God on Monday
He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it
and put manure on it.’ Luke 13.6-9 (vs 8)
Farming, like all other sectors of the economy, relies on investment and return. But as harvests are never immediate, patience is required. One of the reasons why the war against Ukraine will severely impact the global economy (especially the poor), is that farmers have not been able to plant the seed that each Ukrainian autumn produces such bounty that it feeds a sizeable proportion of the world’s population. In taking up their country’s fight for freedom and democracy, they have had to turn their ploughshares into swords.
Time is a crucial factor in all investments. Venture capital investors typically seek high-growth companies that have the potential to yield the most rapid returns. Such investors lie behind the phenomenal growth of some of the world’s most successful tech companies, of the sort associated with Silicon Valley.
Yet startup entrepreneurs are increasingly looking for alternative funds that reflect their vision and values, and that target growth that is sustainable, rather than necessarily rapid. The result has been a surge in 'patient capital'.
Jesus’ parable of the fig tree demonstrates his understanding of the importance of patient capital, especially in the sphere of agriculture. The vineyard owner, seeking to expedite his return on investment, runs out of patience in waiting for his fig tree to produce fruit. But the vineyard keeper suggests waiting another year, during which time he will nourish and nurture the tree in the hope that it will eventually flourish. The implication is clear: while judgement will come to those who fail to bear fruit, God's patience means there is still time for that fruit to be nurtured and developed.
Do you sometimes despair that your work is hard but not fruitful? Read Jesus’ short parable – it is only four verses
– to be encouraged! You have time this week for God's fruit in your life to be nourish and nurtured. What will you do to allow this to happen?
Heavenly Father, thank you that in your judgement you remember mercy. May your nourishment and nurture mean that we work for returns on your investments that are both fruitful and sustainable.
The UK government conducted in 2017 a review of patient capital and produced a policy paper, available here.
Consider joining the 2022 Faith in Business Leadership Retreat on ‘God’s Investment and Ours’ in Cambridge on 20-21 May. Limited tickets are available here.
Peter S Heslam, Director of Faith in Business.
God on Monday is produced in partnership with the Church of England. The reflections are based on the scriptural readings designated for the coming Sunday in the Church's lectionary. You can sign up to Faith in Business here to receive each God on Monday instalment.
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