Kingdom Business and the Marketplace
As a Christian the marketplace should be considered the largest mission field in the world. Think about it! Many throughout the world across every cultural, religious, and national barrier work to make a living for their families. Many employees, even executives and owners, travel the world over because of their jobs. Relationships are developed even though there may be language barriers. The business arena is a wide open field to let your light shine! We can all agree that the world itself is one big mission field. Even Jesus recognized this in Matthew 9:35-38, Luke 10:1-2, and John 4:34-37. As he sent them out two by two into every city, He has sent Christians out into the world into their families, neighborhoods, schools, churches, and even in the marketplace on their jobs.
Many think the mission field is a certain nation or several nations and still some think it is their families and neighborhoods. Even though this is true, the average person meets more people on their job than they do at home, in their neighborhood, or even their church. The marketplace, worldwide, is the largest mission field for Christians to be a witness and seize every opportunity to sow seeds of goodness, integrity, and trustworthiness. Sowing seed in actions of integrity accomplish more to bringing a harvest of souls than thousands of words without actions. Of course, in some countries and some job places you cannot freely speak of Christian principles and Godly living, but you can sure allow it to be reflected through a Godly lifestyle. Some will argue the point of the marketplace being the largest mission field in the world, but they cannot deny that there is a potential of influencing more people where you work than where you live or attend church.
Now that I have established my point of the location of the average worker's mission field, let's move on to another important fact about the marketplace. No church has a Holiest of Holies room with an Ark to open and take out money or a tree behind the church that produces money leaves to pluck off when in financial need. All finances of a church that come through the giving of the tithe and the offering come from people who either work for a business or own a business. The marketplace is not only a large mission field for Christians, but it is the source from which the churches receive their finances. Even Jesus called business people into His band of disciples. He called two fishermen brothers named Peter and Andrew (Matthew 4:18-19 and Mark 1:17-17), two other fishermen brothers named James and John (Matthew 4:21-22 and Mark 1:19-20), Matthew, the tax collector (Matthew 9:9), and there is a likelihood that Philip, too, was a fisherman. The occupations of the other apostles are not mentioned in scripture.
Jesus directed fishermen on what to do to receive a large catch of fish (John 21:5-6, 9-11) . He directed Peter to go catch the first fish and take money from the fish's mouth to pay taxes (Matthew 17:27). Zacchaeus was chief among the publicans, but he knew how to make money because he was rich (Luke 19:1-9). Jesus went to Zacchaeus, a rich business man, for him to get his life in order and not for him to stop business. Instead, salvation came to Zacchaeus and conviction brought him to the knowledge that he wasn't operating his business with integrity. Zacchaeus also knew how to keep good records, because he was going to restore fourfold to anyone he had taken more than he should have in taxes. These are just some of the examples from the Word of God that God cares about us and our businesses and places of employment. God's desire is to bring salvation into our lives which in turn will bring salvation into all areas of our lives, including the marketplace.
The scripture we have reviewed expresses God's desire for us to operate our daily lives in the marketplace with integrity in the sense of paying taxes and restoring wrongful business transactions, such as it was with Zacchaeus. As a Christian you cannot do what you want and get by with it. It may seem to be working for a while, but pay day will come. When it may appear that people of the world (non-believers) are successful, happy, and nothing is withheld from them, it is only temporary. There is no comparison of the eternal judgment that will come upon them for rejecting Christ. Once a person becomes a Child of God through salvation there is no choice but to obey and reap the benefits thereof, or disobey and be unhappy, unfulfilled, condemned, guilty and threatened by the penalties of your disobedience. A person cannot be born again and later decide not to follow God in every area of life. It doesn't work that way. God loves you, wants to bless you, and is not pleased when His children are fulfilling their own heart's desires. Solomon talks about how corrupt our hearts are (Proverbs, 6:16-19, 12:20, 16:5, 19:3, 21:4, 23:7, 24:1-2, 28:14, 28:25-26, Ecclesiastes 8:11, and 9:3), that is the reason we must follow principles set forth in God's Word.
Lydia was a saleswoman of a purple cloth from the city of Thyatira (Acts 16:14). She was saved at a meeting of women, was baptized, and invited the Apostles into her house. It is said that because of Lydia's love for the Lord and her relationships through business, she went back to Thyatira and became a great evangelist. I have heard that Jesus called fisherman because they could relate and become fishers of men more easily, but that is not the only reason. Matthew, a tax collector, Luke a physician (Colossians 4:14), Lydia, a saleswoman, Paul, a tentmaker (Acts 18:3), and many others throughout scripture were called to be used of God and to be in association with Jesus. The reason why is because they knew how to make and manage money. Also they knew something about organizing, structuring and distribution. Peter, James and John were the pillars of the early Church (Galatians 2:9) and were used by the Holy Spirit to create structure and to organize the Church for all facets of ministry. The Church was a baby and needed the experience. The Church needs the experience today as well. Sometimes the experience assistance is rejected because of the responsibilities and expectations of denominational requirements placed on pastors or either self-appointed pastors who think they can or should do it all. This is applicable only to some denominational, non-denominational and independent congregations. This lone ranger mindset is not scriptural.
Jesus used the learned abilities of His disciples that were businessmen on several occasions. He asked the disciples to organize and set the people down in groups of fifties when he fed the multitudes (Mark 6:39-40, Luke 9:14-15). Jesus also used the distribution skills of the disciples to distribute the multiplied fish and bread to the multitudes (Matthew 15:36, Mark 6:41, Mark 8:6, Luke 9:16, and John 6:11). The disciples were not only good tradesmen in their fields, but they had experience in distribution of fish, organizing fishing parties, collecting money, keeping records, and so on. They had weaknesses. They were tempted and apt to sin just like us, but Jesus knew how to use their abilities while helping them through issues with their flesh. Business in the biblical days is starting to sound a lot like our world today, doesn't it? The good news is that Jesus can still use our abilities!
The centurion's occupation was a soldier and Jesus admired him for following principles by faith (Matthew 8:5-10 and Luke 7:2-9). It is by faith that we as the Children of God come to Him or receive anything from Him, set goals with expectations, receive favor with man, and be successful in anything we do. We must trust Him with all our heart, don't lean to our own understanding, and He has promised to direct us in our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). The centurion had learned what to do as a working soldier on how to trust God by applying biblical principles to his everyday tasks.
Are you working to make a living or living to work? Others may say it this way: work to live or live to work. Whichever the case, work is a big part of many lives. It is said that you spend more time at work during the work week than you do at home with family. This is why some people make the best of their weekends with family and friends. Thereis definitely nothing wrong with that, but we have to realize that when at work, we are there for more than just to make money.
Kingdom Business is about applying biblical principles to your businesses and workplaces to produce good work ethics to be a godly example. The Kingdom doesn't just involve the Christian in his church life, but in his personal, family, friendships, and his job. So many teachings seem to revolve around the Christian's spiritual life as a church worker only or maybe as an evangelist wherever you are. This is true to an extent, but the Christian's life is a lot more than that. It involves his thinking processes, words and actions in every arena of life. Remember what we said earlier. Of course we are on our jobs to influence people for the Kingdom's sake, but we are also there to produce money for the Kingdom. This is the reason business is so important for the Gospel to be presented to the whole world. It takes money to make things happen. Money is not sin, but the love of money will be your downfall. The love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10). Jesus did not condemn the moneychangers in the temple for working, but because of their tradition of exploiting the people who needed what they sold for sacrifices, He ran them out (Matthew 21:12-13 and Mark 11:15-17). The exploitation was evidenced in Jesus' statement about making the House of Prayer a den of thieves.
With my years of experience as being a businessman and serving as a pastor, I have learned the importance of God's blessings not only upon the church, but upon business as well. Without business there would be no money and without church there would be no blessing and godliness. This is the reason I believe the Kingdom is far more than what the average Christian, and might I say pastor or Bible scholar as well, may even realize. Kingdom Business is about raising the awareness of the importance of producing Godly businesses and teaching employees and owners how to operate a business using biblical principles. The fastest and most effective way this can be done is for the churches to recognize their business leaders and allow them to organize support groups, create curriculum, and train the congregations. Experience speaks loudly and even Jesus recognized that fact by calling the already trained and experienced into His band of followers.
Kingdom Business is about allowing God to be the owner, President, CEO, COO, CFO, Chairman, manager, lead person, or any other position you think you need to be in control of. If He is not in control, then you are laboring in vain. Your rewards and harvests will be minimal. Let Jesus take the wheel and you will see your business and workplace steered in the right direction for success!
If you are a pastor, where are you in this process in your church?
If you are a Christian business owner, where are you in the process of allowing the Holy Spirit to operate in your business?
If you are a Christian employee, where are you in the process of being the example you should be for Christ and operating in good work ethics?
If you are a person that desires to start a business, where are you in your planning in allowing God to be a part from the ground up? Remember the scripture that says, 'except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it' (Psalm 127:1).
My prayer for every employee, manager, executive, investor, and business owner is that they learn the two part prayer method which is, praying and listening. If you can't listen you are missing what God is saying to you. Of course, there are many ways that God can and does speak to us, but be honest, do you know what way that is? Have you learned how to be still and quiet and allow the Holy Spirit to bring to you what the Father is saying in whatever way that He speaks to you? These are important questions, and you must listen to what God has to say to know what He would have you do. Take my word for it, what we might know about blessing, breakthrough, and success is only a portion of what we can know and receive when we become better listeners. God desires only the best for us, but we must be in a place to receive His best and not just the acceptable part. In the garden Jesus said, 'nevertheless not my will, but yours Father' (Matthew 26:39, Mark 13:36 and Luke 22:42).
I pray and stand in agreement with you according to Amos 3:3 (NLT) "Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?"
I also pray these scriptures over you.
Genesis 39:3 (NLT) "Potiphar noticed this and realized that the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did."
3 John 2 (NLT) "Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit."
Joshua 1:8 (NLT) "Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do."
Deuteronomy 28:1-13 (NLT) "If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the world. 2 You will experience all these blessings if you obey the Lord your God: 3 Your towns and your fields will be blessed. 4 Your children and your crops will be blessed. The offspring of your herds and flocks will be blessed. 5 Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be blessed. 6 Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed. 7 “The Lord will conquer your enemies when they attack you. They will attack you from one direction, but they will scatter from you in seven! 8 “The Lord will guarantee a blessing on everything you do and will fill your storehouses with grain. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you. 9 “If you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in his ways, the Lord will establish you as his holy people as he swore he would do. 10 Then all the nations of the world will see that you are a people claimed by the Lord, and they will stand in awe of you. 11 “The Lord will give you prosperity in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you, blessing you with many children, numerous livestock, and abundant crops. 12 The Lord will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them. 13 If you listen to these commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom."
1 Corinthians 16:1-2 (NLT) "Now regarding your question about the money being collected for God’s people in Jerusalem. You should follow the same procedure I gave to the churches in Galatia. 2 On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once."
Psalm 1:3 (NLT) "They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do."
Ecclesiastes 3:13 (NLT) "And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God."
God bless you and your place of employment!
Daniel W. Evans