I dropped into my favorite local coffee company this morning and ordered a small coffee of the day – dark roast – and a bran muffin. The smell of roasting coffee drifted through the surrounding pines taking my mind off of the chill of the 40-degree morning. A 1951 restored Chevy pickup was pulled up in front of the front awning.
As I paid my bill and received the coveted coffee, I noticed the verse of the day boldly declaring its message on the wall for everyone to read, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10) This must be a Kingdom business.
But do Bible verses make a Kingdom business? What makes a Kingdom business? There are many technical definitions, but what interests me most are not the definitions or even the helpful instructive scriptures on the wall and the coffee cups. What interests me are the “good works” which God wants us to do. What does that look like at my local coffee company? How are they demonstrating the theory?
For starters, this place is spotlessly clean and well organized. A western theme dominates the atmosphere, from the music to the decorations of nature. There is plenty of room on two floors and on the outside verandas. A gigantic fireplace is an attraction during the winter months.
All the amenities for coffee are at your fingertips. The service is unparalleled as well-trained attendants serve quickly and joyfully and with competence. You can tell they love their jobs and they love the customers.
This local coffee company is committed to fair trade; they regularly visit the growers and seek to insure that fairness prevails in every step of the process, from planting to growing to processing, milling, exporting, roasting and brewing. Quality dominates the people, the process and the product. And the customer sees it at every turn.
A Kingdom business can be defined in various ways. In a study I did several years ago, reviewing the primary authors defining these businesses (Baer, Rundle and Steffen, Eldred, Mulford, etc.), I discovered that every definition includes:
- Development of employees for their full potential; and provision of products or services which are a true benefit to their markets, treating all stakeholders with dignity and respect.
- A product or service that is offered with excellence.
- Profitability, but with a Christian ministry purpose equal or bigger than financial profit.
- Servant leadership that seeks to glorify Christ in all aspects of the business and seeks to help others to follow Jesus.
This is not just theory; this is the real thing. This is living out the theory of Ephesians 2:10. It is doing “good works.” Another biblical author, James, in James 2:17 states, “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” All of this is something that can be replicated – not only around this country but also around the world in different cultures, social contexts and languages – in any business anywhere – for the greater glory of God.