Entrepreneurial Aptitude is the sixth characteristic of ten that we look at in an Acts 29 planter. Often past behaviors are indicators of future behaviors – and men who have taken initiative in the past to start things are more likely to be able to plant a church than those who have never started anything. However – there’s a dark side to Entrepreneurial Aptitude that we wish to address: performance-drivenness that is devoid of and antithetical to the gospel.
To be successful, we believe we must improve our own competence, experiences, comprehension, and creativity. The saying goes, “If it’s gonna be, it’s up to me.” We believe and practice that our lives are built on our own abilities. As a revered Pharisee, the Apostle Paul had good reason to boast in his own abilities.
Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead (Phil. 3:2-11).
Paul warned against performance that was based on our own abilities. We are exhorted to put NO confidence in the flesh regarding our salvation. Many people want to “partner” with God as co-Savior and we think God needs our performance to accomplish His will for the world. Paul used his own stellar life as an example of the futility of being confident in our own abilities. He said that the near perfect life he lived was “rubbish.” Rubbish is translated “dung” in other translations from the Greek word, skubalon – the excrement of animals, refuse, rubbish and anything worthless and detestable.
It doesn’t mean that if a person is Gospel-centered, he is not productive. Contrarily, a person that is Gospel-driven can accomplish much for the kingdom and for the mission of God, but success is not rooted in a person’s performance or for his own glory. It is not based on his own ability and the means by which he accomplishes great things is not by using others, leading them with force or driving them to produce for his own benefit. Rather, the efforts are rooted in the Gospel and expressed through the power of the Spirit and as a result bring glory to God. This is done through Christ for the accomplishment of the mission for which God sent His Son and His Son sent his church and is now completing it with his body – a gathered community of Spirit-empowered disciples of Jesus.