5 checkpoints for work as worship
From an article on Leadership.com.sg
Julian Foe was the former Executive Director of Asia Pacific Retail Institute and currently serves as Board Member of Master's Hand Foundation (a social entrepreneurship program for education & economic empowerment in Indonesia, which also serves special needs community). He co-founded Kingdom Business Community - a vibrant marketplace ministry in Indonesia with more than 6,000 business owners & professionals as its members, devoted to build Kingdom values at work.
He argues that there is no spiritual distinction between serving in the marketplace or doing ministry, as we should treat everything we do as worship to our King:
The conflict between the calling to serve in the marketplace and church ministry has to be clarified. There have been so many people who assume their work is “secular/carnal” while doing ministry in church is “sacred.” The result of this kind of mindset has largely dismantled the ability of Christians in the marketplace to exert positive influence and impact. If God’s redemption extends to all arenas of life, then it is always true that His redemption plan includes work and the marketplace.
There are two myths:
In order to develop my spiritual growth, I have to sacrifice part of my working life. I have to be very focused and serious in building up my spiritual journey in the church, involving myself heavily in church related ministry, and the rest of my time and energy – I spend on work.
If I want to grow my career/business, I have to sacrifice part of my ministry life.
Along the journey, I have learned that I cannot separate work and ministry – my work is actually my ministry. Let’s look at some points that help us reflect on experiencing our work as worship.
1. Purpose. Question: Do I have a God-centred purpose in building my business?
Whether you are a professional or business owner, as long as you are committed to implant God-centred purpose in your work – then you are exercising your work to become a vehicle to worship Him.
S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A, a fast-food chain restaurant in USA, states his company mission: “To glorify God by managing wisely all that God has entrusted, and give a positive impact to everyone related to Chick-fil-A.” Owner of Interstate Batteries, Norm Miller says that their company mission is “to glorify God as we supply our customers worldwide with top quality, value-priced batteries.”
How do you measure success and meaningful business? When was the last time you thought about what is really important and meaningful in your life, and career?
2. Profit. Question: Have I managed my profit wisely and invested it into a Lasting Purpose?
God honours the faithful steward who can manage money wisely (Lk 19:12-27). The purpose of God’s blessing in our work is to assure us that we can enlarge our capacity to give, or say it this way: God’s blessings are not meant to increase your lifestyle, but rather to increase your giving.
For some reason, many of us have failed to invest our profit (income) well because of greed. We use the profit or extra money for building our own pride and kingdom, which leads to problems such as: over-expansion, an unplanned portfolio, investment in businesses that we have no core strength or experience in, “get-rich-quick” schemes of investment and so on.
3. Product. Question: Do I create products and services that glorify God, and bring benefit to others?
When we dare to stand for the truth, the Word of God becomes the yardstick for our business values. The world tempts us to worship everything that can create more money, no matter what kind of products or services are being offered.
Three simple principles to evaluate your existing products or services; is it lawful? (1 Cor 10:23), is it helpful? (1 Cor 10:23), is it peaceful? (Rom 14:19).
Our sincere commitment to provide the best products and services in order to satisfy our customers is another simple act of expressing our worship to God – our Great Creator who only creates the best for mankind.
4. Process. Question: What change needs to be made to align my work process with God’s principles?
The world out there speaks the language of “the bottom line” – more profit at any cost, results orientation over process or even people, and cost-reduction; all of these tactics, if not put into a fair and balanced view, can blind our hearts.
If you are a professional, think about this: when was the last time you thought about efficiency? Do you use the company’s property/facility/assets for things that do not relate to the work policy? In your personal and work life, have you honoured God by honouring other people’s intellectual property? What do you need to change in your work process?
If you are an entrepreneur, think about this: are you paying your supplier on time? Do you negotiate with them fairly or knock them down to the corner side of bargaining? Do you have this mentality: “negotiate as low as you can, pay as late as you can?” Have you thought of practical ways to bless and thank your loyal customers and suppliers? Do you care for them or just their money? What is the one thing you need to do differently in your business process that pleases God’s heart?
God honours the small things that we do in our job, and proper work processes surely will then be a reflection of good corporate governance in any organization; better yet we can learn it from God’s governance.
5. People. Question: How do I treat my colleagues and staff in my role as a shepherd in my office?
Have you heard this statement: “People are our greatest asset!” – and yet the largest portion in the company’s profit does not go into developing this valuable asset. Maybe a more honest approach to say is this: we hardly plan for anything in nurturing the people we work with until the moment they plan to quit.
Let us take some time to mirror ourselves: Do I pay my staff fairly? What did I do to them when they failed to perform? How can I be “an enabler tool” to bring them to the next level? If God is the owner of my business, how will He deal with the difficult people? Build healthy relationships within your company now.
When we recreate our business to become a God-centred business, leveraging our profit into lasting purpose, innovating the best product and services that “wow” the customers, diligently building a sustainable work process, and nurturing the people surrounding us in God’s truth – then we are building a new altar of our work to worship Him in a deeper and meaningful way.
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From an article on Leadership.com.sg, 24/03/2021