The world is filled with marketplace Christians who are content with a shallow Christian presence in their business, afraid of the consequences of a more visible, deeper approach. The stresses on Christians have recently ratcheted up with the media’s concentrated effort and now the orchestrated strategy of big tech to suppress Christian conversation. The pressures on Christians in this country have never been greater.
On the other hand, almost all of us feel the nudging to be more visible and vocal with our Christianity in the marketplace. Maybe the Lord put us in the situation in which we are for such a time as this.
At the same time, we’re afraid that our more visible Christianity will alienate some customers, put distance between our friends and acquaintances, and cause our bankers and vendors to look at us with a skewered eye. We’re afraid, ultimately, that we’ll rock our comfortable world and find ourselves in the unchartered ground, well outside of the comfort zones we’ve spent a lifetime building.
But what if the benefits far outweighed any discomfort that might come from stepping out and more visibly embracing Christianity in the marketplace? What if that which we would gain so far outweighs our small sense of temporary discomfort that we would look back on it down the road a bit and reflect, “I should have done that years ago.”
I recently asked the members of my Xi Community to articulate one benefit to closely aligning their business and careers with a more visible alignment with God.
Their response? Peace, purpose, and a closer relationship with God.
In this article, I’d like to unpack the second of those responses by digging into the sense of divine purpose that comes with a more visible commitment to our relationship with Christ in the marketplace.
We understand that God created works for us to do.
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
In the case of a businessperson, one of those good works He created for us to do is the business or career we find ourselves in. While this may not be perfectly clear at the moment, a little bit of reflection almost always unveils the way that God worked through our circumstances to bring us to the position we now occupy. In my case, I am amazed at the way God orchestrated the experiences in my life to bring me to my current position and shape my opinions and refine my character. It is clear to me that I am exactly where I should be. I believe that is true for every other Christian businessperson. God has created good works to do – our businesses and careers – and set those in front of us.
We may not feel that our jobs and businesses are ‘good works.’ There are lots of people around us who will disparage that aspect of our jobs and businesses. To a large portion of church Christians, the only good works are those done under the auspices of the institutional church system.
Unfortunately, they are misguided. That idea is not grounded in Biblical truth.
Whatever You Do…Do it with Divine Purpose
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 4: 23:
“Whatever you do,” clearly includes that which we do for 40 hours a week in the marketplace. We know then, that if we do our jobs and run our businesses in a way that is mindful that we are working for Christ, not for men, that we are fulfilling his plan: He gave us good works to do, and our jobs and businesses, when done for Him, are some of those good works.
So, our efforts to do our jobs and create businesses that are excellent are 100% in alignment with His will for our lives.
But there is more. The question is not just “Should we strive for excellence in our work?” God expects that from us. But He expects more. He also expects us to be influential.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Matthew 5:13-16
Salt and Light – Our Divine Purpose
He expects us, and calls us, to be salt and light in the world. And that means that we verbally and visibly acknowledge our relationship to Him, and His place in our lives – and, in our jobs and businesses.
That doesn’t mean that we have to preach to our customers, vendors, and employees. But it does mean that, at a minimum, we operate with adherence to Christian principles, that we intentionally and willfully are guided by the Holy Spirit, and that we acknowledge God’s role in our lives and businesses when the opportunities arise.
32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. Matthew 10:32, 33
When we do that, it all lines up. We understand that we are right where God put us, that our jobs and businesses are the good works that God created in advance for us to do, and when we strive for excellence and influence, acknowledging His place in our lives and careers, we are in alignment with His will.
With that comes a certain sense of peace, confidence, and purpose. When we do our jobs and run our businesses in that way, we know that we are in the middle of his divine purpose. We can, therefore, handle any threat, overcome any obstacle, tackle any opportunity confidently knowing that we are an agent of the Kingdom, selected, and empowered by God himself. It doesn’t get much better than that.
That’s is one of the most powerful benefits of our accepting our role as a Kingdom minister in business.