Does Business Matter to God?

Derick MasengaleBy Derick Masengale15 Minutes

Excerpt taken from Business as a Calling: Bringing Your Whole Self (Body, Soul, and Spirit) to Work by Derick Masengale


Chapter 1

Does Business Matter to God?

And God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful,
multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all
its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and
have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the
air, and over every living creature that moves upon the
1:28 (AMP)

To begin, let me provide a little background on my story. In 1985 I was in engineering school, and I was funding my education via a lawn maintenance company I started in Tampa, Florida. While that elevator pitch sounded good, if you looked deeper, you would’ve seen that I was failing at both my education and my business. I was living a lifestyle that was undisciplined and not consistent with the Word of God. Consequently, I was struggling in all areas of my life. All the sin I was living in produced the fruit of sin—confusion, lack of vision, failure, and frustration. I was miserable.

One day in the spring of 1985, I finally went to God and said, “Okay, if You are real, I need to know. I’ve tried many things, and none of them seem to work. I need to know if You and the Bible are real.” Within a matter of weeks, God supernaturally placed ministries in my path that presented a message from the Bible that I had never heard before. Their message was that God cared about me, He cared about my success, and they encouraged me to study the Bible for myself to confirm it. As I studied, I found that the Bible was not a book of rules as religion presents it (and how it had been taught to me), but, in fact, it is a book of promises—promises I could base my life decisions on. Over time, as I learned more and made better decisions—decisions based on principles laid out in the Bible—I started to see the results of those decisions manifest positive results in my life: less confusion, a developing vision, and small successes along the way. That proof was all I needed to believe that God and His Word are real and alive. It made me hungry to learn as much as I could about the truths presented in the Bible.

My situation didn’t change overnight; however, my attitude did. It changed from someone who had a very negative outlook on life to someone who could see good possibilities in every situation. I started to expect good things to happen, and little by little, my circumstances changed to the point where many years later, I can call myself a blessed man.

One of the first revelations God provided me was that religious activity and faith are not synonymous. The terms “Christian religion” and “Christian faith” are often used interchangeably in our society today. Yet, as I studied, I found they are, in fact, polar opposites. Religion looks at the Bible as a book of rules we must keep. Faith looks at the Bible as a book of promises we must believe and receive. Religion tells us that if we want God to love and bless us, we must master all kinds of rules and regulations, and if we don’t, God will not be happy with us. Faith tells us that God loves us while we are sinners, and no matter what we’ve done or will do, His love toward us does not change.

We get in a right relationship with God, through grace, by faith in the redemptive work Jesus did at the cross. It is a gift; we can’t earn it. We must take it by faith, just like every other promise in the Word of God. That revelation changed my thinking and perspective forever. I began to see God as a father who loved me, not as one looking to punish me because I didn’t master all the rules. That simple truth was the switch that flipped my attitude and outlook.

I dove into the Word of God to find the promises He made to those who follow Him. I took many of those promises as personal. I saw myself as a child of God and knew it was God’s will to bless me, not because of anything I did, but because of what Jesus did at the cross—His sacrifice. I also found in the Word that God gives all of us specific gifts and talents, and it was my responsibility to work with the Holy Spirit to discover what mine are and to develop them to achieve God’s plan for my life .

Over the years, God has provided several professional opportunities for me to further develop the gifts and talents He provided me and to see God’s hand blessing my work as I developed those gifts. As I continued to learn, I still struggled with the question, “Should I be applying these godly principles and truths to my professional career? Shouldn’t they be applied in a ministry of some kind?” I couldn’t clearly connect what I was doing daily with a higher purpose of ministry. It seemed that whatever ministry was, it should be more than applying the biblical principles to how I performed my job.

I’ve been attending church for more than thirty years now, and I haven’t seen a lot of teaching from the pulpit about what a ministry in the business world looks like. This is not a criticism; it just describes my experience. The times it was discussed, it was in terms of overtly witnessing about Jesus to co-workers. I’d seen many examples of Christians doing that so poorly (more on this later) that I didn’t really want to be associated with it. Quite frankly, I think God has only asked me to do that a handful of times over the years, and the other person always initiated the conversation. I did not just walk up and tell them.

So, I continued to develop my faith and seek success in the business world. In my profession, business and technology consulting, becoming a partner/managing director is a measure of that success and a title that many strive to obtain. However, as I was going through the final steps to become a managing director, I realized the partner/managing director role was not the culmination of what God had for me. It was only the means to something more. As I was approaching that milestone, I spent the months leading up to that promotion in prayer about how God would use me in that role.

One Sunday morning, I got the time mixed up and arrived at church an hour early. To this day, I don’t know how I did that, but it turned out to be a significant waypoint for me in my journey. When I realized I was early, I wandered into the bookstore to pass the time and found a book entitled Every Good Endeavor by Timothy Keller. Keller pastors in New York City, and many Wall Street investors, attorneys, and young professionals attend his church. His book is about ministering to those professionals and how they can have an impact in the business world for Jesus. While I was waiting for the service to start, I read through the first thirty to forty pages and got the sense that this could be where God was leading me. Over the next few months, I read a number of books on the topic, listed on his website, and spent time praying about what to do next.

Eventually, I mustered up the courage to send a note to my pastor, saying, “I think God may be leading me to pull together a class around business being a calling.” I was very hesitant, but he and I had a few discussions, and he encouraged me to pursue the idea. So, I spent the next few months putting together content for a class titled “Does Business Matter to God?” The content for that class turned out to be the basis for this book.

As I started to shape the class, I needed to find God’s view of business in the Bible. If you want to know God’s will for a situation, the first place to start is His Word—the Bible. So, the first question I asked when considering business as a calling was, “What is God’s view of work?” When I looked in the Word of God, I found He commanded man to work. Genesis 2:15 (AMP) states: “And the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and guard and keep it.”

We can see in this scripture that God didn’t put man (the species of man, men and women) in the garden to be passive. He gave man a job when He placed him in the garden: tend the garden and keep it. That takes work. Another key thing we learn when studying Genesis is that God worked. We all know the famous scripture in Genesis 2:2 (AMP): “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.”

So if God worked, work is certainly not some unholy activity. Furthermore, He wasn’t working at ministry; He was creating. That may seem obvious, but I needed to settle it based on what the Word of God said. I also found that God didn’t just create everything and then stopped working. Scripture tells us that God still works today. The scriptural evidence of that is found in Isaiah 64:4 (AMP): “For from of old no one has heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who works and shows Himself active on behalf of him who [earnestly] waits for Him.”

He is constantly working and showing Himself active on our behalf. I suggest the evidence of this in our lives is directly proportional to the time we spend seeking Him—earnestly waiting. In John 5:17 (AMP), Jesus Himself clearly makes the point that God is working today: “But Jesus answered them, My Father has worked [even] until now, [He has never ceased working; He is still working] and I, too, must be at [divine] work.”

So, too, we are commanded to be at God’s work. However, is God’s idea of work for us associated only with ministry through the institution of the church? We are all members of the body Christ, but are we all called to work in an office of the institution known as the church? For me, that was the next big question because I always associated ministry with the church. Did I need to have a ministry role in the institution of the church to use the spiritual truths I was learning? It is clear from Scripture that we are to engage with the church, be part of the local assembly of the body, and provide financial, physical, and prayer support to the mission of the church. But is that a ministry?

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