Are You Called to Business? (Part 1)
In my early adult years, I felt that my role as a Christian businessman was largely limited to:
- Earning money to fund my local church and the para-church organizations which were involved heavily in the work of the ‘ministry.’
- To be a person of integrity and someone who lived the Christian values rather than talk about them.
While both of these Christian values are valid, they are only a small portion of the role that we can have in the business world.
But perhaps the biggest problem of all was I felt that I was not in “real ministry”! How wrong I was!
I often felt what I called the “ministry itch” or the desire to serve God in some capacity greater than what I was doing in the workforce. I had fallen into the classic trap of the “secular vs. sacred-divide mentality. This is the false idea that being in full-time vocational ministry was somehow godlier than being in business. This is a dangerous view that has been lingering for centuries and remains today. The Church has done little to change the idea that business doesn’t rank as a noble calling. After all, turn on your TV and listen to the latest report regarding a CEO who “cooked the books,” or bribed a foreign government. Business has a bad reputation, good news doesn’t sell and you don’t hear the fabulous stories of businesses transforming their communities.
ARE YOU “CALLED TO BUSINESS”?
I believe that being in business is a “calling.” It is no better or worse than being in other types of ministry. Business is exactly that—a ministry. If business is your calling, then it is also your ministry.
I only wish I’d discovered this earlier. So strong was my urge to do “some” ministry that I even enrolled in Bible college twice!! For what it’s worth, I am glad that I never became a pastor; not because it is not a great kingdom role, but because I realised it is not what God was asking me to do.
My calling is to business. Perhaps its yours too?
When I finished high school I went to university. On a part-time basis, for a bit of extra income, I formed a business with some friends in my parent’s shed. We coached school children in organising themselves and studying properly. The business went by the name “Studywell.” My best source of leads was my mother, who would tell all the other mothers of my fabulous coaching services! I actually had a few customers, but alas it did not last. It did however, give me a taste, albeit a small one, of the world of entrepreneurship.
After completing university, I went into the workforce full-time and spent the next 8 years in a variety of advisory roles, both as a stockbroker and a financial planner. As a side note, don’t take advice from 21-year-old stockbrokers! Do you think it is wise to entrust your savings to someone who has been in the workforce for less than a year or two? No way! Thankfully, I worked for Australia’s oldest stockbroking firm (at the time 125 years old) which had survived by being conservative and doing the right thing. So, I was not a danger to my customers!
At age 29, I resigned and took the risk of setting up my own financial planning business. As it turned out, quitting my job was the best career decision I ever made. To that point, I had “chopped and changed” [do you have an alternative expression aside frm is one?] (how about something about me being restless) and was never really satisfied. Running my own business gave me a new-found freedom, increased earning potential (and actual earnings), and ultimately, it gave me a capital payout when I sold my business at age 37. This enabled me to spend time creating Wealth with Purpose and to pursue other ventures.
So let me ask you – do you believe God is calling you to business? Not only is it a noble calling, but one where you can have a significant impact on advancing God’s kingdom. I’d go out on a limb and say that the marketplace is the future of evangelism!
Don’t fall for the lie that you need to be in vocational ministry in order to truly serve God. God has given you gifts, skills and desires that he may have directly intended for you to use in the business world!