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Business as Mission is a relatively new term. But the concept is not, nor is the practice. But we can witness a renewed understanding of Biblical concepts of work and business. I have worked across the globe with these issues for about 17 years. The momentum is growing, especially in the non-Western world.

Please read the following few paragraphs which give helpful insights regarding work, wealth creation and serving others. It is from a speech held in 1988, i.e. 23 years ago. Some may be surprised when they realize that these are words from the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

“The Old Testament lays down in Exodus the Ten Commandments as given to Moses, the injunction in Leviticus to love our neighbor as ourselves and generally the importance of observing a strict code of law. The New Testament is a record of the Incarnation, the teachings of Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God. Again we have the emphasis on loving our neighbor as ourselves and to “Do-as-you-would-be-done-by”.

I believe that by taking together these key elements from the Old and New Testaments, we gain: a view of the universe, a proper attitude to work, and principles to shape economic and social life.

We are told we must work and use our talents to create wealth. “If a man will not work he shall not eat” wrote St. Paul to the Thessalonians. Indeed, abundance rather than poverty has a legitimacy which derives from the very nature of Creation.

Nevertheless, the Tenth Commandment—Thou shalt not covet—recognizes that making money and owning things could become selfish activities. But it is not the creation of wealth that is wrong but love of money for its own sake. The spiritual dimension comes in deciding what one does with the wealth. How could we respond to the many calls for help, or invest for the future, or support the wonderful artists and craftsmen whose work also glorifies God, unless we had first worked hard and used our talents to create the necessary wealth?”

Excerpts from Margaret Thatcher’s Sermon on the Mound, delivered at the Assembly Hall of the Church of Scotland, The Mound, Edinburgh, United Kingdom – May 21, 1988.

2 Responses to “Margaret Thatcher on Business as Mission”

  1. Jonathan Thornton says:

    The first draft of this speech was byMargaret Thatcher’s then Head of Policy Unit, Professor Brian Griffiths (now Lord Griffiths of Ffastforach). He first expounded these views in 1977 (?) in the form of the London Lectures sponsored by John Stott’s London Institute of Contemporary Christianity and expanded on all this in a 1980(?) book called ‘Morality in the Market Place’. At the time he wrote the lecture and the book he was head of the London City University. He also happened to be a neigbour of mine and my predecessor as Churchwarden at St James Church, Muswell Hill in London, UK. In 1990, he resigned on the same day as the now Lady Thatcher and went on to be a vice-chair of Goldman Sachs, London where he still is. Perhaps after retirement from Goldman Sachs, he will go on to give another series of London Lectures on the morality of the international banking business!

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