David and Jason Benham are twin brothers, entrepreneurs, former pro baseball players and controversial. “Controversial” because their obedience to Christ has not been without uproar. Sometime ago they lost a show on HGTV because of their stance on homosexuality, abortion, and the distortion of culture at large.
Which is pretty admirable!
What’s even more admirable is the business empire they’ve built over the last decade or so. From real estate to financial services to information technology their influence is expanding.
If you’re new here, what we do over here is study the lives of Christian millionaires and billionaires. We glean their “secrets” and share them with other Christian Entrepreneurs.
What is a “Christian entrepreneur?”
The word “entrepreneur” is from the Old French word “entreprendre,” which means “undertake.” So one definition of an entrepreneur is “one who undertakes or manages.”
“Entrepreneur” is also derived from two Latin words:
“Entre”=========> “Swim out.”
“Prendes”=======> “Grasp or grab hold of.”
So the term basically means, one who “swims out” to the unknown to “grab hold of” unseen opportunities.
A Christian Entrepreneur is one who does this to the glory of God!
A Christian Entrepreneur doesn’t necessarily have to be a business owner. It is someone who simply:
- Swims out.
- Grab holds of opportunities.
- Disrupts monopolies and fosters competition.
- Allocates capital and resources from lower to higher yielding returns.
It is someone who is PRODUCTIVE.
So what can Christian Entrepreneurs learn from these two. I’m glad you asked:
1. Go the Extra Mile in Everything
When they were younger their Dad took them to a Denny’s. They weren’t there to eat but to watch.
Then it happened.
A busboy in his fifties came to a dirty vacant table. He slowed down, looked at the table, looked at his watch, and then showed the two young boys WHY they were there. For the next couple of seconds it was a whirlwind:
- Dishes and utensils went flying into buckets.
- All trash was removed.
- Every inch of the table and chairs were cleaned
- And everything was put into its proper place.
When he was finished he looked at his watch with a smile and strolled away. According to them:
Since that time they have used the extra mile principle in everything they do:
- In Little League they would clean the dugout after every game. They wanted to be faithful in little things so they could be an effective witness of Christ.
- In the pros Jason wanted to clean the dugout but they had a professional cleaning crew doing that. So he decided to help the clubhouse manager. In every town he was in he would help with the laundry, iron uniforms, vacuum, and clean the shoes. As a professional baseball player! One day when his family came to visit him his family even helped!
The principle of going the extra mile really helped them as they were getting their real estate business off the ground:
- They met the owner of a printing company that needed large pallets of paper stacked manually. He estimated the job would take an entire day. The owner then left. They looked over the job and realized they could do it in 4 hours instead of 8. After they were finished they noticed the back of the warehouse was a mess. They decided to clean it. So in 8 hours they stacked the pallets AND cleaned the warehouse. The owner came back in and was amazed! He offered them full time work but they turned it down. (2)
- One day a banker called an asked if they did foreclosed homes. Desperate to get their business off the ground, they said yes. Their responsibility was to secure the house, clean it up, manage it, and sell it. The banker faxed over the requirements expecting them to have it finished in 3 days. They did it in 2 hours.
The Power of Going the Extra Mile
When speaking about going the extra mile Jesus said,
“And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” (Matthew 5:41 NKJV)
He related it’s significance to an oppressive practice in His day. The practice originated with the Persian government under the rule of King Cyrus.
Under this custom the king’s messenger had power to take horses, camels, and men into service against their will. In fact, couriers or messengers were staged in specific locations by the king; if a man were to pass this post an official could rush out and “compel” him into service.
This custom was then adopted by the Roman goverment. Simone of Cyrene was “compelled” into helping Jesus with His cross, when the weight became too heavy.
Rather than quarrel and complain about this oppressive treamtment, Jesus advised us to do otherwise. He not only advised us to comply but to exceed expectations in a spirit of love and service.
But beyond Christian duty the principle of going the extra mile is a POWERFUL promotional tool. The spotlight of comparison always shines favorably on the person using this principle. They become indispensable.
Because in contrast, others don’t even go the first mile; and if they go, they do it with such a bad attitude it were better they’d not gone at all!
So let me ask you this:
- Are you not where you want to be in life?
- Are you not seeing the success you want?
Learn to go the extra mile.
2. Utilize the power of prayer
It seems to be a reoccuring theme: Christian millionaires (and billionaires) are people of prayer. Rather than just rely on strategy, money, or innate intelligence they rely in and on God for direction. The examples are numerous:
- It was seen in the lives of Do Won and Jin Sook Chang who reached out to God regarding their financial life. God responded by telling them to open a retail store and it would be successful. In obedience they opened Forever 21 and the rest is history.
- It’s seen in the life of Folorunsho Alakija who changed the name of her Fashion company from “Supreme Stitches” to “Rose of Sharon House of Fashion” in response to prayer. The result: the business took off!
- It was seen in the life of John D. Rockefeller. One Sunday while in the infant stages of his oil business an employee rushed in to tell him the river might sweep away his oil barrells. Rockefeller preparing for church, put his hat on, said he had to go to prayer, and refused to deal with it on that Sunday. Ironically, his barrels survived the fooding intact. (3)
Looking at the lives of the Benham brothers you see a heavy emphasis on prayer: from college, to professional baseball, to life after professional baseball, and so on. But there are sooooo many specific instances from their life that the Christian entrepreneur can glean from.
When they first began in real estate they would get to the office early to pray. According to them,
Over the next few months nothing happened.
Many times they wanted to quit. At the sales meetings the agents would brag about their sales while according to them “we sat there like fish out of water.” What made it even worse: they weren’t salesmen and never intended to be.
Rather than quit, they decided to double down. They needed a niche and they need God to provide open the door. According to them:
That began their niche in foreclosed properties.
Over time their names rose to top of those same leaderboards.
3. Learn how to manage money…now!
We said before that the twins did odd jobs while getting their business off the ground. They had to simultaneously feed their family and build the business…it was never one or the other.
They huddled together and realized each family needed $1500 to survive.
By a miracle they found a $210,000 home being sold for $150,000 and they moved both families in: four adults and three kids under the age of five.
After 10 months they made more than the $3000, tithed, and put the surplus in a business account. They lived like that for two years.
According to them:
“Even as our business grew stronger and stronger, we still lived as small as possible as a matter of delayed gratification. We had a growing business that needed the capital…The principle of delayed gratification means you’re willing to forgo the temporary enjoyment of something today for the permanent enjoyment of something tomorrow. The money earned in the early years of a business is “seed” money, which should always go back into the ground. Too often business owners see their initial earnings as ‘harvest’—and they reap it prematurely. This is why so many businesses fail in the first five years.” (5)
After they saved $30,000 they hired their first employee.
After some time they replenished the account and hired their second.
The rest is history.
The Bible says,
“Develop your business first before building your house.” (Proverbs 24:27 The Living Bible)
In other words, establish the source(s) of income before you establish the COMFORTS of income. Most people have this backward: they build their house before they build their business.
The Benham brothers were diligent to build their business God’s way and as result saw God’s Hand.
Why don’t you do the same?
Now it’s Your Turn
What lesson can you use from the Benham Brothers?
What other can you apply to your entrepreneurial life?
Let’s hear what YOU’RE gonna do?
- Whatever the Cost: Facing Your Fears, Dying to Your Dreams, and Living Powerfully (pp. 18-19). Thomas Nelson.
- Whatever the Cost… (pp. 80-81). Kindle Edition.
- Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller (pg 82). Kindle Edition
- Whatver the Cost…pg 85. Kindle edition
- Whatver the Cost…pg 92. Kindle edition