So many good comments on all the above topics… I hardly know where to respond.
As JC pointed out, there are good examples of strong, committed Catholics building very large businesses (like Tom Monaghan and Domino's Pizza). Having spent most of my time in the Evangelical Christian world, I'm sure I'm ignorant of numerous good examples from our Catholic friends.
Regarding singleness and ministry/business/etc., it is clear from Scripture and Christian theology that we are called to – and find our joy in – relationships. First, our relationships with our Creator, secondly, our relationships with others. Focusing our lives on anything other than relationships (money, success, power, Star Wars, eBay…) is a distortion of our created purpose, and a recipe for distorted living and pain in our own lives and the lives of those around us. Ministry should always be about others or it really isn't ministry. That's sort of obvious. (Although there are numerous examples of initially healthy ministries becoming distorted by ambition and greed.)
I would also argue, however, that business can be ministry when the focus is on others. Business can be about relationships, too. It's a little tricky, and virtually impossible when the owners of the business don't share an "others" focus (true of almost all public companies and most companies owned by private equity firms or financially-motivated investors). But it is possible. And it can be very exciting, because businesses can generate tremendous resources that can then benefit the sorts of ministries that can't internally fund their own operations. In other words, the more Christians start "Chik-fil-As" and "Hobby Lobbys," the easier it is for "World Visions" and "Compassion Internationals" to raise the funding needed for their efforts.
Okay… so we're wired for relationships. We find meaning in relationships. What I notice in the American church is that, for some reason, we have made "family" (meaning "spouse and children") our primary relational focus. All other relationships have been dropped down to a much lower rung. A much, much lower rung. It's almost as if the old European phrase "for God and Country" has been rewritten in America, "for God and Family."
Obviously, if you have a spouse and children, you have a biblical duty to care for them. But are my kids really more important than everyone else's? Do I let other kids starve while my kids throw excess food into the garbage? And do all Christians need to have kids? The Genesis commandment to "populate the Earth" is certainly compelling, but, looking around, we seem to have done that pretty well. And however compelling the Genesis command might be, Paul and many of the other early Christians clearly didn't get the memo.
Again, I'm certainly not saying family isn't important. I'm just wondering if, maybe… just maybe… we've made it a little TOO important. Perhaps we need a few more "priests" and "nuns" in the Evangelical Christian world – people completely committed to serving the needs of others. Always. No matter what the cost.
But maybe that's just me.
As for the veggies declining their invitation to the JellyTelly party, I agree, God can do anything. With nothing. JellyTelly can be exactly what He wants it to be, with or without the help of talking vegetables.
So on we go…
Thanks, as always, for your support.