Redeem Business

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” Corinthians 5:12 ESV

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Why does business have such a negative connotation with many people?

If you asked the typical Bible believer which would she or he believe is the more important position in today’s world, to be a pastor of a church or a CEO of a business, which would you believe the majority would choose?

Actual surveys taken reveal the answer as pastor. Why are we not surprised?

Many Christ followers have a limited view of the God we serve. We place him in a box overshadowed with our personal values and prejudices. It takes time for the Holy Spirit to transform our minds and open our eyes to the Truth of any matter. This is no different with you and me.

I marvel throughout Scripture how the God we serve recruited non-priestly men and women for a specific work in a time and place of his choosing. Most we’re not of noble birth, privilege social standing, or even culturally attuned. They were in many cases the undesirables of the land.

Joseph was the least liked sibling of twelve yet events and circumstances prepared him to rule and save a nation from starvation.

Rahab was a prostitute who trusted in the God of Israel.

Paul worked as a tent-maker while preaching the Gospel to the Gentile nations.

When one reads the faith chapter (Hebrews 11) and the list of names of those considered who-is-who of the Bible, how many are pastors or priests?

We forget that God’s work is much larger than just the Church. The Holy Spirit started the Church because Christ’s Kingdom grows through the hearts of people. And you will find most people reside  outside the four walls of any church building. In fact, you will find most people who need a “heart transplant” in the marketplace. The same place where the majority of us spend most of our time away from home and family.

Jesus Christ came so God could begin restoring all creation to its original intent. He came to restore your relationship between Father God and you. He came so fathers and mothers could restore their relationship between each other and their children. He came to unite families, communities, and nations. He came to restore God’s order within government, education, and yes business.

To restore His order in business though takes people whose heart and allegiance is first to their King (Jesus), and than with others. They are a people who have learned to walk with their God through the challenges and failures of business. They have proven themselves faithful and trustful through the decisions and actions in the workplace. They live the Bible through their words and actions every day. They live-out the gospel message in their business negotiations. They practice love, faith, and truth with each employee, partner, and vendor. They treat others as they want to be treated. They are in business not solely for the money, but so the Gospel message may be shared with others through the processes, systems, and policies that are in place.

They see profit simply the cost of doing business. It allows the business to feed their employees, vendors, and partners. It is not however the first goal. It is the byproduct of creating an enterprise that glorifies God. It is a ministry for the common good. It is a means of how God provides for you and I.

Because man corrupts everything he touches without God’s influence in his life, the same is true in business. However, when we live out the Gospel in the workplace, we partner with the Holy Spirit in his work. The result is people coming to see the True God being revealed through people who practice the with-God life. That is how God is redeeming the marketplace today.

So why not ask God to lead you to be an ambassador for him in the marketplace where you work? It is the largest missionary field in America today. And you don’t even have to move to a foreign culture or leave your family behind to serve Him. You only have to say Yes, send me Lord.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
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

Encourage your Friends…Share Today’s Message!

 

Let Your Work Worship God

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe…” Hebrews 12:28 ESV

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When or where did today’s church make a distorted turn when it comes to worship? The message that we hear so often every week is to assemble for worship. It’s like the reason we assemble is to make it possible for you to worship. The implied message (though not intentionally meant) is that worship is something that is done only in church through music. Again, we are instructed to gather together and praise our Lord. This is a good thing. The problem though is when we limit worship to only a church service and music. When we do, we put God into a tiny box.

The Hebrew word used throughout the Bible for Worship is closely related and sometimes interchangeable with the word Work. If you take the time to study, you will find that the Hebrew Scriptures associate worship and work as bedfellows.

I sometimes think we in the western world conduct ourselves in Church the opposite of God’s original intentions. We generally follow the world’s systems until we discover God’s ways. Take for example the Sabbath. The Hebrews kept the seventh day as a day of rest. They worked six days and rested on the seventh day. A part of their rest was attending a local synagogue. In our post-modern Christian world, we attend a church service where we are bombarded in the opposite way. We are typically encased with a Broadway-type staged music performance that is played so loud that one cannot hear themselves sing out of key. At times it brings back memories of attending a rock concert. It makes one wonder whether or not many of us expose ourselves to strong worship/work during services and then find our peaceful rest during the remaining week. Hopefully I’m the only person who sees it that way and the majority have their act together better than I.

Meanwhile, imagine a life where your work is your worship to God. Where your motive and intentions are to glorify God. What level of quality would you display in your work for God’s glory? How would you relate with your fellow employees if your work was to glorify God? How would you tackle that difficult customer if your work was to glorify God? If you are fortunate (or unfortunate) to own the business, does your brand, service, product, and culture emulate God’s glory? If your work is your worship to God, how does that show up in your business?

Tough questions. Yet when one discovers how Christ makes everyday work and business about Him and his Kingdom, the path opens quickly and the motivation is unceasing. To worship God through all you do is the most rewarding journey this life offers. Seize it. Ride it. Enjoy the life we have in Christ as we worship Him and serve others through the work we do every day.

 

Rooting For You 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.

MINISTRY INSIGHTS FROM A TENT MAKER

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Paul worked for 1 ½ years with a husband and wife team (Aquila and Priscilla) while conducting missionary work in Corinth (Acts 18:2).  While working as a tent maker, he continued to teach the Word in the local synagogue.  It is of interest how he employed the word “work” throughout his life and teachings, especially in relationship to what God is doing and what His people are doing.  The importance of work is highlighted throughout his letters.

Luke quotes Paul in Acts 20:32-35, ”You yourselves know that these hands of  mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give, than to receive.'”

In the letter from Ephesians 4:28 Paul writes, “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. In 1 Thess 4:11-12 he writes, “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”

In the above scriptures Paul emphasized the point of working to support oneself and one’s family rather than live as a beggar dependent on others for necessities. Paul himself demonstrated the importance of having a skill (tent making) that provides a service to others (shelter) and a livelihood for oneself. A Christian is to gladly work “unto the Lord” (Col 3:22-24).  The work one does should not glorify oneself, but God.  In addition, the work should be a means to provide for those less fortunate – “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Also, as work relates to fulfilling God’s plan, He writes in Titus 1:7 that “an overseer is entrusted with God’s work.” Barnabas and Paul was set apart by the Holy Spirit for this work (Act 13:2-3). And not only were they commissioned for this work, but had to support themselves in the process (I Cor 9:6).  He again writes how one’s work for the Lord must stand the test of trials, difficulties, problems,  especially when we shall all be evaluated at the end of this age (I Cor 3:10-15).

He was primarily focused on the Lord’s work and only labored to support himself and his team, not to gain riches. He practiced what he preached.  The work of the Lord was the priority in his life and for all those that the Lord calls (I Cor 15:58, 16:9,10).  While working his craft, he contemplated and compared the physical craft of tent making to the spiritual work God is completing in us as a church and as an individual. His analogy of the body working together as a team with all its parts supporting one another is but one example of lessons learned while working (I Cor 12:12-13).

All tent-makers need to stand up and rejoice.  It is an example for all people everywhere that the craft, skill, profession, and work we perform is more than just to feed ourselves.  It’s a means of grace that we practice.  When we work, we are able to support those less fortunate than ourselves and therefore practice love of our neighbor.  When we work, we learn how God operates in our lives.  When we work, we are able to compare and better understand the spiritual realities we face each day.  When we work, we are able to express ourselves by the results of our labor.  When we work, we contribute to the community we reside in.  There are many valuable lessons we learn while we work. To paraphrase Jesus, “God works, and so do I.”

What other insights of ministry do you think Paul may have received while engaged as a tent maker?

Dr. Mike