Recently while listening to some of our pastor’s sermon archives he mentioned that for the church to matter 10 generations from now two keys will be:
- Remaining low before the Lord.
- Open to what is next.
I’ve become fairly infatuated with processing thoughts and principles that are taught specifically in the context of church and testing which can be directly applied to business as a Christ follower as well.
Particularly the deeper & more meaningful theological truths. Of course we need to smile, to present ourselves well, to provide a quality product, to keep our word, to be diligent, to show up, to believe in ourselves, to think right, etc.
There is a whole host of collective thoughts around how basic Christian principles are good for business -at least the capitalistic version we have today -but if you’ve read one you’ve likely read them all.
But what about what was said above; remaining low before the Lord, and open to what is next. If that’s important for a church to not only survive but matter for the Lord 200 years from now do they directly apply to my business as well? To yours?
The ‘open to what is next’ is a shoe-in. That’s a lock, a given. But it also applies to anyone’s business, whether that business is even trying to honor God or not.
Which leads to another issue: It’s time for our businesses, our work, to be affected by our faith. It’s 90% of what we do, yet we’re quick to just ‘roll into another day’ reserving consideration for how God actually wants to be glorified in our lives for the nights and weekends.
Yet again, we initiate thought about how we must remember to be more honest, better stewards, drop God’s name at every opportunity, conjure up the courage to witness at just the right time, start our meetings with prayer, and post verses about the office. Me, me, me.
Slow down for one minute.
God is not wringing His hands, standing by with baited breathe, hoping to accomplish His purposes, yet powerless without our careful & consistent obedience.
It’s much, much, greater than that. It’s better than that.
The Gospel is good news after all. It’s alive, powerful, and beautiful. It’s restorative and redemptive, not dis-heartening and shaming.
When we glorify God and enjoy Him the most, we have the most joy.
We get to obey Him. To glorify Him. To make much of Him. To even play a part in His purposes is a tremendous thought!
So how do we operate out of that mindset? How do we bring that kind of faith to our work? How do we run our businesses with that kind of joyous, glad, hopeful, unrestricted, beautiful, God-honoring abandon?
We can see it will certainly include remaining low before the Lord. It’s clearly going to need to be about Him, not us.
When we remain low before the Lord with our businesses (or work) we’ll notice:
A certain (healthy) disconnect.
In a good way. We’ll learn, we’ll try hard, we’ll give it our best. We’ll test, we’ll tidy, we’ll tighten processes up. We’ll venture, take risks, and make mistakes.
But if it fails, if it struggles, or if it just doesn’t pan out like we planned we’ll be ok.
We are low before the Lord and we realize we are but clay in the potter’s hands. We realize what is big for us is small at best for our Father, what seems too painful to endure for us is merely an opportunity at best for the creator, sustainer, and healer of all things.
We realize we really couldn’t bring less, yet matter more.
And as such we’ll play with gusto, yet not be moved if the ground is shaken.
It always was about more than just money.
The Lord can, and does, use money that is generated from ‘Christian’ businesses and given away with a cheerful heart. But if we think our “Christian” money is our big difference maker, our great gift to mankind, we’re deceived.
Think about the economics for a second. ‘Our’ (christian, believer-generated) money -the money God can use- (don’t kid yourself) will always only have comparative value. As in, ‘christian money’ vs ‘non-christian money’, at that particular point in history. This is how currency works. $20 means a simple meal to us today, yet farms could be purchases for the same not too long ago.
Inflation, disinflation, deflation, stagflation, reflation…what is our money worth anyway? It’s worth what we consider it to be at that point in time. So our money will aways only have comparative value.
I can promise you we’re currently losing that battle. Imagine how many profitable, well-run christian businesses it currently takes to create the same economic value as one small, corner division of Facebook. For example.
The point is not that our money doesn’t matter, it does. Our work matters, it generates money, we can glorify God with it’s wise use. And many, many do.
But let’s be careful about feeling too important with our ‘christian’ money. It was always about more than just money.
The power of sanctification.
Sanctification is real, it’s powerful, and it never stops. If you think about it, it’s really one of the great wonders and privileges of our lives. The process of becoming more like Christ. Wow!!
Note: We don’t start with sanctification, we start with justification. Justification can’t be added to, developed, or improved upon. Justification is not of ourselves. Christ alone can justify, or make us righteous. Sanctification can only matter after justification and as such can only bring conviction, joy and hope. Never guilt, shame and hopelessness. Sanctification before justification is a waste and will make you miserable always.
When we remain low before the Lord with our very business we see that through the highs, the lows, the successes, the failures, the mess-ups, the mishaps, the victories and valleys, that God is present; He cares, and is always at work molding us and shaping us to be more like His Son, Jesus.
That will preach. And that will get you through.
Our desires are different.
When we’re low before the Lord our desires will be different. This is an equation. You can take this to the bank.
I can promise you one thing, I’m the worst at this. So many times upon inspection I’ve found my desires to not be of the Lord.
When we’re low before the Lord we’ll want the things of the Lord. When we’re not, we don’t.
Here’s a prayer worth praying: Lord, grant me not the desires of my heart, but grant my heart your desires.
I don’t have much to add to this, but I suspect it to be true. Our God is a God of peace, love, holiness, mercy, & hope.
This has to apply to our work, our businesses.
We need it to.
May we remain low before the Lord and open to what is next.
Our work might just matter 200 years from now.