“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 ESV
There are days when I sit in a church service the preacher seems to indicate that the only place God is working is in their church community. That God’s special blessing is only upon those who serve within their faith community. Somehow, what I do between Monday through Saturday is spoken like a lower-level necessity with the only real meaning to life lies between the four walls of the congregation. Now maybe it’s me, but after all these years I long for ministers whose pastoral is larger than their micro faith world. Somehow it seems we forget that God is attuned to the world and our faith community is only a microscope of a much larger picture.
Take service for example. I get tired after forty some years of listening to preachers emphasize church service over any other type of service. It’s like “church service” is the only service that is approved by God. Whatever else one does outside of the “church” doesn’t compare. Again, maybe it is me, but the Bible doesn’t delineate service into sacred and secular. Humans do. I have witnessed and been included with people who serve to satisfy a personal ego within the faith community. Instead of having God’s Spirit fill the void, they seek status, power, prestige, money, or fulfillment in the name of service.
Within the religious world, we call it ministry. In the marketplace, we call it service. The goal is the same; to provide and care for the people who have needs that we can satisfy. However, “ministry” makes it sound holy; “customer service” makes it sound self-serving. Yet haven’t we seen people within the ministry glorify themselves in service to others? And again, in the marketplace, haven’t we seen the same? Yet within the ministry haven’t we also seen (more than the other) people who serve for the glory of God and for the sake of others? Likewise, haven’t we also met people within the marketplace who serve their constituents and customers for the glory of God and for the real sake of others?
Am I too bold to say that God also created business? That business is a ministry for the economic benefit of others? Jesus quoted that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” In the church world we emphasize God’s Word. Outside of the church world, people emphasis the economic necessities. Is one more important than the other? Doesn’t it take both, the Spirit of God and the physical necessities of life to live a full, meaningful life? Maybe it’s time we stop segregating the world into us versus them. That we are more important than them. Maybe it is time we realize that the Triune God considers all labor and service important. That ministering the Word and ministering the food (clothing, shelter, transportation, entertainment, etc.) are both important and necessary. That one without the other leaves a person poor, hungry, and blind.
Therefore the next time someone asks if you want to participate in their ministry because you don’t seem to have one, let them know that you already are in a full time ministry: your business is a ministry for God’s glory and for the sake of others. Or is that just being too radical in Christ for you?
We are rooting for you!
Yours in Christ,
Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married