“The chief business of the American people is business,” said former President Calvin Coolidge. This quote is often taken out of context to make it seem that “Silent Cal” as he was called was nothing but a one-dimensional business cheerleader. Most people think that President Coolidge wanted this country to be monetarily focussed and have no other aspirations than to get rich. Not so.
The quote is taken from a speech titled “The Press under a Free Government” where he showed the differences between the American press and that of a socialistic or autocratic government, which would be more likely to publish government-fed propaganda. A free press is more trustworthy.
Coolidge said, “There does not seem to be cause for alarm in the dual relationship of the press to the public, whereby it is on one side a purveyor of information and opinion and on the other side a purely business enterprise. Rather, it is probable that a press which maintains an intimate touch with the business currents of the nation, is likely to be more reliable than it would be if it were a stranger to these influences.”
Then, he added the line most people misquote. “After all, the chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world. I am strongly of the opinion that the great majority of people will always find these the moving impulses of our life.”
I feel that this is true of “the great majority of people.” Most are only concerned with the almighty dollar; however, as Christians, we have a different business about which we should be.
When Jesus was a boy and his parents took Him to Jerusalem, they accidentally left Him there. When they returned and found Him, He was in the temple both listening to and teaching the scholars. The Bible says that “all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers (Luke 2:47).”
As most mothers would do, Mary began to scold her son because He had worried her and Joseph. Jesus answered confusedly, saying, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business (Luke2:49)?” Christ’s Earthly parents did not understand this at the time, but as He began His ministry, it would become clear.
The Father’s business is spelled out simply in the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 when Jesus told His disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.”
It doesn’t matter your nationality. Whether you are American, Brazilian, Chinese, German, or Sudanese, if you are a Christian, you ought to be about the Father’s business. Instead of how much money is in your portfolio, worry about how many souls you have led to Christ. So, how’s business these days?
Peace. Love. Roll Tide.