My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
What is the purpose of marketplace ministry? What is God’s main intention in planting us in the neighborhoods, schools, or jobs that we find ourselves in? In this series, we have been tearing down the sacred/secular wall that has hindered our progress as citizens of God’s Kingdom on earth. Realizing that every second of our lives and everything we do are under the purview of God’s Kingdom, it should encourage us to pursue God’s intent even concerning our employment.
Mainstream contemporary thought on the purpose of marketplace ministry would purport that its main goal is evangelistic in nature. This would be logical, given that 2 Peter 3:9 characterizes God as our ever patient Sovereign who desires that all should come to repentance instead of perishing. Others may assert that the overarching goal of marketplace ministry is to be excellent in the marketplace as a service unto the Lord. I would not disagree with the main premise of this notion in itself, as long as our intention is not to simply maintain the status quo of the systems we work in.
I would however like to offer a different perspective on the main goal of marketplace ministry. Could it be that God’s plan is to simply provide irrefutable evidence in the most public spaces of his Sovereignty, which would give every person and system the ability to clearly choose or reject his Lordship? God’s desire is that all would come to salvation, yet he also allows people to willfully reject the gift of salvation. Likewise, Matthew 7:23 shows us that good excellent works detached from true submission to Christ are classified as “iniquitous”. Therefore I believe that God’s design for marketplace ministry is to have vessels strategically planted to demonstrate his power. Daniel, Esther, and Joseph demonstrated God’s power in obvious and evidentiary ways. This did not always result in a change of lifestyle in their colleagues, but it did lead to an acknowledgement that their God had all power. They were faithfully serving God with all they had, everywhere they went, which equipped them to exhibit God’s power in some of the world’s darkest hours. In essence they were ready for the big reveal.
The saying “actions speak louder than words” rings true for me, especially in the context of marketplace ministry. I believe Paul was partially acknowledging this fact when he penned 1 Corinthians 2:4-5. He asserts that it was demonstration of God’s power through him, as opposed to the wisest of eloquent words that produced long lasting results in his ministry. Centuries earlier, in the age of astrologers, diviners, and magicians, it was not Daniel’s words that arrested the world’s attention, but rather his unprecedented survival of the lion’s den. Earlier still, it had to be extremely hard to refute the power and wisdom of God after Joseph successfully articulated Pharaoh’s dream and established a system that saved both Egypt and Israel from near extinction.
Breaking down the sacred/secular wall that we constructed, allows God’s power to flow into every space of our lives and prepares us for the big reveals that he has planned in the marketplace. You are planted where you are for more than evangelism and excellent works; you were built to defy the odds and limitations that the marketplace has. You were meant to demonstrate God’s power and Sovereignty in the earth, change the system, and prove that God is indeed God.
People will make their own decisions on whether they will yield to God’s power and his gift of salvation, but that is not your call to make. Your success in marketplace ministry is not measured by how many souls are saved, but rather by how yielded you are in these places where God has placed you to show forth his glory. It is time for you to unashamedly be who God called you to be, and trust him to deliver you to the place of destiny that he has orchestrated for your life!
God, our minds are renewed in you. We are stirred to the remembrance of your power and of your plans for our lives. We invite you to have your way in our lives. Use us to show forth your glory. Demonstrate your power through us. We yield totally and completely to you. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary: Moral Guidance (Matthew 7)
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