A Fruit Basket or an Orchard: Which Will It Be?

***Dick Weidner leads Legacy Ventures Network, which is the third component of Triventure.com.  Dick has been in the financial sector and a church leader his entire career and has started companies focusing on accounting and on investment. From time to time we will be reprinting articles by Dick.***

Having been created in God’s image, we share many of His attributes.  Among them are love and compassion.  Our hearts and consciences are stirred by tragedy, suffering and despair, and our natural instinct is to respond in some way to alleviate the consequences of the tragedy.  Annually, trillions of dollars are spent by governments, agencies, non-profit organizations, and individuals to provide immediate relief, and then we wait for the next event.

I refer to these relief efforts as “sending fruit baskets.”  They are gratefully received, they meet an immediate need, they are consumed, and then you are left with an empty basket.  Please do not misunderstand me.  These “fruit basket” efforts are good and meet the immediate needs of food, clean water, housing, health care, etc.  However, time goes on, the next calamity occurs in some other region, and the “fruit baskets” are redirected.  The end result is a culture of dependency and need.

I am not denigrating the need for, and value of, initial response to tragedy and calamity.  I am suggesting that there needs to be a longer-term perspective.  We need to be proactive, rather than reactive.

Several years ago, the Gallup Organization conducted a poll in over 30 countries asking, “If you could have one thing in this world, what would it be?”  The overwhelming response was, “A good job to take care of my family.”  It did not matter the type of government, religion or location.  The desire was for a job that would provide support, purpose, and dignity.  Subsisting on donated “fruit baskets” does not meet that need.  However, owning an orchard or a business or having meaningful employment as a result of viable orchards and businesses does meet that need.

That is a large part of what Business As Mission is about.  It is enabling the establishment of profitable business enterprises in areas of need to provide employment, bring about societal changes, create stability and to emphasize the God-given dignity of work.  Give a family a fruit basket, and they will eat for a day or two.  Give the parent of that family a job with a sustainable wage, and they will eat every day.

Consider how you can be a participant in planting orchards.

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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