Skip Navigation Links
News
Entertainment
Marketplace
Directories
Faith
Church
Mission
Education
Connections
Family
International
Help
Seeking God?
 

Visit this room to be spiritually fed

Your Work Is Your Ministry
Here are some principles to live by.  Understanding them will help you achieve all that God has for you.

After more than 15 years in business, I had just about had enough. As the pressures and challenges associated with running a global manufacturing operation increased, so did my stress levels. Worst of all, I didn’t see where God fit into this busy and stressful world of work. We were striving to operate our family business on biblical principles and we tithed significantly to the Lord’s work. But what was the value to God’s kingdom of hours of meetings, sitting on airplanes, fighting competitors, wrestling with banks and piles of paperwork?

For many, the concept that our work truly is the ministry to which God has called us is not even a consideration…

I had always felt a call to ministry in my life. I certainly was not going to be a pastor, but I was convinced that there had to be a place in full time ministry where God could use my skills and abilities. I saw myself in a leadership or management role in a ministry where I could really have an impact for the kingdom.

God and I began to have some very frank discussions. “God, why are you wasting my time and talents allowing me to labour in business and be consumed by routine and mundane activities of work? Why won’t you release me to Christian service? How is it possible that you have never used me, an international business leader with global experience, in furthering the work of your kingdom?”

I am sure God smiled at me. He also began a process of answering my heartfelt cries to understand His purposes for my life more clearly.

According to the Pathways to Purpose article series in Business Life magazine [see the sidebar, Pathways to Purpose…], “work is ministry and ministry is work. Your business or career can be the most challenging and fulfilling ministry anyone can ask for as you impact employees, co-workers, customers, suppliers and your marketplace for Christ.”

For many, the concept that our work truly is the ministry to which God has called us is not even a consideration let alone a principle we believe in.  We hang on to the age-old premise that full time ministry relates to a pastor, missionary or ministry worker. My journey of discovery began with the book Loving Monday by business owner John Beckett – a must read! In Chapter 9, he addresses head-on this view that those involved in the workplace have no calling of God on their life.

“The result of such a view is that the activity of work is removed from the sacred realm and placed squarely in the secular — making it 'impossible' to serve God by being a man or woman in business.”*1)

This view has permeated much of our Christian thinking. Beckett goes on to say: “For years, I thought my involvement in business was a second class endeavor — necessary to put bread on the table, but somehow less noble than more sacred pursuits …. The clear impression was that to truly serve God, one must leave business and go into full-time Christian service.”*2)

These words literally jumped off the page into my heart. Suddenly it all made perfect sense. I was in full time ministry. God had gifted and called me to be a business entrepreneur and as I fulfilled that assignment with the goal of using that position and vehicle for His glory — I was right where God wanted me to be!

There are four key principles that all of us living in the marketplace need to understand and embrace if we truly are to achieve all that God has for us.

Your purpose in the marketplace

In 1 Corinthians 10:31, Paul writes, “Whether therefore you eat or drink or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This verse applies directly to the time we spend, and activities we are involved with, in the marketplace.

What we do in the marketplace is ultimately for the purpose of bringing glory to God. In Matthew 6:33, we have the great exhortation of Jesus, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness….”

This verse does not apply only to church activities or family time. It applies to our workplace. Whatever our career,  business or profession, our first and foremost priority is to ensure that we are seeking to bring honour and glory to God through our actions, our words, our behaviour, and our deeds.

You have been gifted by God for the marketplace

God created each of us with unique skills, abilities and spiritual gifts.  These skills usually lead us to our work. God created you exactly the way He wanted you to be so that you could serve His purposes through your work. Recognize that your skills and abilities are a gift of God, embrace them and celebrate them, and then use them for the glory of God.

You have been called by God to the marketplace

There has been much discussion in recent years around the concept of calling, and rightly so. However, we have often reserved this term to speak of people being “called into ministry.” Our pastors share how they felt “called to be a pastor.” In the very same way, God has gifted you and called you into full time service in the marketplace.

Pathway to Purpose Article Series in Business Life Magazine

The strategic vision of Corpath, a division of CBMC, is to help business leaders as they journey with Christ in the pursuit of personal and business transformation. On this Journey there are four Paths which, when taken together, form the Pathway to Purpose. The individual Paths are:

Life development: a challenging walk with the spiritual disciplines leading to Spiritual Maturity.

Leadership development: an inner-character discovery journey leading to Servant Leadership.

Ministry development: a revolutionary change in how to do business leading to a Marketplace Ministry.

Business development: a significant makeover of principles and practices leading to Organizational Excellence.

In 2007, each issue of Business Life featured one of these Paths. The winter 2007 issue focused on the Ministry Development Path.

If you don’t have a sense of your calling, pray and fervently ask the Lord to reveal if you are in the center of His will and calling for your life.  If not, ask Him to reveal where you need to be. However, there is a good chance you are in a place where you can be mightily used of God — you simply need to embrace and live out this calling.

You have been anointed by God for service in the marketplace

In Scripture we see numerous examples of people who God placed in the marketplace for His service. The disciples themselves were primarily professional people and business owners (family fishing business). Paul had a profession that he used for God’s purposes while in the marketplace (tentmaker).

In Acts 17:17, we read, “So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.” This is just as true of your life — you can reflect Christ in all you do as you move about in the marketplace day by day with those who happen to be there. God has anointed you for this service to Him.

So what is the next step? Once you embrace that you are gifted, called and anointed by God for the marketplace, how do you live this out practically?

The first step is to pray! Ask God to begin to show you ways in which you can live out your faith in Christ. Ask God to show you specific people to whom you can minister and with whom you can build relationships. Look for people in need to whom you can show the love of Christ.

You may want to develop a ministry action plan for your business or workplace. Prayerfully list specific actions or steps you can take; put timelines in place.

Share your plan with other Christians in your workplace, other Christian friends and your pastor. But perhaps most important, simply reflect Christ in your business and marketplace. In 2 Corinthians 2:15, Paul reminds us, “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” You are to be the sweet fragrance of Christ in your marketplace. You may be the only reflection of Christ that many people in your workplace ever experience. Be sure it is a reflection that honours the Lord, and attracts people to Christ.

Endnotes

1) John Beckett, Loving Monday: Succeeding in Business Without Selling Your Soul, (Downers Grove, Illinois — InterVarsity Press, 1998) p. 68.
2) Ibid, p. 69.

Jonathan Shaw is the East Director of Corpath.

Originally published in Business Life, Winter 2007.

 

 
 
 
 

Advertisers

Visit our Marketplace

Support the EFC ministry by using our Amazon links