THE KINGDOM MAN, HIS WORK, CAREER AND THE CHURCH
THE KINGDOM MAN, HIS WORK, CAREER AND THE CHURCH
Pst. (Prof) Wilson O. Erhun
- Definition of Career
Career has been variously defined as:
- an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.
- a profession or occupation chosen as one’s life’s work
- the job or series of jobs that you do during your working life
- the progress and actions taken by a person throughout a lifetime, especially those related to that person’s occupation.
- Choosing a Career
The kingdom man should be careful in the choice of career. He should seek guidance of the Holy Spirit knowing the importance of career in the life of a person.
- Prv 3: “5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
- Ps 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with my eye”
- Prv 19:21 “There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand”
In the context of our discussion and for ease of understanding we shall take work and career as synonyms. The topic for discussion can therefore we reframed as the kingdom man, his work and the church.
- Who is the kingdom man?
In the course of this conference a kingdom man has been variously very well defined and explained. My simple definition is:
A kingdom man is one who places himself under God’s rulership and submits his life to the lordship of Jesus Christ.
A kingdom man is spiritually connected to God and integrates both the physical and the spiritual in his every day work.
A kingdom man lives in the kingdom of God and also lives and operates here on earth. ….
Eph 2: “4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ”.
The kingdom man is seated with Christ Jesus far above all powers. A kingdom man is a child of God. He is an ambassador of Christ. He is not liar. He is not a crooked person. A kingdom man does not gratify the lust of the flesh.
The kingdom man subscribes to the GOFAMINT statement of Purpose which states as follows:
- To preach the word of God and bring people into membership of God’s family.
- To teach the word of God to enhance freedom, promote Christian maturity and bind the people to God for service.
- To live the word of God the demonstrate the new life in Christ to the world and ensure the security of the believer.
- Sacred Work and Secular Work
The kingdom man serves in the body of Christ which is service to believers (Sacred/ Spiritual) in GOFAMINT and has a mission to the world which is service to unbelievers / believers outside GOFAMINT (Secular/ Physical) in the WORLD.
There are those that believe that you cannot serve God through your secular work. That until you resign your appointment and go into full time ministry you are not doing ministry. Infact we hear people talk about Full time and Part time Pastors and some even believe that the Full time pastor is more spiritual than the Part time Pastor.
There is an ongoing trend of an increasing number of part time pastors or bivocational pastors. This implies an increase in the number of bivocational pastors in the ministry. We are beginning to see Full time Pastors now moving into other vocations and thereby becoming part time pastors. What is responsible for this trend?
- A secular job creates more opportunities to develop relationships with unbelievers. This provides opportunity to minister to people who would not set foot in a church.
- Smaller churches are increasingly unable to afford full-time pastors
- The digital world is offering more opportunities for flexible secular jobs than ever.
- More churches would like to expand staff, but don’t have the resources to do so.
- A part time pastor can have greater freedom than a full time pastor.
- A bivocational pastor has transferrable skills.
- The Secular View of Work
The secular view of work leaves God out of the system. This should be unacceptable to the kingdom man because God calls us to make Him the center of our life. Let us examine some perspectives on work.
- Soul matters more than the body. This is not quite correct. We can wrongly believe that God only cares about our soul, and our bodies don’t really matter. This is not quite correct since God created man as a physical being and infact after creating man, He put Adam and Eve in the garden to cultivate and keep it. (Genesis 2: “15 Then the Lord God took [d]the man and put him in the garden of Eden to [e]tend and keep it.) He gave them physical work in addition to the Fellowship he had with them from time to time.
- Only eternal things matter. This is not correct because both eternal and temporal things are important. We must go through one to get to the other.
- Our work counts in both time(now) and eternity. Yes, because God is looking for faithfulness now, and the only way to demonstrate faithfulness is within this physical world. We demonstrate faithfulness to God through the work we do. Spiritual needs are important but the physical need has to be met first. Our work serves people and meets their needs. We must remember that these people are created in the image of God.
- Spiritual (sacred) things are far more important than physical (secular) things. There are people that hold the view that REAL work is serving God in full-time christian service and that our secular work is not as important. Life is not divided between the sacred and the secular.
- A platform for evangelism. Yes, but it must go beyond preaching. In the work place the best form of evangelism is lifestyle evangelism. The kingdom man should live a life that will draw men unto God. There is no point using the time meant for work in the office to read the bible while living a life that is consistent with the very bible the people see you reading. The kingdom man should be a bible the unbeliever can read.
All of life relates to God and is sacred, whether I am a carpenter, artisan, health care professional, lawyer, teacher or what else we can serve God through our work. This is the point Rick Warren made in his book “The Purpose Driven Life” when he writes, “Work becomes worship when you dedicate it to God and perform it with an awareness of his presence.”
- Scriptural Examples of kingdom men who combined work and “ministry”
- Joseph: Joseph, the son of Jacob was a prophet engaged secularly.
- Genesis 41: 38,39 “And Pharaoh said to his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?”
- Genesis 50: 25 “ And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from hence.”
- Exodus 13: 19 “And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straightly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and you shall carry up my bones away hence with you.”
- Daniel was chosen by God to foretell future events. He was a prophet engaged secularly .
- Daniel 10:14;Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.”
- Daniel 2: “48 Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men.”
- Daniel 8: “ 15 While I, Daniel, was watching the vision and trying to understand it, there before me stood one who looked like a man. 16 And I heard a man’s voice from the Ulai calling, “Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision.” 17 As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate. “Son of man,”[a] he said to me, “understand that the vision concerns the time of the end.”
- Paul the Apostle: Paul was an apostle and tentmaker Acts 18:1-4 “After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. 4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.”
- How should the Kingdom Man regard Work?
The work we do is actually working for God. Paul writing to slaves in Ephesians 6: 5-8 can be applied to employees: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.”
The kingdom man should take it that behind every employer stands the Lord Jesus. The Lord sees everything we do, and He appreciates it and will reward us, regardless of the type of work we do.
God also wants us to see that work is His gift to us. It is not a result of the Fall. God gave Adam and Eve the job of cultivating the garden and exercising dominion over the world before sin entered the world. We were created to work, and for work. Work is God’s good gift to us!
The view of King Solomon on the subject recorded in Ecclesiastes 5: 18 – 19 is instructive.
“After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift!” (Ecclesiastes 5:18-19, The Message)
Being happy in our work doesn’t depend on the work, it depends on our attitude. To make the most of our job and be happy in our work is a gift God wants to give us!
- Characteristics of the Kingdom man at work and in Church
The kingdom man should regard work as an opportunity to please God. The kingdom man has the following characteristics which are relevant to their work and service within /to the church.
- Integrity: A person who has integrity lives his values in relationship with coworkers, clients, and stakeholders. Acting with honor and truthfulness are also basic tenets in a person with integrity.
People who demonstrate integrity draw others to themselves because they are trustworthy and dependable. They are principled and you can count on them to behave in honorable ways even when no one is watching or even knows about their activities.
- Psalm 41:11-12 (NKJV) “ By this I know that You are well pleased with me, Because my enemy does not triumph over me. 12 As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, And set me before Your face forever.”
- Proverbs 10:9, NLT “People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall.”
- Titus 2:7-8, NIV “7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.”
- Prv 19: 1 “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity. Than one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.”
The kingdom man should make a habit of doing more than is expected from them.
- Jacob worked hard even after several pay cuts. His diligence eventually paid off and his flocks began to multiply.
Genesis 31:42: “ If the God of my [Jacob’s] father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands, and last night he rebuked you.”
Making a habit of doing more than is expected of you has the following benefits:
- Pleases God
- Earns recognition and respect from your employer
- Improves our reputation
- Builds others confidence in us
- Gives us more experience and knowledge
- Develops our spiritual maturity
- Not chasing after promotion
Some people spend a lot of their time at work chasing after a promotion or perhaps trying to get additional financial gain (earn a bonus/pay increase). This may require them working long hours – late at night or weekends. The kingdom man should not chase after promotion. Working hard to get accelerated promotion is good but should be balanced.
The kingdom man should not bribe or lobby his way up the work ladder.
This is what the Bible has to say about this:
- Luke 9:25 “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?”
- Matthew 6:24. “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
Some employers may expect employees to work long hours which may lead to the employee spending long hours at work instead of focusing on serving God. If this is the case, the solution may be to change jobs and find a employer with expectations of more reasonable hours so that you have more time with God.
Implies a faithfulness that is steadfast in the face of any temptation to renounce, desert, or betray. On the contrary “Divided loyalty” is a feeling of strong support for opposing groups.
- Mt 26: “ 34 Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 35 Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And so said all the disciples.”
- Ruth 1: “ 16 But Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.”
- Prv 18: “ 24 A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
- Rm 13: 1 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”
The kingdom man should be transparent. This means being free from pretence or deceit. Being frank, predictable and open. The transparent person should be
- Easily detected or seen through
- Readily understood
The kingdom should recognise that nothing is hidden from God.
- Heb 4:13. “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
Commitment is what binds the kingdom man with their organisation. Broadly speaking, employees who are committed to their organisation generally feel a connection with their organisation, feel that they fit in and, feel they understand the goals of the organisation. The added value of such employees is that they tend to be more determined in their work, show relatively high productivity and are more proactive in offering their support.
The kingdom should be truthful. This is important because truthfulness:
- Build reputation
- Improves efficiency
- Building relationship
- Encourages honesty in others
Th kingdom should be guide by the following scriptures.
· Proverbs 12:22 “ Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,
But those who deal truthfully are His delight.”
- Colossians 3:9 “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds”
- The Value of Work.
There are works are that are legitimate for the kingdom man and others that should be regarded as illegitimate. All legitimate work is good and it is basically a way that God uses to provide for His creation.
The kingdom man should not be involved in illegitimate work such as prostitution, drug dealing, stealing etc. There are also legitimate jobs that are ethically and morally questionable such as working in abortion clinics, pornography, and the gambling industry.
The following are some of the reasons why work is valuable.
- Serving people. Most work is part of a huge network of interconnected jobs, industries, goods and services that work together to meet people’s physical needs. There are jobs that meet people’s aesthetic and spiritual needs.
As a kingdom man we can employ our members in the organisations with which we are connected. It is a way of helping the church.
- Meeting personal needs. Work allows the kingdom man to exercise the gifts and abilities God has given him, whether paid or unpaid. God expects adults to provide for themselves and not mooch off others.
- 2 Thess 3:10 “For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.”
- Meeting family needs. God expects the heads of households to provide for their families.
I Timothy 5:8 “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
- Meeting financial needs of others and the church. Through work the kingdom man earns money to give to others. In both the Old and New Testaments, God tells us to be generous in meeting the needs of the poor and those who minister to us spiritually. The kingdom man uses the income from the work to impact the church in the following ways:
- Payment of Tithe
- Giving of Worship Offering
- Payment of vows and pledges
- Thanksgiving offering
- Sunday School Offering
- Special donations to the church
- Demonstrating love for God through our serving others. We bring glory to God by working industriously, demonstrating what He is like, and serving others by cooperating with God to meet their needs. In serving others, we serve God.
Walking with God requires a learning and growing relationship that includes evaluation, self-examination, and honest questions. This is what the kingdom man should do regularly. The kingdom man should maintain a heart that stays open and vulnerable to God’s agenda and leading for all the seasons of your life.
My counsel is that the kingdom man should fully embrace the work that God has placed before you today and make the best use of the opportunity to impact your church
God bless you