There was a constant reminder growing up: “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt 26:41). Then there are the images of Christ who looked emaciated, weak, skinny, and had sunken eyes. Alternatively, that He was with children, baby lambs, and the poor and downtrodden. Now add to these thoughts that we’re to “turn the other cheek” (Matt 5:39) and “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE” (Jas 4:6). These are various reminders of how we’re to talk in a loud whisper to others to show how humble we are. Lastly, most of these images and words seem to focus on His three-year ministry. However, does this give us a complete representation of how we are to be Christ-like in the marketplace?
Jesus also stood up against injustice and wrongdoing in the Jewish community. He stood up against the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem for their corruption during His three years of ministry (Matt 23). However, in all of our words and imagery, we fail to include His God-given strengths and about 18 years as an apprentice and “general contractor” craftsman from about age 12 to 30. He was a craftsman in stone, wood, and possibly even in metal. We fail to include in our words and images how He dealt with others, such as vendors and clients and the general population as a businessman.
We don’t discuss/display His God-given strengths and talents in business in the marketplace.
However, we need to discuss, learn, and apply how He followed the 613 commandments in His business dealings. Such as beginning with the Ten Commandments of not bearing false witness, stealing, or even coveting the property and intellectual property in the Old Testament. About 70-80 percent of His parables in the New Testament deal with business issues. Where are the images of Jesus discussing a new building project with an architect and a group of men (Luke 14:28-29, “build a tower”); discussing labor relations with His daily hires (Matt 20:1-16); or Him discussing various investment amounts with others based on each of their entrepreneurial abilities in the parable of the talents (Matt 25:14-30)? Jesus is our business model, but where does that leave you, the startup entrepreneur or businessman, woman, or teenager, with encouragement to continue in the marketplace?
What are your strengths... Notice Jesus in the parable of the talents discussed the master giving more investment money to the ones who had the most significant abilities to be productive. We can’t ignore that the master invested in all of them, so no one is without having an investment in their business. After the master went over their business financials, two of the slaves were congratulated and given a promotion. Where are those images and words in our discussions and the marketplace in church?
Here’s the foundational basis for your God-given talents in the marketplace
Eph 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Now let’s say you do not have a good singing voice; in fact, you can’t carry a tune in a wet paper bag. Now I tell you that you’re going to have to sing at Carnegie Hall with New York Philharmonic Orchestra behind you to a sold-out crowd. How would you feel when the audience voices its displeasure and begins booing at you? Not much joy in doing that, is there? No pleasure for either of you, it would be downright soul-sucking for you and the crowd.
… and who will you serve? Now, what if you did have the talent of a great singing voice (like Jonathan and Charlotte in Britain’s Got Talent 2012)? You’d probably get up every day and do those things all day long and when you went to bed at night, you couldn’t wait to do it all over again. What would your level of joy be? Now imagine other people’s and God’s pleasure with you performing what He created you to do in serving others? Can you imagine building up everyone, you, your clients, God, all encouraged by your singing?
That is your purpose, depending on your strengths and where to put them to use. It is to build up others and glorify God. When you find out your many advantages, you need to ask next: Whom will I serve?
Your career has been mapped out by God based on the God-given talents you were born with and the spiritual gift(s) you got at the moment of our salvation. When we find out and thoroughly understand deep within our soul that we’re “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psal 139:14) and how we’re to put to use our many talents, not give them away, only then do we know how it looks?
Rom 15:1-2 Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.
We’re to use all of our talents in service to others who are weak in what we do. To build up their lives just as we build up and develop ours by doing good deeds. Moreover, when you have developed those talents over time, then something magical happens at some future point.
Prov 22:29 Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.
So how do you begin this new journey?
- Find out your God-given strengths. Strength Finder 2.0 book and web site are a good start.
- Find someone’s weakness which needs your strengths. Then come alongside and serve them. When you serve them, you raise your happiness in doing what you are called to do and their joy at the results with what you have done. Then God is pleased with all of the good constructive results, too.
When you answer both of those questions, you have your purpose established; the final decision is now yours.
Prov 16:3 AMPC Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.