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AVODA Group

Let the little start-ups come to Me, and do not hinder them

As a Christian start-up, the story of Jesus with the children brings joy to my heart and tears to my eyes. It is told in, not one, but THREE of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them”

Mark 10:13-16

Imagine for a moment, that Jesus is here in the flesh, today. But He is surrounded by the big businesses, banks, global non-profits, and government ministries. They seem to be talking about big, important things. You only just want to talk to Jesus, to see his face. But you’re in the OUTER circle, on your tippy toes, hopping up and down to see over the heads of these important people just to get a glimpse of Jesus.

And then, Jesus’ entourage comes over to you to push you away, condescendingly and patronisingly, saying, “Shhh, go play somewhere else and be quiet. The grownups are talking.”

But then Jesus turns, and your eyes meet. His eyes are full of love and compassion as He looks at you. He smiles at you briefly, but his expression changes as He gets up and rebukes the people who said those things to you. And He says “let these little Christian start-ups come to me and do not push them away. For the kingdom of God belongs to businesses such as these.”

Sometimes we wonder, how could my infant Christian business possibly matter in something as important as BUILDING THE KINGDOM OF GOD? How could my baby start-up possibly have such cosmic significance, especially when compared to the giant corporations out there in the world today, corporations that have more money than many countries’ governments, corporates that seem to be changing the world and defining the way we live in it?

How can Little Me possibly matter?

But Jesus stands up for you before everyone who thought themselves more important than you, and boldly declares, “this small start-up, this baby business, is what matters to me. Be like this little Kingdom business.” And not only that, He says that one thing that every kingdom business and kingdom entrepreneur deeply, fervently wants to hear more than anything else. He says, “The Kingdom of God belongs little businesses like these“. Tears come to your eyes, and your legs shake with happiness at this bold, loving affirmation. All the hardship, loneliness, and desperation of starting your business has, in one sentence, been affirmed by the King of kings.

In the kingdom of God it doesn’t matter who is bigger, or who is stronger, richer, or more powerful. In fact Jesus says that in the kingdom of God, the first shall be last, and the last shall be first (Matthew 20:16). There are thousands, maybe millions, of businesses bigger than yours. But what matters to Jesus is that pure, childlike excitement He saw in you just to see him, to be with him, and to see him smile at you, and tell you that he is happy with you and wants to be with you too. If that is you, then you are greater in Jesus’ eyes than any of the big businesses that don’t desire Him.

What Jesus wants to see is your childlike meekness and happiness when you see Him. Another thing He wants to see is your eagerness to get to Him, that there is nothing you desire more than to be with Him. In short, He wants to see that there is nothing more you seek than His Kingdom and His righteousness. If this little child is genuinely you, then “all these things will be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33), and the Kingdom of God is yours.

But wait, you say. I’m not that humble. I’m not that meek. And I don’t even seek first God’s Kingdom and righteousness all the time. I’m not only small, I’m imperfect and sinful. I’m just really, genuinely, unworthy. “I really suck in this life, and I’m going to suck in the next life too”.

Fear not! As I visualize the scene of this story about Jesus, knowing how some little children tend to behave, I imagine that half of the children were rebelliously screaming and crying as their parents dragged them towards Jesus. The scene must have been pretty chaotic! And so people around them look on and say to each other, “This is so inappropriate! Here’s one cheeky little one, thinking he deserves to sit on the lap of the Most High, and there’s the mother of another causing a high-voltage scream-fest as she interrupts our important conversation with her bundle of snot and drool”. And yes, it would have been inappropriate indeed, if Jesus Himself does not stand up and say to them, “No, come. You are my child. You always have the right to talk to me because I am yours and you are mine. I died for you. I love you.”

So, please never, ever think that your small Christian kingdom business doesn’t matter. To Jesus, it matters tremendously and eternally.

And finally, no matter how successful your kingdom start-up becomes one day, no matter how big your company and business becomes in the future (and I pray fervently that it does!), never, ever forget that childlike meekness and eagerness of wanting to be with Jesus, of wanting to see Him smile upon you.

Never, ever think that you are too small to matter in the Kingdom of God. And never, ever think you’re so big that you matter more than the little ones around you. If you are a kingdom business, stay small in spirit no matter how big you grow to become one day. No matter how many people talk of your success one day, stay meek, for then you shall inherit the earth. No matter how profitable your business becomes, stay poor in spirit , for then yours is the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 5:3-5)

 

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Jun Shiomitsu

Founder & President at AVODA Group

Founder & President of AVODA Group. Prior to this, Jun was a banker for 13 years in Japan, the UK, and Switzerland, initially as the Assistant Vice President of the Treasury Department of Citibank Japan.

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