Religion and entrepreneurism are two concepts that don’t necessarily go together as a pair. At least, when I think of one, I don’t automatically think of the other.
Professor Jeff Cornwall, one of my favorite bloggers and a smart man, got me thinking about the topic on this Sunday morning. He wrote about a talk by Father Sirico of the Acton Institute given recently at Belmont University, where Jeff is the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship.
That led me to investigate the Acton Institute a bit. On the Acton website I found this short piece by Father Sirico. Entitled “Saint Businessman” it points out that “doing business and doing good” are not incompatible:
What do you think of when you picture a “saint”? Someone like Francis of Assisi, perhaps, who gave up his worldly goods. Or a Mother Teresa, making her life’s work the rescue of India’s outcasts. One type that does not come to mind is an entrepreneur. But think about this for a moment: Is there any law that says a saint cannot hold a regular job, excel in marketable skills or build a business?
We forget that the apostles in the New Testament were fishermen first, who learned about hard work and diligence in a market setting. We forget, too, that for many centuries, and even today, monks have had to market goods like wool and honey to the outside world to support their lives of prayer, reflection and contemplation.
Owning your own small business is not about worshipping the almighty dollar. It’s about being self-sufficient: taking charge of your destiny, earning a living, and providing a living for others.