Would you like a God idea? Does God care about your business and marketplace success? Is God involved in your products and design?
I heard a story recently with elements that sound familiar: a bright young man moves west seeking technical education, turns entrepreneur, creates a company, designs a product, then sells company for a multimillion dollar fortune.
But one thing was different. It’s about the source of the multimillion dollar product idea. And what was the source?
“God gave me the idea,” he says, “in a vision…like a video…clear as a bell…”
It was an idea worth $100 million dollars.
An ordinary life with a sense ‘there is more’
Brian Martin was raised in a nonreligious, Jewish home in Nebraska. He became an evangelical Christian at age 28. He got married and raised a family in Northern California and developed a successful career as a designer of acute stroke products that facilitated the capture and removal of blood clots in the brain.
While his product designs were long established in the marketplace (he holds 90 patents), he knew that they could be advanced technically. In 2006 Brian launched a new startup company, Lazarus Effect, Inc., without a product but with a plan to develop a new generation medical device for stroke victims.
Renewed commitment to God in ALL of life – including the company
Meanwhile, one night his family watched a low budget Christian film, Facing the Giants. It’s about a smalltown high school football coach who reinvigorates his own life and that of his perennial losing team with a revised 100% commitment to God on the field, in the classroom, at home and outside the home. The team goes on to win the state championship.
Brian decided to apply the principles to the mission statement of his small company, Lazarus Effect, in the garage of his home.
Goal #1: Honor God
Goal #2: Make excellent products
Goal #3: Be profitable
Goal #4: Be successful
Like the coach in the movie, he was serious about this 100% commitment to honor God in all things he did with his company. He shared this with his partners, his wife and children. He asked for supporting prayer and accountability.
The new commitment was challenging!
Lest you think it was easy, it was not. Brian and his company thrived, then faltered, and then rode the proverbial rollercoaster that many companies and entrepreneurs experience. He turned down a $25 million offer for his company during one of the highs, but within a month the product had a hard failure during one of the clinical trials and there was dissension among his team as to how to remedy the design flaw.
He was at a point of despair and on the brink of failure.
Anchored by faith in the Word of God
But his faith was encouraged by two calming Biblical principles:
1. Be thankful regardless of how things are going. An obedient follower of Christ should be grateful to even have a chance to be in the game. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
2. Anticipate the victory even before the battle. King Jehoshaphat, with the Jewish people in dire straits against larger enemy, was so reassured by the Lord that he marched into battle led by men appointed to sing praises to God. “Do not be afraid or discouraged…the battle is not yours, but God’s….Stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you….” – 2 Chronicles 20:15 17
Then God showed up
Brian’s new product design was at a stalling point. Neither he, nor anyone else, could see a way to enhance the capturing of all of a stroke inducing blood clot beyond 88%. That means one in 8 patients could have a secondary stroke as a result of the treatment that could prove worse than the initial stroke. Even fatal.
It was one evening while on his normal 45 minute commute drive home, while listening to Christian praise music on the radio, that he had his vision. As he pulled into his driveway, he saw what he would later describe “like a movie video playing in my mind’s eye,” a full rendering of an amazingly simple, profound and elegant solution to his product design problem.
A God idea.
The video vision played 3 times for him in his mind.
He knew he had never seen nor could ever have conceived of the approach that was presented to him. It was clearly from God. A gift. And that’s how he saw it and responded to it.
Brian shared the design idea with his coworkers the next day. They were astounded with the design notion. “How did you do this?!” they asked. He responded by telling them honestly about how he received the God idea.
When the product went to clinical trials and he presented the medical device to neurological experts, doctors and stroke specialists around the world, he would now commonly be asked “How did you come up with this design?” He would now always proceed to shamelessly tell of the vision he received from God.
The product sailed through extensive clinical trials with a 100% success rate. That means there is ZERO residual blood clot after use of the Lazarus Effect device. Brian’s company was acquired by Medtronic, Inc, in October 2015 for $100 million.
Brian told says, “In God’s economy I am not different from anyone else. God wants to give gifts to ALL of his children.”
Are you honoring God with your life and work? Are you asking Him for solutions to your problems?
Why not now…
This blog was originally posted as Funny You Should Ask by Michael Griego and was used with permission (including that of of Brian Martin). Michael writes a blog: Biblical Viewpoint. He is an active Silicon Valley businessman, consultant, author and speaker. He has undergraduate and graduate degrees from Occidental College and Stanford University. For the past 25 years he has also studied the Scriptures and taught and developed Bible study coursework for churches, seminars and home groups. He resides in the south bay with his wife of 37 years. He has 3 married children and 8 grandchildren.