There are many reasons why I love to support and highlight small businesses. One of those reasons is the business owner’s contribution to the surrounding community. Bright Balance Ministries believes it is of the utmost importance to expose our teens to the truth of this contribution and, more importantly, show them how they can become a part of it.
The Bible’s account of The Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 reminds us that everyone we come into contact with is our neighbor and we are all responsible for each other. Also in Matthew 25: 34-40 God speaks of feeding the hungry and clothing those who need it.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me. ’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you? ’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
So what does Teen Entrepreneurship have to do with taking care of the needy?
As a small business owner I know the money I earn from doing business with my neighbors stays in my neighborhood. I spend money at the local grocery stores, pawn shops, mechanic, etc. This allows my surrounding community to profit from my earnings. Also, since locally owned small businesses usually charge less I am able to save money for the specific purpose of helping those less fortunate than my wife and I.
Imagine instilling this type of discipline in your teen and adolescent children. Once they learn how to conduct business, they’ll appreciate the effort needed to turn fifteen cents into a dollar. This will help create compassion in their hearts for those who are trapped in the deep pit of poverty. This is one way teenaged Good Samarians are created.
Imagine your child owning a lemonade stand, lawn care business or babysitting service. If they work hard they will gain enough business that they find themselves in need of employees. This is the second way they can contribute to society- creating jobs.
Have you ever noticed that politicians often campaign using the “I will create more jobs” promise? Corporate business owners like Donald Trump desiring to move into a new location often publicize the many jobs they’ll bring to the community. The reason for this is they fully understand how important job creation’s impact is on a community. When you create jobs you create opportunity for financial stability.
Let’s say there is a town with a population of 10,000 people. Imagine that 4,000 of them are unemployed. In this situation 6,000 people work and provide for all 10,000. This is not a perfect analogy but you get the point. This causes strain on those who are employed. There are not enough shoulders to help bear the economic load. But let’s say several members of this population open businesses of varying types and sizes creating three thousand jobs. Now there are only one thousand people unemployed and three thousand additional shoulders have stepped in to help lift the economy. This is economic growth brought on by business owners, not legislature, not law-makers or hand outs but entrepreneurs creating opportunity!!
Did you know the Bible talks about farmers creating opportunity for the poor?
“During the seventh year, let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what they leave. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.” Exodus 23:11
“Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 19:10
In both these verses the excess is left for those who cannot provide for themselves. The hard working homeless in our society are willing to do what it takes to get out of their financial slump, we just need to give them the chance to do so.
I can imagine a homeless man who sees the fallen grapes of a vineyard and the untouched potatoes left behind on purpose by a potato farmer. The homeless man gathers these goods, eats a few grapes to satisfy his stomach and then barters with several other fruit and vegetable farmers in exchange for several other ingredients which he then uses to make a large pot of soup. Also imagine that he takes a bowl of soup to the local seamstress and barters for her services. His ripped clothes are now mended. This brings a high level of satisfaction, accomplishment and comfort to someone who lives outside in the harsh weather. Slowly but surely this man moves from the financial desert to financial stability all because the entrepreneurs around him created opportunity for him to pull himself up.
This is a system of generosity in which we should teach our children to participate. We need to imagine a world much better than the one we live in now. Then beg God’s guidance and wisdom in addressing the issues we face. The entrepreneurial attitude needs to be infused into the following generations in order for us to repeat the many successes of our past so that we may more positively affect our futures.