by Mike Baer
Like Business as Mission, the term Business as Worship has many meanings. As I listen to speakers and read current writing it seems that these fall rather easily into two major thought buckets:
- Business or Work as an Act of Worship
- Business or Work as an Act of Spreading the Worship of God
These are by no means mutually exclusive nor are they contradictory. In fact, both are wonderfully true and accurate. They are simply looking at the near term versus the eternal.
An Act of Worship
The core idea here is that worship, the act and attitude of ascribing worth to God and of prostrating ourselves, literally and figuratively, is not at all limited to what happens in a church building on Sunday morning. Singing, praying, listening to the Word of God and giving are all recognized forms of worship. But what about loving others and serving others? Or providing for our families and generating income for employees? What about honest labor? Accurate scales? Are not all of these also acts of worship? Indeed, when we speak of work as worship we are building on the Biblical truth that all of life, every single bit of living is meant to be done from a heart of submission to God and affection for Christ and our fellow man. All of life, except for sin, is in fact worship.
This truth was the great secret of Brother Lawrence who wrote of it in Practicing the Presence of God. Brother Lawrence served in the scullery of a monastery and literally cooked and cleaned in worship of God.
What is it that you do each day? Were you to recognize that every phone call made, every meeting attended, every deal closed, every product invented was part of the fulfillment of God’s grand plan for your life you and therefore an act of worship and adoration your entire life would be transformed. Instead of waiting to stop work so you could start worshipping you would find yourself in a steady state of praise in your every action!
Listen to the admonition of Paul: Therefore, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) God created business as an honorable institution and calling and as such He blessed it as a part of the life of a worshipper.
An Act of Spreading the Worship of God
When you and I think of missions we most likely think of soul winning, disciple making, and church planting. This would, of course be accurate, as long as we are thinking of the activities or strategies of missions. However, the purpose of missions is not to do missions; neither is it to plant churches or see individuals come to saving faith. The purpose of missions is the worship of God—nothing less. If the world was filled with worshippers, those who worship in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:23-24), missions would cease to exist. It would cease to matter.
Consequently when we think of Business as Mission we are really thinking about business as a holy means of achieving the ultimate purpose—not missions but worship. In this sense, then, business is a wonderful means of helping to spread the worship of God. Business, like no other vocation, enables us to engage men in their world, to enter otherwise closed nations, to demonstrate in word and action the reality of Jesus Christ in our lives, and to do good to all men.
So we see that, first, every action of work, if done in honesty and sincerity, is worship of God. There is no need to be in a religious building or to do religious things in order to praise our Creator. When we work as a fulfillment of our calling it is worship.
In the same way, our business is also directly connected in a strategic way to the ultimate purpose of God—to express His glory to all creation and bring men and women to worship at His throne.
How differently we would approach going to work or starting a business if we believed this! May God teach us these things by His Spirit.
Mike Baer was one of the early leaders in the modern Business as Mission movement. He started his career as a pastor and church planter. After 15 years in the pastorate Mike was led into business where he gradually began to discover the potential for believers in business to bless their communities, evangelize the lost and spread the Kingdom of God, especially among the unreached. Today, Mike is the Chief People Officer of EmployBridge, a $3.2 billion employment company based in the US. He has written 3 books on BAM: Business as Mission, Kingdom Worker, and Gospel Entrepreneur. Mike is a regular contributor to the Third Path Blog. Today Mike and his wife reside in the mountains of North Carolina where they enjoy their 5 grandchildren.