In the 1630's John Tuttle arrived in the new world bearing a land grant from King Charles II. He came from Bristol, England. He began a farm in what is now Dover, New Hampshire. That farm has continued and is now being run by the 12th generation of Tuttles. The farm is now known as Tender Crop, and has claimed to be America’s oldest family run business.
However, the Shirley Plantation, located in Charles City County, Virginia has also made that claim. According to descendants, the Shirley Plantation began in 1613.
Whether the oldest family owned business in America is Tender Crop or the Shirley Plantation, both have are works that have endured. In the Oklahoma City Journal-Record, there was an article titled “Owners Struggle with Financial and Emotional Burden of Succession.” It discussed how often family businesses failed to go beyond the second, third...or sometimes even first generation. Seventy-seven percent of all family businesses do not survive to the second generation.
Sometimes, starting a business, project or enterprise is the easy part. Seeing that sustain long term is not always so easy. About 70% of all new church starts do not succeed long term. Seeing a new work or institution begin is hard enough. Seeing that new entity sustain over a long time is an incredibly difficult challenge.
How about projects and plans God has for us? As God’s plans are carried out, it is critical that God’s people plan for their continued and ongoing success.
Ensure the Focus on God’s Glory: 6:15-16
“So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.”
Whatever Nehemiah and his people did, they did it in such a way that God was magnified over and above themselves. The way they went about their business, and the way in which Nehemiah led, translated to the neighboring people that God was at work. The scope of the project and the way that they accomplished it pointed everyone to God.
From 1685-1750 one of the greatest composers and songwriters in history graced the circles of Germany. Johann Sebastian Bach is still being played, studied, and talked about as one of the most prolific composers of all time. He was an amazing and talented individual. Yet, everyone should know the purpose behind his music.
- S. Bach said, “All music should have no other end and aim than the glory of God and the soul’s refreshment; where this is not remembered there is no real music but only a devilish hub-bub.”
He headed his compositions: “J. J.” “Jesus Juva” which means “Jesus help me.” He ended them “S. D. G.” “Soli Dei gratia” which means “To God alone the praise." In short, Bach was convinced that the ONLY end of music was to glorify God.
What happens if that becomes the rule of our lives? Whatever we approach, if we say “How can this bring glory and attention to God?”, what impact will that make in our lives and this culture?
How would we approach our jobs differently if we were to say, “Lord, how can my work bring glory and honor to you today?”
How would our conversation change if our motive is, “Lord, how can my conversation and talk bring attention and glory to you today?”
How would our service in this church change if our abiding concern were “Lord, how does this outreach/teaching/service best bring glory to You?”
How would my giving patterns change if, rather than asking “How much am I supposed to give?”, I ask, “How can my giving bring glory and honor to You Lord?”