July 2018 Issue-Worship@Work-CEO

by Mr Neo Ban Sang

 The world crowns success, God crowns faithfulness.
 His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” (Matthew 25:21 NIV)
We are taught to be faithful servants. Moses was called a faithful servant. Our work is a worship to God, 24/7, for from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. Therefore, we are to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service”. (Romans 12:1 NKJV) Wherever we are, whether it is church, home or the workplace, God is always with us. Not everyone is a CEO but we see ourselves as CEO wherever the Lord leads us and guides us.
C (from Him) -- your calling  
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” (Ephesians 4:1 NIV)
Walk worthy of your calling. What is this calling? This calling is an answer to the invitation from Jesus to first of all, come to Him all who are burdened and heavy-laden and He will give you rest.  We are first called to the Master and then, to the mission. We are first called to come before we GO. Before Jesus called us to go, He called us to come to Him for communion. Communion precedes commission. Many Christians go before properly coming to the Lord to have communion with Him.
Why is it important to have communion before going? Because we may end up going in our own strength, our own agenda, priorities, finances and even in our own time. Devotion precedes duty or even donations. That is why our quiet time cannot be compromised for us. Our quiet time is such a precious time because having spent so much time in the world, the business world with all its transactions, challenges, priorities, values and systems, it is in the quiet time before the Lord that we bring respite to our life. Our Father’s business takes precedence over our business.
E (through Him) -- your empowering
Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills — to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts.” (Exodus 35:30-33 NIV)
The phrase “filled with the Spirit of God” is often used in the office of kings and priests but here, it is used in the context of craftsmen. It means that we are filled with or empowered by God in our calling. We are not second-class citizens in the kingdom of God because our calling as we go forth is for the glory of God. We are not called to full-time or part-time work but all-the-time -- all the time for the glory of God. So, when we go to work, we know that God is with us and He directs us. We can see work from three perspectives -- as sustenance, as satisfaction and as stewardship.
-       Sustenance is very biblical because the Bible says that if anyone does not work, let him not eat and if he does not provide for his own and his own household, he has denied the faith and he is worse that an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 1:8 NIV)
-       Satisfaction -- King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 2:34 (NIV) says: “A man can do nothing better that to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God…”. Pastor, business person and author Professor Paul Stevens says that God at the end of His creation says it is good. What is there to stop us, who are created in His image, to say it is good as we complete our work?
-       Stewardship -- for all that God has entrusted to us. For those of us who are business owners, stewardship means that we do not see our business as profit and loss. Instead, we are to see the people who worked for us and people we deal with, as people created in the image of God to whom He has entrusted to us. We always think of adding to shareholders’ value in our company and forget that there is one shareholder that is more important -- GOD, a jealous shareholder who will not share His glory with any one.  Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NIV) says: “though the fig tree does not bud……. yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour”. In our difficult times in our work place or in our business, we can look to these verses and say: “… yet I will rejoice in the Lord”.
O (for Him) -- your offering  
 “Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; foryou serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:22-24 NKJV)
Scriptures exhort us to obey our masters in all things, not as men-pleasers but in sincerity of hearts, fearing God and whatever we do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men. This is because we know that our reward is from the Lord because we serve Him. Ethics and integrity at the workplace do not begin with us and our customers; it begins with us and our God. We should be more concerned with the approval of God more than the applause or accolades of men. Look to the reward from the Lord. Well done, good and faithful servants, enter into the joy of the Lord. Press forward, nothing should be able to stop us as we look to the reward.
Live your life as CEO at the marketplace -- understand our calling, our empowering and our offering to the glory of God.
(Mr Neo Ban Seng is Managing Director, KAPP’s Consulting. This talk was given at the GCF Dedication Service at Fairfield Methodist Church on 18 January 2018)