25 Nov #044 – Integriosity – RENEW—Keep First Things First—Righteousness—Living Generously
ESSENCE: Faithfully “doing right” is more than “doing good”–it means “doing right” by God, and that means “living generously through loving others and stewarding creation”. There are many organizations that promote “giving generously”, but what does it mean to “live generously”? It requires “vertically integrating” generosity and living sacrificially.
When we began exploring the depths of faithfully “doing right”, we asserted that faithfully “doing right” is more than “doing good”. We said it was about “doing right” by God, and that means “living generously through loving others and stewarding creation”. There are many organizations that promote “giving generously”, but what does it mean to “live generously”? We actually think it is a lot like donating blood.
“Doing Right” by Living Generously
Just as there is a faith/work movement in the United States, there is also a generosity movement. Groups like Generous Giving and the National Christian Foundation do important and excellent work helping people of faith understand the importance of being generous with their wealth. However, by itself, the message of “give generously” can draw a leader into, or at least positively reinforce, the Side Roads of Monetizing or Interimizing. It is all about what you do with “the wealth” (a.k.a., “the profit”) and not about how you generate “the wealth”. Remember, Monetizing is believing that faithfully “doing right” and faith/work integration can be just about giving money to people or groups that do “God’s work”, and Interimizing is believing that you can put off the “significance” of faithfully “doing right” until you have achieved worldly “success” (a.k.a., “the wealth” and “the profit” that can be given away generously).
At Integrous, we believe that faithfully “doing right” requires more–it requires the “vertical integration” of generosity. Living generously is about operating the organization (and, in the process, generating wealth) in a way that generously loves others and stewards creation. Hopefully you recall from an earlier post Tim Keller’s definition of “righteous people”–it is people who “disadvantages themselves to advantage others“. We think this is a lot like donating blood. The donor gives their time and their very life blood in order to help someone in need–they don’t just donate money to the Red Cross. Living generously is living sacrificially—choosing to give something up or to forego a benefit because it benefits the common good–because it is faithfully “doing right”.
A redemptive enterprise “spends itself” on behalf of the world more than on its own behalf. (Praxis)
In exploring faithfully “doing right” and “living generously”, we want to highlight the work of Praxis, an accelerator for faith-driven entrepreneurs. Praxis urges organizations and leaders to strive for the “Redemptive Edge” of their industry. Praxis defines Redemption as “restoration through sacrifice” and says that:
A redemptive enterprise “spends itself” on behalf of the world more than on its own behalf. The founders, and ideally the funders, are led by the Spirit to create sustainable value while leaving opportunity for others (gleaning), and to operate regularly with grace and forgiveness.
Praxis uses redemptive within a framework that identifies exploitive and ethical organizations as the lesser alternatives. We call the ethical grouping “do good” and the redemptive grouping faithfully “do right”. We agree with Praxis–faith-driven leaders are called to more than ethical.
SPOILER ALERT: In future posts about the second step of Integriosity, RE-IMAGINE, we will explore the importance of Sustainability (and its components Stewardship, Mutuality and Generosity) in Re-Imagining the culture of an organization that is pursuing faithfully “doing right” through Integriosity.
PERSONAL NOTE (from PM): As mentioned in an earlier post, I first thought about, developed and presented my ideas regarding the Bible calling business leaders to more than “doing good” through ethical behavior when invited in 2011 by my friend Dave Blanchard to mentor entrepreneurs in the early days of the Praxis accelerator (I gave a presentation in 2012 called Learning To Be the Light: The Importance of Integrity and Identity).
Now follow this rabbit trail: (1) I was introduced to Praxis and Dave by another friend, Henry Kaestner, in 2011. (2) I met Henry in 2011 at a meeting in Chicago that (3) he was not supposed to attend (but did) and (4) I initially had little interest in attending (but did anyway). (5) The opportunity to attend came from yet another friend, Jim Lane, (6) who I met through the New Canaan Society. (7) I only attended the meeting in Chicago on behalf of NCS because Jim could not. (8) I only met Jim Lane because I showed up at his home in 2003 to attend a New Canaan Society meeting when my marriage was in trouble. (9) I only heard about the New Canaan Society because my wife, Lisa, “happened” to sit next to a woman named Deborah while volunteering at a school book fair. Thank you Lisa, Deborah, Jim, Henry and Dave for helping “write” this post! In 2011, God taught me an important lesson: “Follow God’s rabbit trails even if you don’t see a rabbit, because you never know what He has waiting around the 3rd (or 4th or 5th . . .) corner.”