DOING business can be a test of love. It actually is. Remember that parable about a nobleman who went off to a distant country to obtain the kingship for himself and then return? (cfr Lk 19,11-28)
He first called his 10 servants and gave them a gold coin each, instructing them to trade with it until he returns. The first earned 10 more with the coin given to him. Another earned 5 more. But a third one simply returned the coin without any earning.
The nobleman was very happy with the first two servants and rewarded them very generously. But he was mad at the third one. “Why did you
not put my money in a bank,” he asked. “Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.”
The parable can have many interpretations and applications, but one lesson we can derive from it is that we have to make use of everything God has given us: our life, our intelligence and freedom, our rights and duties, our capacity to work, our talents, charisms and other natural endowments.
And we have to make use of them as fully as possible, exhausting their potentials to the furthest extent possible, but doing this always in
accordance to God’s will and designs, and not just ours.
And so, away with idleness, laziness, wasting time, or pursuing business purely on our own terms, with profit and other forms of self-interest as the driving force and God’s plans largely if not completely ignored.
The third servant also had reason why he just kept the coin without trading with it. “I was afraid of you,” he told his master, “because you are a demanding man. You take up what you did not lay down, and you harvest what you did not plant.”
Like this third servant, we too will always have some excuses not to do what God wants of us, and instead just do our own will. This has to
be avoided at all costs.
Of special interest to us now is the role of business in our life. For many, business is just a human affair, pursued for completely human
purposes that actually also have their good side.
We have to make sure that this human activity, so important and common, is done with the proper intentions and means.
Business is indispensable in any society. It generates money, employment, services, progress and development. It fosters creativity
and productivity as it incites entrepreneurial spirit among people. It gives able support to our other concerns—even in our intellectual and
It definitely deserves to be promoted and defended. But it has to be done as an expression of love of God and others. It just cannot be reduced to a purely economic or technocratic activity. Rather its technical requirements and goals should be met and pursued as a function of love of God and others.
Because it is done out of love of God and others, we have to learn to view business as a form of prayer and offering to God. We have to
learn to do business such that it becomes a living instrument of God’s abiding providence over us. We need to infuse theology into our business, our faith and charity inspiring our numbers and calculations.
It is this love of God and others that purifies the profit motive of business and enlarges it to serve the common good and not just a private interest. It is what considers the welfare of everyone, and pursues to build a culture of social justice.