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Jesus: The SME Tekton from Nazareth

Published on
10 Dec, 2020
Nigel Maine

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When it comes to connecting with various people, Jesus would be the most cosmopolitan and familiar to have walked this earth. I say familiar because everybody who met him felt they had something in common with him. He was a real man's man but women also knew that he was the "one" with compassion and the "one" to be trusted.

If we go back to Jesus' childhood we know that his earthly father, Joseph, was a carpenter and Jesus followed in his father's footsteps to run the family business.

A Reason to Stay at Home

But consider this, in those days, if your son was intelligent enough, he would be trained to become a rabbi. In Luke 2:46, we are told that when Jesus was twelve years old he stayed behind in the synagogue, though Mary and Joseph had left the Passover celebrations to go home. It took them three days to realise he was missing and locate him.

However once Mary and Joseph found him he said where else would I be but in my father's house. But that isn't the point, the Bible states he was sitting amongst the teachers and doctors and that all who heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.

Learn a Trade

It appears to me that whilst Jesus was indeed supremely intelligent and able to train as a rabbi, God had another, far more important plan. And that was for Jesus to fully grasp the significance and importance of running a business!

The last ever mention of Joseph was in Luke 2:50. Jesus, it says, left with his parents and grew; he increased in wisdom and in stature. Wisdom is pretty straightforward, but stature relates to his manliness, his standing with his community and without a shadow of a doubt his reputation as an artisan and master craftsmen, a carpenter. In the Greek, Matthew uses the word "tekton" which means artificer or craftsman. He wasn't talking about your average "chippy"!

Business as Usual

You don't need me to explain P&L, balance sheets and sales and marketing, but I think about it in terms of 10–30 A.D. If the various authors who wrote the New Testament have been revered for their insights and eloquence in detailing the word of God for two millennia, then it is foolish for us to think that business and commerce was backward in those days.

A couple of other things to point out; whilst Jesus was a carpenter, there wasn't exactly many forests in Nazareth. Rocks and sand yes and soil to farm but forests there were not. So, quite probably, Jesus worked in stone too. So any wood Jesus was able to work with would have come at a price. Therefore dealing with P&L and ensuring an ROI would have been imperative.

Taking Care of Family Business

The fact remains that Jesus being the first born would have assumed the role of head of the household and head of the family business.

The Bible mentions Jesus' family in Matthew 12:47 when Jesus' mother and brothers wanted to talk to him. In addition the references to Jesus' family can be found in Luke 8:19, Mark 3:31, 6:3, Matthew 13:55, John 7:1–10, Acts 1:14, and Galatians 1:19.

Think about this - in order that this whole family had somewhere to live, work, eat and sleep I think it is safe to say that they all lived in a house of some description! I labour this point to counter the point when people say Jesus was poor and had nowhere to lay his head! (Luke 9:58, Matthew 8:20) I say, it relates to knowing that his father in heaven would always take care of him and that the other teachers of the law, the Pharisees who were ensconced in their lives of luxury in their homes. Jesus further established this premise by sending out his disciples and the 77, telling them to take my money, food or clothing and to go and preach in each town and there, someone will take care of you!

Jesus Ran the Show

So, leading up to his ministry, Jesus had a house, a business, family responsibilities and a social and economic standing in his community.  That was how it was at that time.

When Jesus started his ministry the reaction of the locals was, "isn't he the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James Joseph's Judas and Simon? Are not his sisters with us?" (Mark 6:3), not: Joseph was not mentioned.

Jesus had to be very clear about running his business at a profit and be adept at insuring a return on investment. His brothers would have also been employed in the family business and his mother, Mary and his sisters would also have had a supporting role.

Who's Paying to Stop Work?

Jesus' ministry had to be funded by someone in the beginning and it would not have been just Jesus looking after himself. Initially there would have been his family, perhaps eight or more, plus all 12 disciples. It does not say in the Bible that the disciples chipped in at the beginning however it does state that most of them were fishermen (More business people!).

As his ministry grew so did his finances as he needed to employ an accountant called Judas, who stole money that was not even noticed because they had so much to cover all of their living costs. To get an understanding of what was involved in the ministry we only have to look at the fact there were 12 disciples and in addition at one point Jesus sent out 77 disciples who would go and preach so it is likely that Jesus' ministry would have been in excess of 100 people.

So Jesus was very aware of financial situations that affect us in today's boardrooms and businesses.

Jesus Taught from Business Situations

Whilst putting Jesus in the above context, the many parables quoted in the bible also relate to business situations as follows:

  • Construction ({tip Matthew 7:24–27::24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”} Matthew 7:24–27){/tip}
  • Winemaking ({tip Luke 5:37–38:: 37 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. 38 New wine must be stored in new wineskins.} Luke 5:37–38){/tip}
  • Farming (Mark 4:2–20)
  • Treasure hunting ({tip Matthew 13:44::44 “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.} Matthew 13:44){/tip}
  • Ranching ({tip Matthew 18:12–14::12 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? 13 And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! 14 In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.} Matthew 18:12–14){/tip}
  • Management and labour (Matthew 20:1-16)
  • Family owned businesses ({tip Matthew 21:28–31::28 “But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. 30 Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go. 31 “Which of the two obeyed his father?” They replied, “The first.”[a] Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do.} Matthew 21:28–31){/tip}
  • Hostile takeovers (Luke 20:9–19)
  • Return on investments (Matthew 25:14–30)
  • Futures Markets ({tip Luke 12:16–21::16 Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. 17 He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ 18 Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. 19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ 21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”} Luke 12:16–21){/tip}
  • Crop Yield ({tip Mark 13:27–32::27 And he will send out his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the world[a]—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven. 28 “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. 29 In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that his return is very near, right at the door. 30 I tell you the truth, this generation[b] will not pass from the scene before all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. 32 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.} Mark 13:27–32){/tip}
  • Management Criteria (Luke 12:35–48)
  • The need for observation and research (Luke 14:24–35)
  • Misuse of money and bankruptcy ({tip Luke 15:11–16::11 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. 13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.} Luke 15:11–16){/tip}
  • The advantage of Leverage (Luke 16:1–13)
  • Venture capital in high-risk situations (Luke 19:11–27)

A Career in Catering

With a smile on my face I write this part! So imagine the scene, Jesus, the local businessmen has been invited to a wedding. These are the occasions when pretty much everyone turns up. There they are, Jesus' posse, sat near the food and of course the wine, when Jesus' mother Mary overhears that they have run out of wine.

So Mary says to Jesus, "Go on my son, make some more wine appear". He must have done it before for his mum to know he could do it in the first place! Jesus said, "Quiet mother my time has not yet come". "Nonsense bubbala" she says and then tells the waiters to fill up the 40 gallon clay vessels, which would have been used for ceremonial washing, with water! Then Jesus tells a waiter to dip in a cup and take it to the father of the groom who then tells his host "wow you've kept the best wine till last". Jesus can do the catering from my daughter's wedding at any time (John 2:1–10)

More Examples of Jesus the CEO

Reading on, Jesus created an amazing return on investment for the boy with the fish and loaves of bread and ended up feeding nearly 20,000 people (5000 men, women and children were not counted) (Matthew 14:13).

Two miraculous catches of fish that the fishermen would have sold at a great profit

Sourcing finances out of the mouth of the fish to pay taxes (Matthew 17:24–27).

All of these activities and his business acumen meant that he had good standing with the wealthy. There are constant references to Jesus meeting with Pharisees and communicating with the wealthy people of the locations he frequented. There are also a number of references to Jesus eating with the Pharisees and the wealthy. Bear in mind that to eat with someone meant that you were accepted by them.

Even women contributed to Jesus' ministry (Luke 8:1, 3) however this was really unusual for women to have personal wealth and to fund this kind of ministry, especially as it was subversive to the local religions.

References to the End

Being the owner of the business can be a difficult and stressful vocation however, yet this is exactly what Jesus did for about 20 years of his life before he began his ministry, and he was definitely up there with the best of them before he began preaching.

The Bible even makes reference at the crucifixion that lots were drawn for Jesus' is tunic which was seamless. The reference to the tunic being seamless meant it was the current day equivalent of an Armani or Hugo Boss suit!

God's Amazing Plan

I feel quite humbled and somewhat in awe of the fact that I have been blessed to run my own business. I do not see it as a coincidence either. I believe business people have a critical role to play in the outworking of God's amazing plan for us, but time has shown that there are many factors at play that restrict, inhibit or distract business owners from the life that God wants us to have.

You will do greater things than I said Jesus

I believe business people will be the catalyst for an amazing revival and that the authority handed to us as a result of Jesus dying on the cross will become manifest in our time.

Business people have been blessed to established a position of authority within trade and commerce the world over. It is business men and women who understand the relevance and significance of authority and have the mindset to carry out the instructions of God as they are capable of speaking into being "His Kingdom Come".

Ed Silvoso

anointed-for-business2This article would not have been so clear and engaging were it not for Ed Silvoso and his book Annointed for Business.  I strongly urge you to buy a copy of this book as I am sure it will have a similar impact on your business and faith life as it has done with mine.

The Next Stage

There is so much more to Christianity.  I see this as an exciting and pretty "edgy" experience all-in-all.  No two days are the same and once you get lined up with what God wants you to do, everything will fall in to place, because that's what he promised.  Life won't be without it's ups and downs, but as it says in the Bible, "Be still and know that I am God."

I know that Jesus has his hand stretched out beckoning you to grab hold of it and once he's got you, he will help take your business to an altogether different level.  If you're not a Christian (yet!), all you need to do is say the prayer of salvation below and contact us at The Standard and we will guide and help you regarding the next steps.