Your vocation is ministry before God. The word “vocation” is defined as “a sort of sentry post” that when faithfully executed would “be reckoned very precious in God’s sight.” Unfortunately, most churches have lost this Bible teaching, and replaced it with the concept of “secular work.” The clergy/lay model claims there is sacred work and there is secular work. One is ministry and the other is not. The problem with this unscriptural perspective is that it makes people think they are less spiritual in doing work.
As most people never serve God in a church staff position, there is a constant sense of being relegated to a life of sub-ministry. Unfortunately many of these marketplace Christians feel like second-class citizens when compared to people who serve fulltime in a church or missionary context. This should not be the case at all. No matter the occupation, Christians who work in secular places need to know that they are not privates in God’s army but full-fledged generals whose ministry is in the heart of the city.
This erroneous teaching of “laymen” in “secular work” is very destructive. Those who unwittingly accept this teaching do not realize that when at work, they are ministers and are ministering. From the moment of salvation, every Christian is in a continual state of ministry. Ministry is simply service to God. Everything is to be done so as to honor God, even eating and drinking! God gave Adam the role to subdue the Earth. We are meant to be rulers of the world by advancing human progress in all areas of life.
The idea of “Secular” narrows the Sacred to a very small portion of reality. “Secular” is a category that throws out the overwhelming abundance of human activities and life experiences. The result has been the severe impoverishment of what is now called religion and its irrelevance to the rest of life in the eyes of the world. It causes people to feel that worldliness is more fulfilling to live than spirituality. But true spirituality encompasses all things in the world. God meant for spirituality to be relevant to all activity.
For the believer, the effect of Christ’s work is that there is no area of life that is not Sacred. Every aspect of life is “set apart for the Lord” because the life itself is set apart for him. All believers’ actions, not just a few, are done for the glory of God. Everything is sacred and spiritual to the conscious person. There is no such thing as secular. You live a life where everything is meaningful and ordained by God for you to experience. To the pure, all things are pure because they do all things with a pure awareness.
We are here to be salt and light of the world. What good is light among light? Salt is meant to blend in with the meat. The kingdom of God is like leaven. Early Christians made the marketplace the focal point of their ministry because their occupations took them there regularly. They influenced the world towards godliness and truth. This was possible because they saw the marketplace as their listeners and their business as a loudspeaker. To them witnessing was not an occasional activity but a life-style.
Jesus, a recognized craftsman, found the marketplace to be friendly territory. He recruited His disciples there, not in the Temple. None of the Twelve was a member of the professional clergy or a leader in the synagogue. Paul, who joined later and was a Rabbi, was no stranger to the marketplace. He also ran a profitable business that in Ephesus was large enough to provide for him, for his team and for the needy. Jesus prays The Father that He does not take you out of the world, but to keep you from evil.
There is the erroneous beliefs that people involved in business cannot be as spiritual as those serving in church ministry, that the primary role of marketplace Christians is to make money to support the vision of those “in the ministry”. No one is better placed in the city than Christians who operate in the marketplace. It is imperative that they realize that not only is it ok to do ministry in the marketplace, but that God has explicitly called them and anointed them for it. God wills.
When marketplace Christians are reduced to second-class status, the church is automatically deprived of its most strategically placed soldiers. If properly equipped, they can cause great changes in the cities.
Be a businessperson for the glory of God. It is important not to disqualify yourself on account of your occupation. Do not think you are a businessperson who has no right to be in ministry. Do not think you should be in business solely to make money and that the marketplace has no transcendent purpose. Do not let your occupation block your destiny but instead let your destiny shape your occupation by turning it into your ministry to shine spiritually.
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