08 Jun People, Purpose, Profit – The Triple Bottom Line of Social Impact
Have you ever heard the story of R. G. LeTourneau? He was called “God’s Businessman” by his friends, and he is one of my favorite examples of a Kingdom-minded entrepreneur living at the Third X.
Here is the short story of LeTourneau:
R.G. LeTourneau was brilliant and a bit eccentric. He worked in construction and was constantly underbidding his competition to get jobs. But instead of going with the flow of other construction companies – and worldly expectations – he would invent machinery to help him get the job done faster and more efficiently. He eventually started his own business and worked as a manufacturer for Caterpillar. LeTourneau’s designs are still being used today. And guess what? He never even finished high school.
During the Great Depression, LeTourneau’s business boomed. He became an incredibly wealthy man, but he never kept his money for himself or made himself a bigger deal. Rather, he and his wife decided to give back to the Kingdom.
This all sounds great, but don’t forget the lesson that LeTourneau had to learn before he could reach this point. Like so many of us, LeTourneau believed that the only way to work for God was as a pastor or a missionary. But God blessed him with the ability to invent industry-altering machinery. This made him wealthy, and he used his wealth for the Kingdom.
LeTourneau talked to his pastor about his thoughts related to working for God. And his pastor said, “God needs businessman too.” Amen.
God needs businessmen, artists, musicians, counselors, and engineers. God needs doctors, real estate investors, teachers, mothers, and secretaries. God needs His people in all areas of the world.
God needs Christians to have wealth so that we can impact the Kingdom through empowering causes, like Tricord Global.
When you think about your purpose and your passions, what direction is God leading you? Just as LeTourneau had to make an adjustment in his thinking, sometimes we have to do the same. God needs you working where your passions and talents are. Think about this in terms of the Triple Bottom Line. The Triple Bottom Line stands for three pillars: People, Purpose, and Profit.
The Triple Bottom Line
I’m sure you’ve heard the quote about teaching a man to fish rather than giving him the fish for dinner. This part of the Triple Bottom Line is all about discipling. We must give people a hand-up instead of a hand-out.
Tricord Global does this through microfinance. Our vision statement at Tricord is: “Transforming the world, one village at a time.” If we were handing out money rather than offering microfinance loans, we may not have the success that we have been blessed to see. I believe that microfinance loans to individuals and to banks are what will truly move people out of poverty. We offer a hand-up instead of a hand-out.
Before you consider your Kingdom investment, make certain that the work is discipling people and empowering them with knowledge and resources. Your first goal as a Kingdom-minded entrepreneur is to make disciples of all the nations. The disciples are your PEOPLE.
The ultimate purpose is the Kingdom of God. What is your purpose? When you think about your money, how will it serve a Kingdom purpose?
LeTourneau went about PURPOSE in an interesting way. His purpose was to design machinery and work for his construction company. But he didn’t leave it at that. He found a Kingdom purpose in the midst of his daily work – giving back what he earned to Kingdom causes.
No matter you title, you have great purpose in the Kingdom of God. You are important and your work – and your money – matters.
You want your money to make a financial profit so that you can lend the same dollar again and again. It just makes sense, right? In a lot of Christian missions, we give a dollar and then the dollar is gone. Then, we have to go back and raise another dollar.
It’s not a bad thing to be donating to causes, like I said above. It’s a wonderful thing. But if you’re at the Third X, you should be donating and investing.
Your business should be making a profit – one you can give away again and again.
This may all sounds great, but maybe you feel like you don’t know where to start. Maybe you have a business but you need to make some adjustments. Or maybe you aren’t even sure what your passions and skills are.
I’ve created a short worksheet to guide you through PEOPLE, PURPOSE, and PROFIT. It includes questions you can ask for each part of the Triple Bottom Line. I suggest you print it off and have a short retreat with yourself this week. Do some self-reflection and get excited for your Kingdom purpose!
Also, if you’re interested in knowing more about Tricord Global and possibly investing with us, click here.