Business is a Ministry

“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 ESV

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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,

Dr. Mike

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

Learn. Integrate. Grow.

 

Segmentation or Coherence?

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“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Galatians 3:28 ESV

In the apostle’s Paul’s world, there was a Jewish prayer that thanked God for not being a gentile, slave, or female. For being in any one of these categories was looked down upon by the traditional Jewish religious leaders. As was and still is the custom, humanity likes to categorize each other into certain groups. Usually our view is determined by our position in life. It was no different in Paul’s time. If one was Jewish, they were superior to the gentile. If one was a free person, they were superior to the slave. If one was a male, they were superior to a female. Yet Paul, in writing to the Galatians stated that one is not superior to the other; that superiority lies in Christ and we are all on even ground in our relationship with Him.

What does this mean to us in the twenty-first century?

If we are followers of Christ, then we know that He died for the whole world. That mankind has been forgiven before even asking to be forgiven. That God has re-opened the door for mankind to have a direct relationship with Him. Theology defines this as justification.

So what does this mean in practical terms?

Simply that no matter what your nationality, station in life, or sexual orientation, Christ died for you. In dying, he redeemed the entire human race. That includes you, me, and every person who is alive, died, and yet to be born. He makes us brothers and sisters one to another. He provides an even playing field for everyone. Whether we serve in churches, nonprofit organizations, educational institutes, medical, governmental, or the business industry, we know deep inside that the absolute final authority is Christ Himself. As representatives of His domain, we walk with Him working to redeem relationships, values, and structures. We are servants of the King, called to partner with Him in His work restoring creation to His original intent.

Segmentation is how this world’s system categorizes people, ideas, and events. Christ came so that we could focus first on Him. When we make Him the central core of life, we see how He breakdowns the walls that prevents us from loving each other, blessing each other, and serving each other. Over time, walking with Him in the Spirit, we come to the realization that universal coherence only comes by being fully engaged in Christ. Or is this simply just too radical for one to accept?

We are rooting for you!

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Mike

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

Learn. Integrate. Grow.

 

 

God’s Plan For You

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“For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” Jeremiah 29:10-14 ESV

Every time I hear a message about God encouraging the nation Israel through Jeremiah with the above words, I cringe. Most of the time I hold my breath because someone most likely will extract a portion of this scripture to illustrate a point without fully expounding its ramifications. I have been taught to read scripture in context first, understand its cultural and historical significance in its time, and then expound its application into today’s world. Most of the time lately this scripture is used from the pulpit as a short cut to motivate people to trust in God with their future plans.

When read in context, one quickly recognizes that the Lord made a specific promise to Israel. After being disciplined through seventy years of exile, He will restore their nation. A specific prophecy for a specific nation for a specific time in history. What this scripture truly reveals is that the Lord’s purpose will always be accomplished.

What does this mean for you and me?
* God has a plan He started at the foundation of the universe that includes you.
* It is God’s plan, not yours or mine.
* Our plans most likely are not God’s plan.
* The earlier we learn to accept God’s plan and join him in it, the quicker we will experience a deeper relationship with Him.
* As we develop a deeper relationship with Him, the greater His Spirit lives in us, influences us, and empowers us to live life the way He originally created life too be.
* The brokenness of sin slowly dissipates from our lives and is replaced with the riches of His eternal glory.
* We don’t have to wait for heaven; heaven arrives now in Christ as He lives in us.

We do not have to take scripture out of context to make a point. God has a plan that includes you and me. His desire is for all humanity to join him within the Triune God circle. Today, we are heirs, children, and servants of the King of Kings. He joyously and lovingly invites us to now participate in His work to redeem all creation into His original intent (Romans 8:20-21).

So why misuse scriptures to make a point? Isn’t the truth already radical enough?

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Mike

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

Learn. Integrate. Grow.