Why do we need business people in mission?
Connected to prayer
This article was first featured alongside our Prayer Diary in April 2017. You can download the April 2017 prayer points here or sign-up to receive future editions by post or email.
We asked a creative access worker to talk about why it is important to have business people engaged in mission and how she and her husband use their business to share the gospel.
In a world where the people least engaged with the gospel are increasingly in volatile countries that are hostile to the cross, we must still obey Jesus and make disciples of all nations. Before we are missionaries or business gurus, we are those who belong to and obey Jesus. Perhaps the most common question we receive from strangers is, “Why are you here?” A young man plainly told my husband, “You can make more money in other places. It must be your faith that holds you here.” My husband is undeniably a successful businessman, but before and beyond that, he is a disciple of Jesus who loves to declare the gospel!
Our Muslim neighbours respect obedience to God as a valid reason for moving countries. Government officials, however, care more about the blessing we bring to the economy. We have seen social change: local employees putting their children in better schools, moving their families into respectable neighbourhoods, or getting cars. But we long for much more than these temporal things! Work is an offering of worship and going to work puts us into the same rhythm of life as our neighbours. Fathers come home from work at similar hours and are free to study the Word. Mothers are comfortable to visit, knowing the men are out of the house and we can (literally) let down our hair, share life and speak of the hope of Jesus.
Believing immigrants have had passports taken and have been held without cause for days. Some have escaped; others have caught boats across the sea; some were killed. Blessing* has lived here for years with her husband and two children. They faithfully attend the foreign church and are a part of the evangelistic team. She visits non-believers and helps new mums. One day in a taxi, she noticed a crucifix being hidden quickly by the Arab driver. She nudged her husband and asked him to question the driver. He refused at first, but because of her insistence, finally asked the driver why he had it. “Because I like it,” was the reply. Blessing wasn’t satisfied. “There must be a reason,” she persisted. The driver warned, “Shhh, we can get in trouble for things like this.” Blessing is certain there are many secret believers and her gift of evangelism is unquenchable.
* NAMES CHANGED FOR SECURITY
We are grateful that Jesus has placed the lost in daily contact with employees and colleagues who are unashamedly Christian. One local employee asked my husband to meet her fiancé to see if he approved. After talking with him, my husband had some reservations and told the women in the office about how husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave his life for her. She broke off the engagement. Another local employee has begun to bless people in Jesus’ name. My husband explained that Jesus is more than a prophet, that he is the Saviour and Redeemer, and the employee said, “I know. That’s why I say it.”
Life as Discipleship
But, not all of the hungry are employees! Men and women receive visions or read the Word online and look for someone to answer their questions. Discipleship is a part of our professional work hours but is not limited to them. Paul says, “We worked night and day… We did this in order to make ourselves a model for you to imitate” (2 Thessalonians 3:8-9). Each new believer will be a new proclaimer of the gospel, and will still need to feed his family. We do not want all the new disciples to quit their jobs and expect the newly emerging local church to feed them. Our professional identity allows us to model working and witnessing simultaneously.
May we joyfully work as worship to the Lord, as an integral part of life, blessing the community, and as a model to the emerging proclaiming church.