and the Gospel

amazon_logo_a_lJeff Bezos founded in 1994. In two decades he has amassed a net worth of 28 billion. Watch his fascinating interview on 60 minutes yesterday (12/1/13). I have always contended that anything that works remarkably well in the world has gospel elements in it, and is no exception.

Have fun. When I did a search for’s motto, a link says, “Work hard. Have fun. Make history. (Make money.)” Though he was a man of sorrows (Isa 53:3), yet Jesus was the happiest person who ever lived (Jn 4:32; Heb 12:2). For sure, gospel workers will be a lot more successful if they look like they are having fun. Instead, Christians often come across as being angry and upset with what is wrong with the world, and with others. They look like they have a chip on their shoulder, and are in attack mode to smash and condemn those they do not agree with.

Be inclusive. The 60 min feature says that’s goal is that anything that anyone wants to buy, they will be able to find it at at the best price. It has universal appeal and it clearly has worked. The most offensive element of the gospel is her exclusivity (Jn 14:6; Ac 4:12). Yet, Christ was the most inclusive and most embracing person who ever lived (Jn 3:16). He welcomed those whom no one else would (Isa 42:3; Mt 12:20). In contrast, the sad story of Christians is her strong impression of being exclusive and highly critical of anyone who does not agree with their particular tribe, sectarian preference, paradigm, doctrine or practice.

Be innovative. is always finding new ways to becoming more and more efficient, effective and productive. Presently, they are working on delivering to the doorstep what a customer orders online in 30 min by using mini-drones! Jesus was the most progressive and innovative person who ever lived. He primarily criticized his own religion (Judaism) for being stuck in a time warp until they crucified him in order to shut him up. But sadly Christians are experts at criticizing the world, and criticizing other churches and denominations, while hardly ever honestly evaluating and critiquing their own church. That is why countless churches have gone from a movement to a monument to a museum. They are stuck in their own rigid and inflexible traditions, as though their traditions and practices are the Bible. As Jaroslav Pelikan aptly wrote: “Tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.”

Be humble. Jeff Bezos humbly acknowledges that one day some other company will surpass This is a remarkable acknowledgment from a giant of innovation, creativity and success. That is why he is always working to understand how the world works so that he can continue to succeed and to stay relevant. Are Christians known to be humble enough to learn from others?

Contextualizing. Like almost every other successful person and entrepreneur, Bezos’ modus operandi is always to bend over backwards in order to accommodate the wishes, preferences and desires of his customers. He shuns a top down command directive approach. Instead, he is constantly listening to what his customers wants. God is always wishing to listen to and dialogue with his people (Isa 1:18), and in granting them their utmost desires (Ps 37:4). Jesus’ desire is to win his disciples as his friends (Jn 15:15) and to satisfy the needs of countless people (Mt 9:36). Sadly, Christians tend to do the very opposite. Instead of listening to others (Jas 1:19), we Christians seem to be primarily interested in imposing ourselves on others.

Can we Christians primarily and honestly critique ourselves (instead of others) and humbly learn from others (instead of always insisting that we are right)?


  1. Mark Mederich

    WOW, that’s more than 13mil in few decades:) (& without tax exempt)

  2. Good observations Ben. Sometime in the last 20 years or so a switch took place. Remember that “ugly, evil world”? Well “they” learned to to embrace humanity with goodness and love. Now it is Christendom who stands as “the world” and is in dire need to re-learn goodness, kindness, love and humanity.

    I find that I learn much these days from certain American companies and how they reveal the gospel messages (perhaps unknowingly). I wasn’t impressed with Hunger Games this time, for now I crave the “Disney endings” such as in Frozen and Tangled. I long to encounter acts of true love, embraces of goodness and acceptance of kind, tender hearts. Such things have gone missing from Christendom.

    This Christmas I pray that anyone who claims to be Christian will care more about putting Christ back into “Christ-ian” than “Christmas”.

  3. So here is a public service announcement (based on the recent comments on my personal blog)… Please stop calling me “Satan” or “evil” or “destroyer of people’s faith”. My soul is grated bare from such words that stick like knives. Please just buy me a beer and listen to me.

    • Mark Mederich

      you must be doing somethin right if those still bound by legalism lash at you as if the antichrist:)

  4. Other Christians have also realized the profound leadership lessons from Jeff Bezos of Amazon:

    I missed point 3: “Complaining is not a strategy.”

    I want to do point 1, but “the box” may be quite ingrained in me, but I think I am “throwing out the box” by God’s help.

    Taking incremental steps (#4) and constantly innovating (#5) is what I want to continually do, even if I seem to be going nowhere anytime soon.

    The many comments on this post is also fascinating and illuminating about the “simplicity” of those who succeed.

  5. Since watching 60 min, I have been somewhat fascinated by Bezos, probably because of his phenomenal success. His unauthorized autobiography says that his employees live in fear of his exacting demands:

    Hyper-intelligent, ultra-driven, and obsessed with detail, Bezos expects everyone around him to be the same. Amazon staff are said to live in fear of his outbursts. His finest putdowns include, “Why are you wasting my life?”, “I’m sorry, did I take my stupid pills today?” and “Are you lazy or just incompetent?”

  6. This is from a current pastor and former employee of Amazon from 1999-2002 ( “Bezo’s philosophy of putting his customers ahead of profit seemed ridiculous to a lot of people but here we sit not even 20 years later and is one of the biggest brand names in the world. I learned a lot about leadership in my time there, about not being afraid of change (change happens DAILY in a company like Amazon), not being afraid to try new things and fail, and to have a vision that is simple, clear, and something everyone from the janitor to the CEO can articulate, understand, and buy into.”

    • There are quite a few behaviors and teachings we can learn from such people.

      Jim Collins is another one. He wrote about “Level 5 leaders” for example, people who have a unique blend of “extreme personal humility with intense professional will.”

      Any organization who wants to “raise global leaders” ought to learn from the teachings of such actual leaders.

    • Here’s a great quote I just received today:

      “They never talked in reactionary terms and never defined their strategies principally in response to what others were doing. They talked in terms of what they were trying to create and how they were trying to improve relative to an absolute standard of excellence.”

      — Jim Collins, about what makes a great leader