God and the Marketplace
Is God interested in the marketplace?
Does he care about the public arena, about the world of work?
Many Christians seem to operate on the everyday assumption that God is not or at least that he is not interested in the marketplace for its own sake.
God, it would seem, cares about the church and its affairs, about getting people to heaven, but not about how society and its public places are conducted on earth.
The result can be a rather dichotomized Christian life in which we invest most of our time that matters – our working lives in a place and a task that we think does not really matter much to God, while struggling to find opportunities to give some leftover time to the only thing we think does matter to God: evangelism & church.
However, the Bible clearly and comprehensively, in both testaments, portrays God as intensely interested in the human marketplace—interested, involved, in charge, and intentional.
Work is God’s idea. Genesis 1-2 give us our first picture of God as a worker—thinking, choosing, planning, executing, evaluating.
The Bible in Amos 5:12-15 also indicates, God is the independent judge of all that goes on in the marketplace; he is the auditor.
When Jesus entered our world, he didn’t box himself inside the four walls of the synagogue. He walked into the lives of sinners. He touched the lepers. He associated with prostitutes. He dined with heathen. He scandalized the religious community by penetrating the world.
In order for Jesus to reach and rescue the world he had to penetrate it. Likewise, for us to impact and influence the world for Christ we must penetrate it.
Our mandate in the Marketplace
Jesus said on his many parables in Mathews 5:13-16, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by men. You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven”.
We need to radiate God’s love to those around us in the marketplace. That’s why he talked about light. A tiny tungsten filament charged with electrical energy naturally radiates light and dispels darkness. In the same way, true Christians should, by their very nature, radiate something of the work of God in their lives to the people around them.
“Let your light shine!” this is a commanded from Jesus not a request. There is no option of letting our worlds remain in undisturbed blackness. No option of choosing to limit our candlepower, to refuse to shine our lights. Some of us feel safer securely hidden under a bowl, where we escape the accountability associated with “going public” with our faith. This is forbidden.
We need to spread God’s influence to every corner of this world. It’s not enough that we simply take our lights out of hiding. We are required to put them on a lamp stand where everyone can see them. At your work, whatever it may be, have an attitude that reflects the positive nature of God’s grace on your life.
Many jobs are boring. The marketplace is often a maze of nameless people. Sometimes good employees don’t get recognized and promoted. The woes of layoffs and the threats of mergers and downsizing can be discouraging. But in the midst of less desirable circumstances attitude can transform a boring, thankless job.
What can you do in your work setting to minister and witness to those around you?
Begin each day by consecrating your work place. Dedicate it as a sanctuary to God. Make it a place where God is present and God can work.
We may not be able to do everything, but we can do something. We are called to be holy, which means different or distinctive.