13177043_sIt was a first for me. I have blessed houses, offices and even a factory I think, but this was the first time I had the opportunity to bless a nail salon.

A nail salon or nail bar is a beauty services establishment that primarily offers nail care services such as manicures, pedicures, and nail enhancements. (Wikipedia)

The owner of the salon is my son’s girlfriend. Well, why have a dad who is an ordained pastor and not get him to do pastorly things. I was honoured. But pastor dad is an evangelical. He needs to know the biblical basis for his actions. Blessing a nail salon? Three biblical principles came to mind.

First, the Lordship of Christ over every area of life. Too many Christians live with a sacred-secular dichotomy. Sacred stuff would be things like worship, bible study, evangelism, things clearly “spiritual.” Then there is the other stuff, including business, money, entertainment — the worldly stuff. But does the bible teach such a dichotomy? The call of Scriptures from beginning to end is that all of life must be lived under God’s Lordship, and that indeed, if God is not Lord of all, he is not Lord at all. I was delighted that this relatively young Christian — she had just been baptized recently — wanted her nail salon business to be under God’s Lordship. She understood what many older Christians still do not.

The second biblical principle that came to mind was that beauty had a place in God’s world from the very beginning:

The Lord God planted an orchard in the east, in Eden; and there he placed the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow from the soil, every tree that was pleasing to look at and good for food. (Now the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil were in the middle of the orchard.) (Genesis 2:8-9 NET)

The garden, a symbol of creation, was not just functional — fruit good for food — it also had an aesthetic dimension — trees that were pleasing to look at. Genesis 2:8-9 also tell us that there is good and evil in the world. After the fall, evil has touched all dimensions of human existence, including the aesthetic dimension. Most followers of Jesus are uncomfortable with a market-driven multi-million-dollar beauty industry, where many chase some ideal of physical beauty to the degree that hard-earned monies are spent which could be used in more edifying ways. And what is worse, perhaps, is a concept of physical beauty that is detached from the quest for the inner beauty of holiness.

Let your beauty not be external — the braiding of hair and wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes — but the inner person of the heart, the lasting beauty of a gentle and tranquil spirit, which is precious in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:3-4 NET)

Still, the fact that beauty, like every dimension of human life, has been corrupted by sin does not negate the aesthetic dimension of life itself. I like what Calvin Seerveld said when he commented on the work of beauticians:

Not every person can be ‘beautiful’ — whatever that means; but everyone has the capacity, even duty, to be groomed, and that includes aesthetic enhancement as well as hygienic care. (Calvin Seerveld, “Beauty and the Human Body,” Christianity Today 15 (11 September 1961), 28.)

Finally there is the matter of Christians in business. The church has always been ambiguous about Christians in business. While doing research for a book I am working on, I looked afresh at Proverbs 31. Chapter 31 is the last chapter of the book of Proverbs. It brings the book to a climax. In this chapter we are presented with a role model for wisdom living, and she is a businesswoman! Business done God’s way is also God’s work.

The Lordship of Christ over every area of life, the legitimate place of beauty in human life, and the validity of business as a Christian calling — I had no qualms dedicating the nail salon to the Lord and asking the Lord to bless it. I also prayed that the business would be a blessing to all involved — customers, investors, staff. The Kingdom of God is not something that takes us away from the stuff of daily life. The Kingdom of God should invade and transform all facets of life. I pray that all involved in this establishment will encounter Kingdom values and encounter the King.