Nabal means foolish or fool. A fool or a foolish person is someone who acts unwisely.
Now there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel, and the man was very rich. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. The name of the man was Nabal – 1 Samuel 25:2-3
Although Nabal was said to be foolish, living after his name, he managed to build a successful business for himself. He had staff, paying salaries.
One of the basic principles of business is building relationships. Loyalty goes a long way and pays well. However, above that skill of building relationships, one needs a skill of discernment. When you lack this skill you can easily back a wrong horse. Therefore, for a leader, focus cannot only be on profits but also on prospects. Nabal lacked the skill of discernment. He rejected the one prospect that would have benefited him well in a distant future.
As important as loyalty is, managing resources is just as important. An accountant will either help the business with financial management. If not that it’ll be managing the books in order to reflect where money is spent. They can also advise on how to balance the spend so the business doesn’t limp. Nabal seems to have been able to manage the finances considering that he was rich in assets. However, when you fail to manage well the resources that enable you to make money, you are as good as throwing money away. Nabal was known to be harsh and evil, so much that he risked his resources through his arrogance towards David.
Prioritisation! I once asked for an increase at my last job and was offered 10%. I was so furious but subtly accepted it. I prayed about it and the Holy Spirit came back with a firm message. “It is not about how much you get, it is about what you do with what you get. What you do determines how far your money can take you. Its about responsibility. God gives to you what you deem ‘little’ and you have to decide what is more important. For some it is food, some children, some education, some home, some car. But whatever you choose as a priority should be singled out first then everything else be brought in to whatever is left.” For many the priority is the pride that money gives its owner.
Lastly, giving! Having riches that you cannot share with those in need is pointless. In fact, in the kingdom of God that is stealing. God insisted that Israel should share their tithe with the Levite; the poor; the widow and the orphan. When they stopped doing that He called them robbers [thieves]. Those who summarise it well say that we are blessed to be a blessing to others. Paul in Ephesians 4:28 says, Let the thief no longer steal. Instead, he is to do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need. Nabal felt the opposite of that. When David came asking for food, his response was
Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers, and give it to men when I do not know where they are from?” – 1 Samuel 25:11
A Nabal’s wealth is in jeopardy, at a risk of loss when he lives after his name and live unwisely, failing to follow the basic principles of business. Being unwise causes one to make pride and arrogance rulers of his mind. Nabal’s foolishness almost caused David to destroy everything he was priding himself of. While Abigail stalled his judgement, instead of losing his estate he lost his life. That’s the ultimate price of foolishness. We cannot let money, pride and arrogance destroy us to that extent.
May we learn to run our businesses as conduits for God’s riches to his people. As we become masters over others, we must always remember that we also have a master in heaven. Status cannot be a priority, there are much more important things in life. Above all things, may we yearn for the spirit of discernment. It is a crucial necessity for business