The consecration and surrender of one’s business to the Lord. Implementing His principles of righteousness in the workplace, despite the tough challenges. Living a life and managing a company that is worthy of the calling He has placed on us. Equipping fellow Christian Business Owners in a community that will spread Jesus’ word in the marketplace. Supporting and serving one another in love, humility, truth, and transparency, as guided by the Holy Spirit.
Those were the learnings that we took to heart, when we attended the first Face-to-Face Business as Mission (BAM) Fellowship in Davao last March 4. There were about 100 of us Christian Business Owners, joined by pastors and leaders who filled the Acacia Hotel Davao in Davao City. All of us were spurred to attend by a genuine desire to worship the Lord, discover His will for our lives, and walk in obedience to His will, including our business.
Leading us in prayer with a short but encouraging exhortation was Pastor Collen Lo, Shepherding Pastor of BAM Philippines. There were two main speakers who blessed us with their teachings and their testimony: Matthew Kok, Chairman, of the Business as Mission (BAM) Thrust CEFC, Singapore; and Amen Say, a Business Owner in the Distribution Industry.
Afterward, we participated in a panel discussion with both leaders who were joined by the following Christian Business Owners: Andrew Chua; Richard Tan and his wife Cathy Tan, and John Gaisano Jr. Moderating the discussion were Arch. Daniel Lim and Lucy Gwee, who is known for her work in International Strategy and Business Development from Singapore. Ian Co delivered the welcome remarks.
How Christian Business Owners can serve God
Can we truly serve God and yet have successful companies? Is there a common ground where the practical need to make profits can meet with the passion to build His Kingdom?
Bro. Matthew addressed those lingering questions, first saying that a business must be profitable; otherwise, it is not a business. Yet he also added that without a moral compass and the fear of the Lord, profit becomes the Christian Business Owners’ sole driver and motivation---removing or reducing their focus on God.
He emphasized what sets apart businesses of Christian Business Owners from secular ones: the purpose of God in business is partnering with Him to present the Gospel, so the lost will come to know our Lord and Savior. Everything else---profit, prestige, expansion---is a by-product.
Bro. Matthew also described how God’s purpose for business is very different from the ruthless, stressful rat race many business owners are used to. Doing God’s way means being caring and industrious, allowing us to have time with our families while taking care of the poor and others around us.
Bro. Amen also exhorted us to always keep in mind the calling God has for us, and let it not be buried by the need to make money. He reminded us that God has assigned good works for us to do. We should always ask ourselves if we are indeed walking in the journey He wants for us, or are we pursuing the things the world tempts us to chase, e.g. a new car that we may not even need.
Christian Business Owners: sharing God's light to the world
We also learned that consecrating our business to the Lord is a life-changing experience---and one that brings a closer intimacy in our walk with Him as Christian Business Owners.
Bro. Richard spoke of God’s calling in his life and his company, and the divine faithfulness that came with it. He shared that before he came to know the Lord, business was just about making money.
However, when the Lord called him back, He changed his heart and made him understand that everything belongs to God, and not him. However, doing business the Lord’s way will also assure him that the business will be successful. Bro. Richard said that, after these many years of doing God’s business His way, his business has been doing well.
His wife Sis. Cathy affirmed this testimony, describing how following God empowered them to share His word and bring the people they work with to the Lord. Through His guidance, her and Bro. Richard’s company now dedicates several hours a day to Bible study, worshipping the Lord, and praying in the morning, at lunchtime, and before going home.
Bro. Andrew also shared that doing business God’s way can be a difficult but ultimately rewarding decision. Obeying God in faith means compliance with all government rules and regulations, paying the right wages, and holding accurate bookkeeping. God helps the Christian Business Owners to implement righteousness in their operations.
Christian Business Owners: honoring God as stewards
As Christian Business Owners, we face a dozen decisions every day. We meet challenges that we have to solve. We have goals we need to reach. Pastor Collen put it all in perspective when he encouraged us by saying that we are not alone. At the same time, every act we do should have the blessing of the true Business Owner, the Lord Jesus.
Pastor Collen acknowledged that we business people need support in all our activities, especially in strengthening ourselves against worldly practices that do not conform to the will of God. He also advised us to always ask ourselves this question: “Is this what God wants us to do?”
At the end of the fellowship, we felt encouraged to go deeper in our walk with the Lord. To understand how He sees businesses and our roles in them. We are but His stewards, and He is the Owner of our businesses, and everything we do should glorify Him. It is a divine honor that we are privileged to fulfill.
As Bro. Andrew said, following Jesus Christ in business takes time and practice. But He loves and cares for us. He understands our weakness and wants to strengthen us from faith to faith.
There will be MORE learnings and teachings as the BAM’s First Asia Conference draws near this October at Shangri-La, The Fort, Manila. If you want to know more about the First Asia Conference, click here.