by Rod D. Martin
March 3, 2012
This January 1st we established The Martin Organization. We conceived of it in late 2011 as an umbrella for all our far-flung operations, both commercial and nonprofit.
Fundamentally, this was about simplification. Between two national political organizations, seven companies, and looser ties to various for-profit and charitable entities on whose boards I sit or in which we have investments, we simply have too many hats on. So The Martin Organization simplifies us to one central staff, stationery, and so forth.
But from the beginning, this was also about branding. We want everything we do to hinge on a single, central mission, and everything we launch or engage with to reinforce everything else. We also wanted to make our personal testimonies central to the entire endeavor, now and permanently.
The mission? Perhaps a first draft would look like this: “To glorify Christ and spread His Gospel of redemption and adoption to all people throughout all Creation; to burst through the boundaries of science, technology and space to revolutionize human life, pushing back the curse of ignorance and want; to champion the exceptionalism of the American Idea and the genius of its Founders, that liberty may not perish from the Earth; and to build outstanding business enterprises committed to these principles, to delivering exceptional value for customers and shareholders alike, and to raising up apprentices who will go and do likewise through all ages.”
No, I don’t think that’s a first draft. I think that’s it.
I am presently reading Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, which is a sort of “Readers Digest version” of Mr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor’s extensive biography of the former’s father, founder of the China Inland Mission. There are many things with which to be struck, chiefly the message of God’s fatherhood and provision and the complete and total adequacy of faith for all our needs; but yet, as I read again after all these years of the founding of CIM, what strikes me is that, as great a vision and work as they had, as humanly unthinkable as it was, and as magnificent an achievement as it became, there is a level on which it was far too small. For if God is indeed the God and Creator of all things, then why do we (not Taylor, but we) so easily conceive His work as being merely that of the church?
No, Genesis places us originally in a Garden, which Adam was tasked with tending, exploring, classifying, and then expanding: expanding to the uttermost reaches of the world. As we see in the scattering of the people at Babel, neither the Fall nor the Flood in any way repealed this essential mission. Yea, this Cultural Mandate stands alongside the Great Commission as one side of a two-sided coin: God is finishing His work of creation in the world (whether that means just Earth or many, many worlds yet unknown remains to be seen, but I am certain it is the latter) even as He advances His work of redemption of lost and fallen men.
That redemption makes possible not only a new life for each of them, but their adoption as sons and daughters of the King Himself, a divine appointment into the Royal Family of God accomplished not through the bloodline or will of any man, but through the willfully shed blood of the only begotten (natural) Son of the living God. And as we place our faith alone in Him alone for our salvation, we find next that we may exercise that same faith for all our other needs as well. “Would a father give his son a stone? See, if you who are sinful know how to give your children good gifts, how much more so your Father in Heaven?” And in this He gives us the tools He first gave Adam, to assist Him in finishing His physical Creation, a job still incomplete until the end of time.
What part of Creation is therefore outside of His calling, or of His ministry? What finer ministry could one have than a business, which employs those who need employment and gives expression to their disparate callings; which disciples those employed so they may live better lives at home, and have an uplifting environment in which to work, and to work with meaning; which meets real needs with quality products at good prices; which constantly innovates to meet other needs felt but perhaps not even yet perceived; and which uses its profits both to do more of the same, and to fund those ministries which cannot similarly sustain themselves?
And likewise, is not a political campaign a ministry, seeking the betterment of life through the improvement of public policy? Is the candidate, or the activist, or the researcher in a think tank any less valiant or heroic or laudable than the missionary or the minister? Is she not giving her life, her time, her all to a noble cause as well, abolishing slavery in Wilberforce’s day, or standing for the unborn in ours? And just as much of her work is more prosaic than that, is not the minister’s also?
Nay, we seek the betterment of mankind in all things, and the compulsion of man in nothing. We seek to build and persuade, and to throw off all those who would force or rule. We see The Martin Organization as a great cause of causes: many needs, and the tools to meet them, bundled into one great vision. And whether we are working (as we are today) on curing deadly diseases, enabling greater citizen participation, and developing groundbreaking internet technologies; or (as we hope tomorrow) on making deserts bloom — both on Earth and beyond — and planting churches and schools in the cities that arise there, we see all of it as a calling, and one to which we would invite…you.
Rod D. Martin