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Today's reflection - Does tax status have anything to do with Godliness?

With the very best of intentions, it's easy for some to come to this premature conclusion "I'll just start a non-profit." 

And, as noble and as "Christian" as that might sound, it may just be a misdirected step on the pathway toward creating a life that matters.

Before we get into the discussion, let me enthusiastically say "Thank God for charities and organizations that pledge themselves to serve the greater good." The charitable outreach of this country stretches farther out and deeper down than most other countries.

However, is there another way to contribute, add value and make a difference in a way that will not only feed your soul, but also feed your family? 

In a word - "absolutely". In two words - "business enterprise".

The reason I bring this up is because Sunday at church, Pei and I sat next to a delightful family that shared with us the progress of their journey into the world of non-profit.

As the wife shared with us her excitement about her charity (administratively) coming together, the husband told the story of him forging his way through a thirty-page document and bringing together requested supporting information and documentation.

Once it's approved (at the state level), the two then get to apply to the feds.

When I think about waiting periods and approval processes that drag on endlessly, I often think about the time that's been missed and how far along (had they gone a different route) they would be in their business and financial interests. 

When it's all said and done and they are finally blessed by the government, (still not yet able to focus solely on what they created the non-profit for) they then get to think about ways to generate an income.

Today's reflection is three-fold:

  1. Must we keep ourselves in the box of non-profit, to do work that is Godly;
  2. Can we make a profit (even a substantial one) and still call ourselves Christian;
  3. Is it wrong or worldly to think about making a difference in a way that makes a significant difference to us?

Share your thoughts here on our my blog.

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Comment by Ann Musico on May 9, 2012 at 4:13pm

Joel - wonderful post and very thought-provoking questions.  I am in the process of reading Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Lapin and he does an incredibly good job of explaining why business and making a profit are extremely Godly pursuits.  I am learning a lot from his wisdom and have to say I believe we certainly can and must make a difference in this world in a way that makes a significant difference to us.  If we think this through - is my husband, who is a high school teacher, less Godly and is his work with young people less important or "Christian" simply because he is earning a living fulfilling his call on his life?  Absolutely not!  He's impacted many young lives and he supports our family - a win-win in my book.

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