Richard Blackaby Interview: Christian Entrepreneurs And Failing Well

Dr. Richard (Rick) J. Goossen, Chairman, ELO interviewed Dr. Richard Blackaby, President, Blackaby Ministries International, on December 21, 2018.  Dr. Blackaby will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming ELO Forum in Winnipeg on April 30th (see his bio HERE)  Dr. Blackaby is the co-author (with his father, Henry) of three books that are particularly relevant to Christian marketplace leaders:  Experiencing God:  Knowing and Doing the Will of God (Nashville, TN:  B &  H Publishing Group, 2008); God in the Marketplace (Nashville, TN:  B & H Publishing Group, 2008); and Spiritual Leadership (Nashville, TN:  B & H  Publishing Group, 2011).  This is the fifth of a series of blog posts related to Christian entrepreneurs applying their faith in the marketplace based on the interview with Dr. Blackaby. 

You can view the previous blogs below:

Richard Blackaby Interview: Spiritual Disciplines for Christian Entrepreneurs

Richard Blackaby Interview: Christian Entrepreneurs & Risk 

Richard Blackaby Interview: The Meaning of Spiritual Leadership 

Richard Blackaby Interview: Christian Entrepreneurs & Risk 

Richard Blackaby Interview: Biblical Principles for Christian Entrepreneurs 

Richard Blackaby Interview: A Distinctive Biblical Approach to Work?

Richard Blackaby Interview: Spiritual Leadership Versus Leadership 

Richard Blackaby Interview: What Are The Challenges For Christian Marketplace Leaders?

RG:       Entrepreneurs fail, and sometimes many times, including going bankrupt and those types of things.  How does that relate to this assumption that God blesses us and often people will assume that means blessing us financially?

RB:        So many things in the Bible we boil down to money. If God is blessing us, He must intend for us to have more money! But, of course, blessing involves a lot more than money.  I’m reminded of Romans 8:28 – God causes all things to work together for good.  A lot of times we look to that to say well then, whatever I put my hand to, God’s going to cause it to work together for my good, meaning I’ll be successful financially.  But if you read the next couple of verses, he talks about the fact that we’ll be conformed into the image of Christ.  I think what he’s doing is defining what ‘good’ means.  What Paul is saying is that no matter what circumstance God lets you experience, He can make you more like Jesus as a result. 

That’s the ultimate good.  It’s not that you have more money in the bank, but that you’re more like Jesus.   I think we first have to define what success means for God.  For God, we’re far more successful when we become more like Jesus than when we add 10% to our net worth.  We have to be careful and assume that we’re using the same terms that God is otherwise we’ll say God why aren’t you blessing me?  And He’ll say, well I am, you’re just not looking in the right account.  I remember working with a CEO who had gone into business with a partner that had cheated him and left him holding the bag for all the debts.  This man lost most of his savings, retirement, and was having to repay all the people his company owed money to. He said to me, “I tried to do things God’s way and I God has not blessed me.’ 

‘Why would God do this?’ he asked.  I asked him: ‘how’s your wife been through all your trials?’ ‘Oh’ he said, ‘She’s been a rock. She’s been so supportive of me throughout. She prays for me, loves me, supports me, and blesses me.’  ‘How are your kids handling this?’ I asked. ‘One of them has felt called to be a missionary, the other has been a prayer warrior who’s always there helping us when we need her. And all of our grandkids are walking with Jesus.’  I said,  ‘You know, I work with a lot of business executives who have tons of money, but their kids won’t speak to them and none of them walk with God. Some of the executives are on their third marriage already.  All the things that really matter in life, you’re knocking it out of the park.’  I said, ‘God has blessed you in your relationships, your family, your legacy, and God is filling your home with love and joy.  The one thing you’re having a hard time with right now is cash flow. But God is showing you that even that has some promise for the future.  It looks to me like God’s been blessing your socks off in all the areas that really matter.’  The guy got all teared up.  He had focused on money and hadn’t recognized all the blessings God had been giving him all along.

Entrepreneurs take risks. Sometimes it doesn’t work out like they thought it might. But be careful you keep your eyes open because there may be a lot of amazing things God is doing even in the midst of what seems like failure.  Remember, your kids are watching you.  Your kids are watching what it looks like for you to walk in faith, to walk in integrity, even if it means going through hard times. You don’t know all the lessons your kids are learning while they watch their mom or dad trust God and keep their joy in difficult times.  I once worked with an executive who was being dragged through the courts on an entirely bogus claim. The press had picked up the story and it was humiliating. The man asked why God would let him endure such hardship. I asked him about his children. He had a son and a daughter who were young adults. Both of them had been wavering in their Christian commitments in their early adulthood. I asked him, “Could it be that God is letting your two kids have front row seats as they watch whether all that “Christian stuff” their dad always told them about is actually real after all? Could it be that God uses the most difficult circumstance in your life to bring your two children back to Him?’ Life is a lot more complex and nuanced than simply doing the right thing and God giving you more money.  There’s a whole lot more God wants to do in your life than that.