Our society loves to put things into boxes. Monday-Friday is for work, Friday night is for drinking, Saturday is for pancakes, Sunday morning is for God, and Sunday afternoon is for naps. Everything has a neat little organized day, time, and place designation. Our lives look like someone ran wild with a label maker. As long as everything we do stays within its designated box, the world keeps turning. But, what if that is not how we are supposed to live?
As a Christian, I grew up being told, by the world, that my faith, my God, my Creator, only belonged in church. I wanted to be a pastor so that I could walk with God and serve Him every day. For most of my life, I thought that you were either in ministry (meaning you served God full time in the church) or you were simply a churchgoer. As my life turned away from church ministry and went down a path more focused on business, I thought that I was betraying God so that I could do something that I really enjoyed: business.
It did not dawn on me for many years that perhaps God had put business on my heart and that business was my ministry. Before I could see this as truth, I had to do something that our society frowns upon. I had to un-label my life, take everything out of its neat little boxes and mix it all together. As a self-diagnosed neat freak, this was a hard thing to do.
It is interesting to me how today even most Christians buy into the idea that God can’t be mixed into anything but our Sunday mornings. Sure, we don’t say this outright, but our actions show it. Most of us, myself included, often hide or minimize our faith during the week, then sing as loud as we can during worship on Sunday to make up for it. But what if we did not distinguish between the two? What if we were not Christians and business professionals? What if, instead, we were Christian business professionals? There is a lot of meaning behind that little word, “and,” that we use to separate our faith and our professions. The “and” signifies that we see the two parts of us, our faith and what we do for a living, as separate rather than conjoined together as one cause.
The apostle Paul, who we all admire, was a businessman. The Bible tells us that he was a tentmaker (Acts 18:3). He made a living by building and selling tents, yet his life’s legacy was defined by his ministry and preaching of the Gospel. For Paul, there was no separation. Tents made him a living, but he believed that every Christian is called to spread the Gospel of Christ.
Today, as a Christian business owner or Christian business professional, what does that look like? First and foremost, we have to look different than the rest of the world. We should be known, not for being shrewd, but for being fair, generous, and giving of our time, money and talents. Our colleagues should see a strong work ethic and devotion to a higher standard within us. Our employees should be paid well and treated with respect, and our customers should feel safe and confident doing business with us, knowing that our word is strong and true.
But, it is more than that because, as Paul demonstrated, every Christian’s duty is to spread the Gospel. The good news is not just for pastors and missionaries to speak of. Our goal should be to live in such a way that people see a difference and ask us about that difference. We must become a shining light to the world, eager to serve the lost, hungry, and hopeless.
As I have learned, business is what I do for a living, but it is not who I am. First and foremost, I am an agent of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and everything I do, I hope to do unto Him and for His Glory. I am still a long way from perfecting such things, but my prayer for myself and my Christian business brothers and sisters is that we all see our calling as working for the glory of God’s kingdom. We use our business skills to create jobs, build higher standards, give freely, and always stand and fight for the side of truth.