Christian Business

Not All Heroes Wear Capes

There are people who serve in the shadows. People who don’t have any fancy titles or accolades but continue to do their work faithfully. People who allow God to entrust them with destinies that seem far greater than their own and pour their all into them. People who allow others to stand on their shoulders and be in the spotlight even if it means they never get any recognition for it.

They’re heroes in my view. Unassuming and often overlooked, but heroes nonetheless.

This is probably why I find it interesting that when most people talk about their dreams and desires in life, there’s an element of recognition attached to their definition of success. How many of us go about our days believing that what we say and do will only matter when we get to point X, with title X and with X people who know us?

Yet, just because someone has a high level of influence doesn’t mean that there is no contribution that you, who doesn’t have their title or their influence, can make in their life. I’ve come across a dime a dozen stories in which people of great influence share significant moments in their journeys where God used a nondescript person to pull them out of a pit they were in. It makes me wonder – what if these ordinary people disregarded the role God was asking them to play because they believed they don’t matter?

Equally, just because a person has the same level of influence as you do doesn’t mean that there is no difference you can make in their life. Neither does someone who has less influence than you, deserve less honour and sacrifice from you.

What does this look like in the workplace?

Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.

– St Francis of Assisi

When we remember people are more than just numbers in our targets and to-do lists, we don’t merely transact with them for money (whether it comes as a salary, a commission or a business income). There is far more love and consideration given to one another when we remember the love of Christ – a love so great and vast He was willing to stake His life for us because of it. As our love for God grows, so does our love for people.

I’ve become increasingly cognizant of how a business serves me as a consumer impacts me; which, has in turn, made me more conscious of the impact I have to those around me. The business has little to do with the bricks and mortar and everything to do with the people in it that I interact with. Their impact has nothing to do with how many Scriptures they cite to me. It has everything to do with things that unsurprisingly fall under the category of fruit of the Spirit:

  1. Love: Am I more than just a customer number to you?
  2. Joy: Does my interaction with you add to my joy or take away from it?
  3. Peace: Does dealing with you fill me with angst and anxiety or do you leave me better than you found me?
  4. Patience: Am I a bother to you or do you see the value in serving me (beyond the money you get from me)?
  5. Kindness & Gentleness: Is there any thoughtfulness in how you speak with me and treat me?
  6. Goodness: Does what you’re selling to me and how you’re selling it to me add genuine value in my life?
  7. Faithfulness: Does what you deliver to me live up to the promise you’ve made me as a consumer/client; and how do you take ownership when it falls short for whatever reason?
  8. Self-control: Will you exploit the power you have as a business employee or owner to gain more traction and get more profit at the expense of my personal well-being?

Some of us care more about how many likes we get more than how much like God we’re becoming.

– Christine Caine

Borrowing from this train of thought – many of us care more about the number of zeroes in our bank account at the end of the month than the number of lives we’ve made a difference in within the same period. That’s why the illustration of the fruit in the workplace will bother us. It asks us to give more of ourselves than we’re willing to.

If I’m to be brutally honest – as believers, we tend to be a selfish lot in the marketplace. We go into our work lives and careers thinking – what’s in it for me? We want everyone around us to pay the price to give us the best but we’re not willing to do the same for them.

The issue with this ideal is that our service becomes dependent on our compensation – financial or otherwise – rather than our revelation of God’s will for us in a given situation. And we show up in church on Sunday with the same attitude that says to God – I’ll live for you to the degree You bless me. What should be primarily relational becomes primarily transactional.

It’s no wonder we have such a hard time making a difference in the marketplace as believers. Our stance is no different from non-believers. As kingdom representatives, we’re inadvertently propping up the wrong kingdom. What makes it sadder is the reality of how much time we spend doing so, because our work tends to take up a good chunk of our lives each week.

Fame and visibility are not the hallmark of success in the kingdom. Neither is a healthy profit margin or personal gain. To be praised by human beings and industry peers doesn’t automatically mean you’re on the right path. The world can cheer you on right into a ditch, at which point, their support turns into scorn within seconds.

Because we’ve grown up in a world that not only uses these measures of success but trains us to do the same from a very early age, it’s not automatic that we see ourselves and our input the way God does.

It’s a daily journey to intentionally remind ourselves of what it means for us to be believers in the marketplace. The more we dwell in God’s presence and submit our work ethic to Him, the more we become like Him and live our lives – even our work lives – as we ought to.

Does this mean that it’s wrong for us to desire affirmation and recognition for the work we do? Or that we should be broke Christians in the name of being good believers? No. But bear in mind that whoever we look to to meet these needs in us we give power and influence over us. As a believer, would you rather have that be the world or God?

So here’s to everyone deep in the trenches. Though the world around you may be fully oblivious to the sacrifice you make each day, God is well aware. May your eternal reward be found in Him.

 

Take Action:

Find ways to express the fruit of the Holy Spirit as you go about your work this week.

Christian Business, Leaders' Foundry

Pastor Appreciation Month

This leadership post comes at the beginning rather than the end of the month since October is Pastor Appreciation Month. It’s not something that’s widely celebrated (at least not in this part of the world) but I’m hoping to change that a little.

I’ve always found it ironic how quick we are to drag people under the bus at the slightest allegation of failure but celebrating those who have faithfully supplied into our lives over the years while they’re still alive to hear it is like pulling teeth.

Instead of the usual leadership thoughts I’d normally share, I make this request: this month, find a way to appreciate those God has used to minister to you in the past and in the present. I won’t prescribe what makes a worthy celebration. That’s between you, God and them.

Oh, and I’m a Pastor’s wife so this is a completely biased post. But consider that because of this, I know better than most, what the cost of ministry truly is. And the difference it makes for even one person to say thank you.

Be blessed!

 

Christian Business

Walk Away

Jesus’ teachings when He walked on the earth were full of controversy. (For all intents and purposes, they still are.) One of the more controversial things He spoke about was turning the other cheek.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.  And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.

– Matthew 5:38-40 NIV

Turning the other cheek is about as counter-cultural as you can get in the kind of world we live in. One where strength and dominance are put on full display everywhere you go and any semblance of weakness is treated with contempt and capitalized on by whoever can get maximum gain. The business world has exemplified this in all its precarious extremes.

The workplace is one of those environments that brings together all sorts of people with varying backgrounds and beliefs. As such, the presence of opposing views and conflict should come as no surprise. If anything, some classic default settings already exist in the business world such as “the client is always right” that preempt clashes that may occur.

The world has its strategy for dealing with opposition. But as a believer, how do you handle the conflict that arises in the course of your work day?

“Jesus did not live in reaction to the devil. He lived in response to the Father.”

– Bill Johnson

It’s dangerous for us as believers to allow circumstances to set the tone for how we handle life situations; to react to the world around us defensively rather than living on the offence as a people with the benefit of divine insight. A defensive posture developed on the fly in the middle of a crisis hardly makes for good life strategy.

When it comes down to it, Jesus commissioned us to do more than just win arguments. We are called to be salt and light to the world; to bring about a transformation that has eternal value and impact. Yes, there are situations that call us to scream at the top of our lungs from the highest mountain we can possibly find. But then there are those that will require more tact from us if we are to do more than just talk. Some will even demand that we walk away from a battle so we can win the war.

But how do you know what to do as a believer in the midst of conflict?

One of the reasons we emphasize knowing why you’re at a particular position in the workplace is because purpose will give you context to understand what comes your way and how to deal with it. It’s difficult to invoke the heart and hand of God if you don’t even know whether it’s His will for you to be where you are doing what you’re doing.

If you’re certain that God has positioned you where you are, it gives you the courage to do what is right in His sight in a given scenario, regardless of what that looks like to everyone else. Having done all you can to stand, the Holy Spirit is right there with you ensuring that you do indeed stand.

When your agenda in the workplace is driven by God, you start to see things the way He does.

Sometimes a person will come against a believer without even knowing that it’s the nature in them at war with the nature in the believer. When it seems like you’re being picked on for no apparent reason, you learn to hold your peace in the physical and fight the battle where it’s really taking place – the realms of the spirit.

Sometimes the overbearing boss and the catty colleague are tools in the hand of a God who is moulding your character so you can learn to serve and minister to people of all kinds. With humility, you embrace the lesson at hand and work as unto God not unto the flawed human beings beside you. Your faithfulness to serve is no longer linked to how nice someone is to you; it’s driven by the never-changing faithfulness of the One who has called you.

Sometimes opposition is God speaking through your circumstances to tell you you’re not where you’re supposed to be. There’s no divine grace for what you’re doing because it’s not in line with His will for your life in that season.

Turning the other cheek isn’t becoming a door mat that everyone can walk over. It boils down to humility – the right estimation of yourself and God in a given situation. Humility is abhorred by the world because darkness doesn’t have the ability to comprehend light. It takes the Spirit of God to reveal the truth of the power vested in humility to us as believers.

There are times humility will demand that you take a courageous stand like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. There are times that same humility will demand that you pull back like David did when he could easily have killed Saul, his tormentor.

Is it more important to you that you win a fight and prove you’re right or that the will of God comes to pass? Because often, one will have to cede way for the other. Inherent in this question is whether you trust God to fight for you or you feel like you need to have your own back.

Deeper still, lies the seemingly impossible and certainly uncomfortable call – love your enemies. We don’t do it because it’s easy. We do it because the love we experience from God compels us to live lives that testify of a love that is bigger than preference and convenience.

May we walk away from every form of pride that stands in the way of our testimony.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

– Matthew 5:43-48 NIV

 

Take Action:

Think of someone you’ve been having a hard time dealing with in your workplace. Ask the Lord to show you how you can extend love to them this week.

Christian Business

Monday Blues

At the height of one of his greatest victories, Elijah suffered one of his worst moments of internal defeat that was so bad he wanted to die. Discouragement is something we all have to contend with at one point or another in our lives. Often, it will hit us when we least expect it.

So what do you do when life happens to you as a believer especially in the workplace?

Here are a couple of practical ways I’ve used to get through my rough days:

 

My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” – Psalm 42:3 ESV

 

Do acknowledge how you feel.

In our attempt to be good Christians, we can easily forget that it is God who gave us our emotions and they don’t lose meaning in our salvation. Jesus Himself acknowledged that we would indeed experience troubles in this world. But His statement didn’t end there.

He undergirded the reality of our tribulations in the truth of victory – we are to take heart (be encouraged) because He has overcome the world. Whatever comes our way, His victory is our victory.

This is a fundamental caveat. To dwell in our feelings without the context of God’s truth about us and our lives is a pitfall we need to avoid. Our feelings are based on our limited perspective of life as human beings and it takes God to give us sight beyond that which is right in front of us. It is when we are introduced to truth that we are able to cast our burdens to Him.

Acknowledge how you truly feel to God. He can take your anger, frustration and disappointment better than anyone else can.

 

Do spend (extra) time in the presence of God.

Sometimes discouragement is our spirit sending out an alarm that it’s running on empty and in need of eternal perspective. If this is something that happens constantly, then you need to reevaluate how regularly you spend time with God. Your spirit is only strong to the degree you have fed it with the word of God in its various expressions from the Bible to a conversation with friends.

I don’t believe that anyone or anything can come into the presence of God and leave the same way. Something changes in you even if it doesn’t immediately manifest in your situation.

How your time in God’s presence looks like is really up to you and Him. But saturating yourself with worship music is certainly a good place to start.

 

Do let someone in.

From the days of the Bible, from the Old Testament right through to the New Testament, Kingdom living has always been modelled in the context of the community. We need each other if we are going to succeed in Christian living as God intended.

When we’ve stumbled and lost our bearing for a moment, the voice of a friend to remind us who we are in God and who He is in us can be the lifeline we need to get back on track.

Where words are not sufficient, and there are many times they won’t be, to have someone who is willing to sit with us as we process our heartache and grief matters just as much.

As I always say, don’t expect other people to do this for you if you are not willing to be there for them when it matters.

 

Do remember that a difficult day/week does not make a bad life.

Facing one thing after another in rapid succession can have you feeling like your life is just one insurmountable mountain. But our lives are far more than the sum of our problems.

One of the most practical ways I’ve found to help me do this is to literally count my blessings. To stop in the midst of my funk and enumerate all the ways that I can see God’s goodness in my life notwithstanding the circumstances I’m in. Why it works is because it shifts my focus from myself and my problems to God and His power at work in my life.

Again, this isn’t a denial of reality. It is expanding my perspective of reality beyond the problems screaming in my ear to the work of God that continues silently on throughout my life.

 

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

– Psalm 42:11 ESV

 

My prayer for you is that no matter what comes your way in the course of your work day and work week, you will remember to put your hope and trust in God.

 

Take Action:

Make time to pray for someone who is experiencing discouragement in some area of their life this week.

Christian Business, Leaders' Foundry

Who’s Leading You?

Dear leader, who’s leading you?

I know it’s not a question that you’re asked often. You’re more than likely used to hearing about how you’re leading others.

Yet I’ve found that one of the greatest hallmarks of a good leader isn’t just in their ability to lead, but particularly in their ability to follow and submit to another. You cannot lead if you have no clue how to be led. This is especially the case for Christian leaders.

Why? Let’s consider who a Christian leader is. What is it that makes one a Christian leader? Is the “Christian” part merely a notation of the faith they ascribe to? Or is there something more evident in their leadership that sets them apart from everyone else?

Can people tell your leadership is Christian in nature merely by observing the impact it has on those you lead and that which you’re responsible for?

As a leader, are your thoughts (mind) in charge?  Is your heart (emotions) in control? Is your impulse (will) what guides your decisions?

Or are you in step with the Spirit of God as a Christian – leader or otherwise – should be.

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.”

– Galatians 5:25 ESV

Being saved by the Spirit and being led by the Spirit are not automatically synonymous for any Christian. One is a choice made in a moment that changes the course of your life eternally; the other is a life-time of daily, intentional surrender. It’s the difference between having Jesus as your Saviour and having Him as your Lord.

Unfortunately, there’s a high number of saved Christians who are as estranged to the Holy Spirit in their salvation as they were before they got saved. Yet He was the one Jesus was keen to leave us as He prepared to go back to be with the Father. Consider why Christ would put such an emphasis on the need for us to have His Spirit (John 14).

If you are not led by the Spirit in your everyday Christian walk, He will not find room in your leadership. What the rest of the world sees in public is but an expression of what’s going on in your private life. If you are led by self (mind, heart and/or will), the fruit of this will be evident in your leadership. If you are led by the opinions of others, this too will be seen in how you lead. But if the Lord Almighty is the One who guides your every step, the world and Body alike will take note of the remarkable difference in your leadership even when they may not understand it.

Leadership is a heavy call for any person to bear, all the more for Christian leaders for whom eternity is at stake. However, it’s not the weight of leadership that often breaks us but how we carry that weight. The weight of having others looking to us for direction; to know that which they do not, to understand that which makes no sense to them, to have answers to the questions that are ringing in their minds.

We cannot take people to a place we have no knowledge of. It is the Spirit of truth who leads us into all truth and helps us in turn point others back to Christ in everything we do, even in the workplace. This is why we can’t afford to lean on our own strength and understanding. We will limit people to our limitations as human beings when we should be creating environments for them to walk in limitless freedom in Jesus.

I can’t help but think that our greatest call as Christian leaders, is to be led by Christ. Everything we do will stand or fall based on our ability to submit ourselves to His Lordship.

So let’s look to the One who called us to establish and keep us in the paths He has set for us and those He has given us charge over. And may His Spirit be our advocate and guide in all we do in His name and for His glory.

 

Take Action:

Are there dimensions of your leadership that are not led of the Holy Spirit? Make the invitation to Him today and ask Him to take over. Be intentional in following His lead from now on.

Christian Business

Kingdom Profit

The typical aim of getting into business is to make profit. The most common understanding of profit in the world of business is monetary. But what does profit look like in the context of kingdom business?

 

Purpose

God put each one of us on earth for a particular reason.

There is a divine mandate we all have as believers to lend a hand in the reconciliation of God and the fallen world. This includes not just people but the rest of creation in its various states and forms.

Unfortunately, this is often assumed to be solely the work of title-bearing ministers of the gospel when in fact it is a Great Commission for us all.

In particular, the marketplace has been a neglected arena for far too long where we’ve made it out to be territory for the world rather than the Church. Much like the 10 Israelite spies who thought of themselves as grasshoppers compared to the giants that occupied the land, we’ve bowed out before the battle even begins.

That needs to end.

The glory of God is supposed to cover the entire earth as the waters cover the sea. For me, this means, every aspect of our lives, including the marketplace requires our attention and commitment as believers.

You may not be called to have a title as a minister but your position in the marketplace beckons you into ministry.

 

People

Are people better for the existence of your business and your position in the marketplace or worse for it?

We lose out on many ministry opportunities in the marketplace when we limit ourselves to quoting Scripture rather than living it out as broadly and boldly as we can.

Regardless of what product/service your business offers, you have the unique opportunity to minister to people through how you offer it. Something as simple as how you treat a client/customer can be the avenue through which God uses you to encourage someone who’s sorely in need of it.

On the flipside, if your business is making money at the expense of people – whether your employees, colleagues, clients/customers, suppliers, etc – then you need to rethink the modus operandi of how you do business.

We cannot claim to be followers of Jesus – a man who was constantly moved with compassion to help people – when our work lives show the very opposite.

 

Promise

Are you a person of your word?

This may seem like an insignificant question but Scripture clearly gives an account of how the devil was overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of testimony (Revelation 12).

The value of a witness is found in the strength of their character. As witnesses of Christ to the world around us, we can only succeed in our mandate to the degree to which our lives attest that we are trustworthy. The words of our mouths mean little if they are in complete contradiction to the state of our minds, hearts and lives.

In a world where cutting corners and finding loopholes is the order of the day, something as basic as keeping a promise you made to someone can be a revolutionary thing.

Besides, why would God trust you with His word if you cannot even steward your own word?

 

Power

“Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”

– Isaiah 9:7 NIV

This is one of the verses that challenges me the most when I think of the truth that undergirds it – regardless of all the chaos that exists in the world around me, the government of Christ is in a constant state of increase.

As a believer in business, this means that I have a mandate to uphold and increase His governance on the face of the earth notwithstanding the circumstances that exist. It’s the very reality of walking in divine authority that gives us power to calm the storms that rage around us.

If the reconciliation between God and creation is to be 1) maintained and 2) increased, we need to address the systems and structures of the world that go against the values of Christ. There is a kingdom environment that we need to establish in their place that is patterned after the nature of Christ and which acts as a greenhouse for the purpose of God for our lives, our generations and our world.

We cannot bring profit into the Kingdom of God without the power of the One who is seated on the throne. If we are to increase the government of Christ in every sphere of the business world, we need to be intentional in cultivating our relationship with God. The only way to bear fruit for God’s kingdom is to abide in the living Vine of the kingdom (Christ).

 

Money?

Does this mean that kingdom businesses should not seek to make money?

No.

It means that as we do kingdom business, money is in its rightful place on our list of priorities. We need to do business like people who actually believe God when He says to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all things (including money) will be added unto us.

 

Take Action:

Is your marketplace expression profitable for the Kingdom of God?

What changes do you need to make to bear more fruit for His Kingdom?

Christian Business, Leaders' Foundry

Uplifting Leaders

Leadership is hard.

If you’re in it, you know exactly what I mean. If you’re not, may the Lord illuminate your spirit with revelation.

As a leader, it’s easy to get so caught up in attending to the needs of others that you forget to feed your soul and spirit. You forget to be still and take stock of how you are. You can be running on fumes and not even realize it until your body begins to fall apart on you.

As a follower, it’s easy to hold a leader in such high esteem that you forget they’re human, you forget that for all they give to you, they need your love, prayer and support too. Similarly, you can get so caught up in a leader’s weaknesses and mistakes that you disregard the need to support them in prayer and in kind. They were never qualified for leadership based on perfection and so their imperfections do not disqualify their authority in your life.

In the age of social media, Christians have excelled at the art of throwing accusations at each other and at leaders. It doesn’t take rocket science to point out what’s not working and build a monument out of it. Anyone can do that. If anything, the devil is referred to as the accuser of brethren in the Bible. So whose work are we really doing in our gusto of speculation and accusation?

“Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.”

– Exodus 17:11-13 ESV

Consider what would happen, if every time you wanted to complain or accuse a leader about something, you prayed for them instead. Do we really believe in the power of intercession over the lives of people? Do we love them enough to commit them to the One with the ability to help them be better? It is the ultimate test of honour and humility to cover the nakedness of a leader you serve.

As someone submitted to another in authority, I ask you to take time to pray for those in leadership over you. There is so much they go through and handle that you are unaware of. For all their faults and flaws, their authority over your life and the lives of others will only bear the right fruit to the degree they are led of God. Whether they are Christians or not, the call to pray for them stands.

If you’re a leader, I ask you to take time to pray for yourself today. Take yourself to the quiet streams of the presence of God and allow Him to still every raging worry and concern you have. The work of your hands as a leader requires you to be firmly held in His hands.

May every weak and weary place in you be strengthened in Jesus’ name.

Christian Business

Pause

There’s a lot of truth and encouragement that has been shared here for the last couple of months.

How have you used it?

Has it changed you?

Your thoughts, your emotions, your actions?

Has it renewed your relationship with God in any way?

Has it transformed your view of work and business?

I believe that the value of knowledge and revelation lies in its use. There’s no point stacking it up like trophies on your shelf if it’s not doing any good in your life.

And that requires intentional application.

So today, we pause and reflect.

What have you done with what you’ve gained from this blog so far?

Go back, if you need to, and remind yourself of the lessons.

Make the necessary changes in your posture – your mind, your heart, your will.

I’ll be doing the same on my end.

Let’s meet back here next week.

Renewed and whole.

 

Christian Business, Leaders' Foundry

Character

I look at the world around me and I see reasons – loud, obnoxious reasons – why it doesn’t pay to do the right thing. More aptly, how people are not just getting away with doing the wrong thing, but actually being rewarded for it.

With it, a sinister lie is creeping into many hearts – it’s useless to bother. Doing the right thing doesn’t pay off so why bother? Doing the right thing is just giving me more grief and problems so why bother?

The unfortunate truth is that this is not new. None of it is. Throughout Scripture and human history is evidence of ages where wickedness seemed to reign supreme and it was a struggle to find anything good in being good.

When madness seems to abound everywhere we turn, it serves as a true test to show us what really drives us to be one thing and not another; to pursue one thing and not another; to choose the way of God not the way of the world.

This is the time when the true leaders of our age are ushered forth. Not by virtue of titles and positions held, nor by fame, popularity and fortune; but by the testimony of their lives. Testimony that has been tried and tested. Testimony that shows who truly carries the heart of God and not just His hand.

“The same power that raised Him up is the power that lives in us.”

– Brian Johnson (Strong In Us)

Every believer has an innate call to leadership and dominion in one way or another by virtue of the commissioning of Christ to us all. But divine power and authority – the kind that actually makes a difference – can only flow in the lives of they who are truly for Christ – in word and deed.

You may get away with tricking human beings including yourself by preaching water and drinking wine but the angels and principalities know better. The devil is well aware who is out rightly for him and who he can hijack to unknowingly fulfill his agenda. God will certainly not be blinded by your words when your actions tell a different story. So who’s fooling who?

Character then becomes a question of who holds you heart whether someone is there to see it or not.

If you hold your own heart, then your life is for your convenience and benefit; everything you do and don’t do is dependent on what you think and feel is best for you. You’ll do whatever it takes to make you happy and keep you comfortable even if it’s at the detriment of others. Every strength you have will propel you forward in equal measure to how every weakness and limitation you have will draw you back.

If that which you desire most – whether material possession or the affection and attention of another – holds your heart, then everything you’re doing will be centred on how you can get it; and once you have it, you’ll be obsessed with trying to get more of it while hoarding what you already have. Because one taste is never enough. And you don’t realize that that which you think you have, in actual sense, has you.

If someone else holds you heart, then you are a puppet in the hands of a master who may not truly understand the power of the sway they have over you, much less have the wherewithal to steward your destiny which is now in their hands. It’s a precarious situation when one pot relies on another for its identity when only the Potter knows why both exist.

If God holds your heart, then the decisions you make in private and public will be in sync with His heart and mind for you concerning those things. The evidence in your life will be the fruit of His Spirit – love, peace, joy, kindness, gentleness, goodness, self-control and patience. Even in moments and seasons of wilderness and great testing these things will emerge strong in who you are and all you say and do.

“He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

– Jim Elliot

We cannot build anything that is eternally relevant without the foundation of character. It matters little how gifted and talented we are, how spiritual and successful we become, if we lose sight of the most basic fundamentals of Christian living – the very things that differentiate us from all else.

Some of us want to be good/Godly not because it’s the right thing to be/do but because of what we think we’ll get out of it. Whether it’s the ticket to heaven and eternal life, a somewhat more material version of blessing on earth, or the fulfillment of your deepest desires, we’re not pursuing godliness out of our love for God. It’s a means to an end.

So when someone else on a different path seems to be getting to their end faster and with less trouble, we find ourselves questioning whether the path we’re on is really worthwhile.

We need learn how to do the right thing because it’s the right thing; not based on what we’ll get out of it. Otherwise our motivation ends up for sale to the highest bidder who can best convince us they have the best deal to offer; and our definition of right and wrong becomes blurred on the scale of benefit to self.

I look at the kingdom of the God who lives in me and I see reasons – quiet, unassuming, yet strong and steadfast reasons – why I need to pursue God’s heart all the more. Why even when I falter and fail, I need to catch my breath, get back up and keep moving forward. Why in the moments when I find myself despairing at the state of the world in me and around me, I can lean all the more on Him and trust in the goodness of His heart.

Yes, Scripture and human history have shown us terrible times that make us question humanity. But in the midst of it all, like the brightest of stars in the darkest of nights, shines the heart and hand of God working through a handful of men and women who dared to believe for something better and gave their lives for it.

You need only look up and look deep to see. Some of their stories abound in Hebrews 11.

Then you need to look within to realize your role and mandate is crucial.

The baton is in our hands.

May we faithfully run our race.

 

Pray:

As a believer, is God pleased with who you are when people are watching and who you are when they’re not? Ask Him to show you where you need to make some changes.

 

Take Action:

If you were to intentionally cultivate the fruit of the Holy Spirit – love, peace, joy, kindness, gentleness, goodness, self-control and patience – what would your everyday life look like?

That is what you need to go do.

Because that’s how you change the world one person at a time.

Christian Business

Workplace Evangelism

As a Christian, spreading the gospel is a common charge we’re given constantly. Rightfully so, as part of our mandate as believers is to share God’s love with those around us.

What was missing for me for many years was the how of it. I understood the need to evangelize. But I didn’t have a clue how to practically go about it. Beyond the cookie cutter templates that are sometimes given, what would it look like for me – an introvert working in a high pressure, super secular environment – to share Jesus.

The unfortunate reality is that Christianity comes with baggage for many people. Just because your faith has been a great experience for you, doesn’t make it so for everyone else. As I started out in the marketplace I quickly realized I was in desperate need of God’s help if I was to love people the way He wanted me to.

I’ve found that we tend to practice lottery evangelism. We preach the gospel out of fear that we’ll be held accountable for saying nothing if the person we’re with dies shortly after and goes to hell. So we throw Jesus’ name out there with the hope that something will stick on someone at some point. Sometimes, by the sheer grace of God, it does work. Other times, it’s a bust.

But what then is the point of having the Holy Spirit if we cannot engage His help in a critical component of our Christianity like sharing the gospel?

I love the example set by Jesus throughout His ministry years. He was being pulled from all sides yet He was intentional in spending time with people. He sat with them, spoke with them, listened to them, prayed over them. While some of the encounters were brief, they did not lack in impact because when He showed up, He was 100% present as God and man.

This is (a small part of) what God taught me to do:

Listen

Can you really care for that which you are completely ignorant of? Get to know people. Really know them. Not just who they are but why they are. People will surprise you. They’re human beings, not projects. It’s okay to say I don’t know and I don’t understand either when the hard questions inevitably come up. No believer, however mature, has it all figured out when it comes to God and Christianity. We’re all growing as we go. They need to know that as much as you do.

Learn

Lean into the Holy Spirit and follow His lead. Learn when to speak up and when to shut up. Know that your actions will always be louder than your words. People aren’t stupid. They can see you preaching water while you’re drinking wine.

Even where you can get away with faking it in front of people, you won’t get far in the realms of the spirit. You can only be as impactful in the natural as your integrity holds in the spirit. In a war that is more spirit than it is flesh and blood, only those with legitimate power and authority truly have a say and get their way.

Love

Graciously. Extravagantly. We are called to speak the truth. How often we forget the how. IN LOVE.

Speak the truth IN LOVE.

Not to justify yourself.

Not to prove that you’re right and they’re wrong (aka going straight to hell).

Not in some misguided self-righteous attempt to defend God and His name.

Speak the truth IN LOVE.

Love demands there be wisdom in how it is expressed.

You cannot rebuke that which you have not invested in.

If you have not taken time to invest in someone’s life, you’re going to have an uphill battle trying to speak into them.

 

The Gospel of Jesus was ever always centered on Love – on Him who doesn’t just love but is Love incarnate. It should be spread with love not out of some misconstrued fears and assumptions.

Jesus relied on the guidance of the Father and the Holy Spirit even though He was still God during His time on earth. How much more we need the Trinity as fallible believers who even with the best of intentions can often get evangelism wrong.

Our workplaces and workmates need Jesus. Without question. Let’s trust in God to show us how to bring Him in. Let’s submit to the wisdom and counsel He gives us for different situations and seasons. Let’s be brave to say and do that which He calls us to.