The calculation of profit is an easy one. Simply subtract costs from total revenue to tabulate the margin of profit. When considering any kind of endeavor, counting the costs to evaluate whether it is worth the investment is essential. We don’t want to waste our resources on pursuits that will not bring us the kind of return that we seek. But the question is, what is the unit of measure that we use to calculate our profit?
Pharmaceutical companies are raking in record profits for the year — calculated in units of money. For example, prior to the Covid 19 pandemic, Moderna was a relatively small pharmaceutical company, typically making about $100 million in annual revenue. By way of contrast, their 2021 profits are projected to be $10 billion. This makes their profits one hundred times larger than their average revenue before the pandemic. Undoubtedly a financial success story, at least on the face of it. But this is only true if we consider the financial costs. When considering the collateral damage done to the percentage of people who have physically suffered or even died as a result of taking their vaccine, the costs are much more material. One wonders how God calculates the profits of pharmaceutical companies when considering the cost of unnecessary harm done to people desperately seeking safety. I doubt the numbers would be very impressive.
To some, an endeavor that appears to waste money or time might in fact produce value that is meaningful to us individually. Volunteering time or donating money are examples of giving away valuable resources that may not appear at first to bring in a profit by the same measure. The profit of those activities may be inherent in the joy of helping others. What appears to be a fruitless dedication of time and money can yield great returns when the unit of measure is not so material. As Christians, we ought to understand this clearly, as we are admonished to seek our treasure in heaven (compare Matthew 6:20). We also understand, of course, that giving to others with the right motivation will result in physical as well as spiritual blessings (Luke 6:38; Malachi 3:10; compare also Mark 10:29-30)
God wants us to profit, but only in the right way. “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the LORD your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go. Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea’” (Isaiah 48:17-18). Our methods and measures for achieving a profit must be guided by God. We are to make our investment with a spiritual return as our motivation, knowing that He will hold us accountable in our time of judgment. In whatever way we choose to invest the resources that God bestows upon us, the targeted product must not compromise with His commandments. He is the one who teaches us to profit through obedience, measured by the fruit of the Spirit that we are able to produce (compare the above with Galatians 5:22-25).
When we become baptized into the Family of God, we are given a measure of the Holy Spirit. It is not something that we can feel in any physical way, but it has the power to produce immense positive change in our lives. However, the power of God the Father and Jesus Christ will only work within us when we put it to use. If we choose to continue in our worldly ways, seeking a material profit by worldly measures, we will quite ironically become unprofitable (compare Matthew 25:30, Luke 17:10). Not only does God want us to be profitable with our lives, we have a responsibility and duty that we MUST be profitable. This, of course, according to our spiritual growth.
The measure of our profitability lies in the way that invests our resources spiritually. The proverbial “good life” is not identified by luxury. Rather, if we want to live the good life, we dedicate our resources to obedience, loving the way of life that God commands, with joy. Love for Him and our fellow man lead us into the kind of profits that are most valuable in the long run. If our costs are the sacrifices that we make to leave the desires of this world behind, and our revenue is spiritual fruit, then our profit is the reward promised by God to those who remain diligent in their commitment to the Work (compare Matthew 16:27).