• Doing God's Business
  •  Skip to Content

    Open Menu

    The Beatitudes Teach Us How to Flourish in the Marketplace

    Written By Dr. R. Paul Stevens


    I dare say there is hardly a human being alive who in their right mind does not want to be happy and to  flourish. Indeed, the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental theme of all philosophy and of every religion. In the teaching of Jesus called the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) we have an intriguing answer for the pursuit of happiness. [i] For good reason a famous and popular preacher called the Beatitudes “The Be Happy Attitudes.” But there is more to them than a program of making yourself happy. In fact Jesus was talking about life in the kingdom of God. The first and last Beatitude say “For theirs is the kingdom of God [or heaven]” (5:5, 10).  

    But here is a curious thing.  

    The Greek word that is used to translate what in English comes out as “blessed” is the word makarios. This word expresses the flourishing of a person in this amazing, as we will see, upside down—really right-side up—kingdom. So let’s restate the Beatitudes in the light of this: 

    Flourishing are the poor in spirit because the kingdom of heaven is theirs. 

    Flourishing are the mourners because they will be comforted. 

    Flourishing are the humble/meek because they will inherit the world. 

    Flourishing are the ones hungering and thirsting for righteousness because they will be satisfied.  

    Flourishing are the merciful because they will be given mercy. 

    Flourishing are the pure in heart because they will see God. 

    Flourishing are the peacemakers because they will be called the children of God. 

    Flourishing are the ones persecuted on account of righteousness because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.  

    So, the Beatitudes do not say what you have to do in order to get into the kingdom. They describe what it is like when you are in the kingdom. Further, the Beatitudes are not statements exclusively about a future kingdom period when Christ returns and establishes his kingdom on earth—it is now and also in the future (that is the mystery).  

    There is no question that the Beatitudes are paradoxical: 

    You are really wealthy when you are poor or poor in spirit, when you have a right self-assessment. [ii]  

    You are comforted when you are mourning, when you have a right passion.  

    You inherit the earth when you are meek, when you are humble.  

    You are satisfied when you are hungry, when you have holy desires.  

    You receive mercy when you give it, when you are soft-hearted.  

    You see God when you are pure in heart, when you are single-minded and can see God everywhere.  

    You are called children of God when you make peace, when you build bridges between people.  

    You are flourishing when you are facing terrible opposition, when you preserve in suffering for doing the right thing. 


    Are These Virtues Practical?   

    Can you operate this way in the marketplace? Down at the store where you work as a check-out employee? In the President’s office high in the tower? On the shop floor if you are machinist? In the home with all conflicting agendas and ego-needs of family life? In a government office? 

    All business and all human exchange is based on trust. Would you not trust someone who does not communicate that they are all-sufficient in themselves? Would you not value someone who makes peace in the workplace? In the workplace is it not a blessing to find mercy, to be given a second chance and to profit from failure and mistakes?  

    The 7 Beatitudes Rewritten for People in Business    

    In the Doing God’s Business video series (available free from the Institute for Marketplace Transformation), I rewrote the beatitudes for people in business. Here they are: 

    I will think much of God and others, and little of myself—poor in spirit 

    I will admit when I am wrong and grieve for sin—mourn 

    I will yield rights for the betterment of others—the meek shall inherit the earth 

    I will show kindness and grace when others let me down—merciful 

    I will cultivate “a single eye” having all my life focused on God and God’s kingdom—pure in heart 

    I will try to bring together factions and people at odds, building community—peacemakers  

    I will “take” the pain of doing the right thing—persecuted because of righteousness [iii]  

    Practical? You bet they are. For work—it will thrive; for workers—they will thrive; and for the workplace—it will thrive and last, possibly forever.


    [i] Jonathan T. Pennington, The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing: A Theological Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2017), 61.

    [ii] Luke simply says “poor” not “poor in spirit.” “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” Luke 6:20

    [iii] https://doinggodsbusiness.com “Doing God’s Business” Video #10.

    Dr. R. Paul Stevens

    Dr. R. Paul Stevens is a craftsman with wood, words, and images and has worked as a carpenter, a student counsellor, a pastor, and a professor. He is the Professor Emeritus of Marketplace Theology and Leadership at Regent College, and the Chairman of the Institute for Marketplace Transformation.

    His personal mission is to empower the whole people of God to integrate their faith and life from Monday to Sunday. Paul is married to Gail and has three married children and eight grandchildren, and lives in Vancouver, BC.


    Three Kingdom Values worth Dying and Living for


    The Church and the Kingdom: Are they the Same Thing?

      ©2020 Institute for Marketplace Transformation | Website by Coracle Marketing 

    No comments:

    Post a Comment