When I listened to Pete Ochs, (founder of Capital 111, a private equity investment firm located in Wichita Kansas), make his presentations about his company at the TAP (The Asbury Project) event, Oct 2015, he reminded me of being a modern day Lydia. His company is “a values driven enterprise,” thereby he calls it: a “Stewardship Enterprise.” One of the statements he made was that he founded Enterprise Stewardship “on the values to Honor God, … serving His people.” The company’s values are not based on making big profits so as to serve God’s people. The primary purpose is to Honor God and out of what God blesses the company then serve God’s people.
The difference with what Ochs is doing may sound like splitting hair compared to what other Christian business people are doing. However, there is much difference when one looks closely at his company values. The main focus is not only about money making (which all successful businesses are supposed to do – make big profits), but to honor God through the business and then use the resources to serve God’s people. Ochs also said, “Holding on to success does not allow God to use what He has given you, but it is taking what God has given you and let Him use it, which counts as success.” The foundation of Ochs’s company is Honoring God, and this is solidified by the fact that the requirement for working at the company is one’s willingness to be a person of: Character, Faith and Truth.
What I see Ochs’s company practicing is the “Great commandment” as stated by Christ: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” It is through loving God, that we know how to love our neighbor. Ochs’s company seems to be following the same commandments. Loving God, and doing work, as a way to honor God is primary, and loving the neighbor follows. An important layer added to loving God and the neighbor, is that people with integrity and courage run the company, and they are enterprising in nature.
These values that the company has adopted, allows it to “Serve people, Steward Resources and Pursue excellence.” In addition, embedded in the company’s values are hope, innovation, vision, perspective and discipline. The values, vision, and character of Ochs’s company mimics that of Lydia – be known by what you profess and your profession will follow suit.
Just as we see in Lydia, a worshipper of God who dealt in purple cloth, Ochs sees his business as a way to honor God in serving God people. Lydia is one of the well-known business (Gentile) persons in the early church who supported the apostles in their ministries, especially Paul. Lydia and Ochs have something in common: their professions were or are shaped by the faith they profess(ed). I wish many so-called Christian Entrepreneurs would mimic such a model as Ochs has adopted. The world would be a better place if many would practice the business of entrepreneurship as a way to Honoring God resulting in serving the people of God.