Ministry or Business? by Gerald Chester

Ministry or Business? by Gerald Chester September 16, 2011

This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens—no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground. (Genesis 2:4–5 NIV)

How many professing Christians struggle with the question: Ministry or business?

This question generally arises when a person has a profound encounter with God, which so moves the person that he or she feels compelled to commit his or her life to God. For most, this means “full-time Christian ministry,” such as missions, the pastorate, evangelism, or Bible teaching. The implication is that any other vocation would not be true ministry because it is not spiritual. But is this true?

God is a spirit being (John 4:24) and creator of everything (Genesis 1:1). Because God is the source of everything, then everything is rooted in spiritual reality. This means that the tangible physical world and work in that world are rooted in spiritual reality. Therefore work in the physical world is a spiritual activity.

In Scripture, the first reference to work is in Genesis 2:5 (see above). The Hebrew word used is abad and is commonly translated in this text as work or till. The text is referring to farmwork.

The word abad is found 254 times in Scripture. In the Psalms it is translated serve (Psalms 2:11) and worship (Psalms 100:2). In Proverbs 12:11 and 28:19, it is translated work in reference to stewarding the assets that God has given you. The synthesis is that a biblical view of work is rooted in serving and worshipping God through performing physical tasks such as farming.

Physical work is therefore valuable to God. It is a way that we serve and worship Him. Since the word minister means “to serve,” work in the physical world is then a way to minister.

So the question of ministry or business is an invalid question. Christians should not think of work as disconnected from ministry. Work in the physical world is a valid and valued vocational calling. Whatever work you are called to do is your ministry and is a way that you serve and worship the Lord.

Here is your business tip. To build an excellent organization, you must build with those who are called to be part of your organization. People who are called to the workplace and are mature in Christ will find their assigned work and view their work as a way to serve and worship God. They recognize that they are ministers assigned by God to the workplace. Such people will deliver excellent value propositions and serve customers exceedingly well. As a result, they will glorify God in all they do because they understand that their work is a primary part of their ministry.

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