Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Integrating Ministry & Marketplace (Part 1)

As mentioned before, the bivocational life is hard work.

Early mornings, long days, rough nights…if you wear multiple hats and juggle multiple jobs, no question, you know the drill.

Yet, while it may be easy to fall into survival, ‘just get it done’ mode, truth is: we were never meant to live this way.

Yeah, I get how compartmentalization can center the gravity of focus…and how a ‘one step at a time’ approach can break busy days into doable, bite-sized moments.

But as I wrote about a few months back, if everyone is worshipping something, then everyone is ministering something. Therefore, when we examine this truth in light of Jesus’ ministry, we find the marketplace can be just as much a hub of powerful, life-changing ministry as the church1.

Let’s look at Matthew 21:12-17

After Jesus kicks off the triumphal entry (v. 1-11), note the first place he goes (i.e. the temple - v. 12) and the reason he goes there (i.e. to cleanse it).

I don’t know about you, but when I consider the fact Jesus deliberately went to the temple to make its original intent known to the marketplace leaders (as opposed to simply stopping for a cup of coffee and the ‘Daily Jerusalem’)…that speaks to me.

Granted, Jesus channels his inner Adele for time, turning tables and all (v. 12b), but the key here isn’t so much Jesus reacting in frustration as much as Jesus setting things right, being fearlessly intentional in speaking truth and breathing life into what had become a lifeless environment.

So while this passage reference may seem random, when we talk about what pastoral ministry in the marketplace looks like…and how to rightfully use our spiritual gifts in similar arenas, I believe there’s important application to be found.

First off, to be an effective marketplace minister, we must be courageous and purposeful with the truth. Yes, we can be highly skilled with the gifts God has given us; yes, we can be articulate, persuasive, and emit confidence, but if what we’re divinely given is utilized with limited integrity, it’s like trying to build a sturdy structure on sinkhole-prone soil.

Secondly, when we ‘selah’ on what grieved Jesus most, we deduce how wise marketplace leaders understand the time and place to deal with financial affairs as they understand the difference between a love for money and a love for God who provides the money2 (more on this in future posts).

And finally, when we consider Jesus straight up calls the temple “my house(v. 13 - “My house will be called a house of prayer…”), we find a) confirmation of God’s view of marketplace as an extension of sanctuary and b) the value in declaring God’s original design over an establishment He intended for our good.

In this case, Jesus calls the temple a “house of prayer” so the truth of its purpose3 (i.e. a place of dwelling, influence, and vertical communication) could be known…while setting the stage for his healing ministry by empowering the spiritually/physically impaired to better know that purpose (v. 14).

I-Was-There-at-the-Temple-ImageHence, it should be no surprise to see a completely transformed temple by the time Jesus peaces out in v. 17.

Bottom line: when we reflect on how Jesus integrated his ministry and spiritual gifts into the marketplace, we see…
  1. Jesus was intentional (in going to the temple courts)…
  2. Jesus was bold with the truth and how he handled conflict…
  3. Jesus lived out the identity he declared over the temple…
  4. Jesus loved at every opportunity…
Thus, I submit if we’re going to thrive in employing our spiritual gifts in our areas of business, we must be willing to live on purpose, be bold with the truth, pray without ceasing, be the change we long for…and most importantly…love at all cost, at all times.

Next time, I’ll look to build upon this foundation with more specifics, more real-life application, but for now, if any of this hits home with you (or if you want to add a point to the list above), feel free to comment below. And as always, if you have a prayer request/praise report, you’re more than welcome to drop us a line.

‘Til then, may you find peace and joy in abundance as you go about your week…

~ Cameron

Footnotes
  1. Sure, the church may be the heart of the operation, but what’s to say the marketplace can’t be the hands and feet?
  2. Seriously…how often are good leaders corrupted by sneaky, under-the-table, ‘will do anything to get an advantage’ maneuvers? More than we’d like to admit, right?
  3. As well as His authority
Photo creds: gospelmovements.org (edited by Cameron Fry) & lds.net

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

No comments: