
Leaning your ear close to the heart of God and receiving His direction pointing to your land of promise.
With regard to business, for me, it came several years ago when He told me words were my way forward. Despite having several plates spinning, with variable success, the direction God gave required not just heading in the direction He pointed out, it also meant walking away from those things that did not faithfully fuel that vision.
The temptation to hold on to a number of activities that provided dollars in the coffer, and pounds in the bank, was one I think many people face.
Faith is often just as much about what we let go of, as it is about what we take hold of.
I was challenged to close several doors trusting that the writing and publishing door would open wider as I leaned into it.
Like Isaac, I was faced with a choice.
Do I continue to play in Egypt’s playground and spin busy plates, or do I trust God and believe that He can use my creative seeds to bring a harvest even when the ground looks hard and unyielding.
Here’s the rub…
Creative life takes courage.
The Treasure You Are Seeking
Sometimes outside circumstances look contrary to the vision we carry in our hearts.
Egypt will always peal with voices calling you in every direction other than the one Papa has shown you. Offers and opportunities to bypass the pain of obedience will sing loudly and keep you woefully-hopefully treading in the wrong direction making limited progress.
But the foundation of your entrepreneurial endeavors is not the same as the world. In the world’s ways the end, meaning money, will always justify the means.
In God’s economy, the real riches are found in relation to the One who has promised to give your hand the power to get wealth. Deuteronomy chapter 8 is instructive reading for anyone seeking to bring value to the table, and receive wealth in return.
The key that opens the door is proximity to the God in whom all good things reside, and from whom all good proceeds.
Hearing God’s voice is the treasure you are seeking.
“There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.” (Proverbs 20:15 KJV)
What can be more precious than the lips of God speaking wisdom to the heart?
No treasure on earth can compare.
The first lesson in faithful-preneurship…
Until we get that one down we’ll always be running to Egypt.
Only God can satisfy your hunger, even (and especially) in a land of famine.
Too often in business and creative endeavors, we think money, audience, reputation, success in the marketplace, subscribers, connections, or whatsoever-whoso-ever else, will satisfy our craving. But these are just an answer with a small ‘a’. They can come and they can go.
The sanctuary that will truly satisfy in the long-term, the harbor for your heart, is found in hearing God speak. That alone is the one essential. The answer with a capital ‘A’.
A life of hearing obedience is one that will weather every storm and overcome every obstacle successfully. In times of abundance and times of abasement, you’ll know the security that eludes the lovers of Egypt.
You’ll know that in the proving of your character your future prosperity is being incubated.
“Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end;” (Deuteronomy 8:16 KJV)
When we learn to lean in and hear God’s direction, even a land of famine can look like a field ready for sowing!