We should serve God in the marketplace
October 9, 2019
Here’s my hot take for the day, which I will defend below: One of the best ways to serve the kingdom of God is to start a business.
Offer goods or services that people will willingly part with their money to receive. Turn a profit. Glorify God.
We’ve been taught to think in terms of overtly religious service as the best, highest, or only way to serve the kingdom. That’s all great stuff, of course, but Christians in the West used to understand that any honorable service to the wider community, performed with a heart full of faith toward God, is, in fact, service rendered to the Lord himself.
Whatever your calling is, do that as unto the Lord.
Generations ago, we knew this included a calling as a business owner. Who has bewitched your minds to think there’s something evil about making a profit? It wasn’t Jesus. That’s for sure.
Without profits, nobody gets paid. Without profits, businesses close down and leave empty buildings behind. Whatever product that business used to offer can now only be had with greater difficulty. Muse on that, the next time you cruise down the Boulevard or downtown in Tucumcari and remember what used to be sold in all the empty places.
As one preacher from long ago used to say, the Christian shoe-maker does not serve Christ by sewing little crosses into all his shoes. He serves Christ by making the best shoes he possibly can.
Young person, you are not faced with a choice between serving God as an adult, or, on the other hand, capitalizing on your gifts, talents, abilities, etc. Do the latter, and you will accomplish the former. Be bold. Take courage. Step out in faith. Add value to your neighbor’s life, and he’ll be happy to add money to yours.
I’ve been selling things online for years and this is indisputable: When you sell something that customers see as valuable, you’ll sell more of that, and less of the other stuff. This isn’t complicated.
When a business owner takes a risk on you, young person, by hiring you, see that as your opportunity to serve Christ. Maybe your boss doesn’t speak or act like Jesus, but you should. He said he came to serve, not to be served.
Show up when you’re supposed to. Be on time. Try to do what you’re told. Those are not terribly high bars to cross, but I guarantee that if you do, your boss will think she’s being blessed by heaven. Even if she doesn’t, God will notice your faithfulness in small things and eventually grant you larger things.
Not long ago, I became curious about the phrase, “the pursuit of happiness,” which appears as a basic right in the Declaration of Independence. My research turned up the fact that it had a fairly common usage at the time. Basically, it meant what I’m talking about here, that the wider community is always better off when individuals are free to pursue their callings.
Serve the Lord by serving your neighbors. Do business and enjoy the fruits of your labor with a clear conscience.
Gordan Runyan is the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Tucumcari. Contact him at: