11 March 2014 by Adeline Lum CM-
“You need to step up the game of working for the master to serving the master. But what’s the difference?” said Ickhoy De Leon, Director of Campaigns and Communications of Christ Commission Fellowship and head of its Singles Ministry, on 1st of March at the DUMC Faith@Work Bootcamp in Chefoo, Cameron Highlands.
Ickhoy shared that working is about labor while serving is about love. Labor focuses on the process, while serving focuses on the person Jesus Christ. Ultimately, serving can only happen as an outflow of our heart in Jesus Christ.
Col 3:22 says, ‘Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.’
What that meant is that we are effectively slaves for Jesus, while obeying our bosses. And when we have that perspective, all our demands and right that burden us slowly unload and disappear. This is because in all areas of our life including work, it is the Lord Jesus we are serving (Col 3:24). While Col 3:22 refers to employees, bosses are also called to treat employees right and fair because they have a Master in Heaven to answer to (Col 4:1).
Ickhoy shared that whatever challenges you have at work, it all boils down to one question, which is “Why are you still staying in your job and not moving elsewhere?” In the middle of difficult situations at work, we may wonder why we are facing all these challenges.
“The challenges, scenarios, and training in your workplace are things that are needed to prepare you for the future tasks,” said Ickhoy.
God used our workplace to groom and train us to handle bigger things in life in the future! Ickhoy shared how he landed his dream job, where he rose quickly to become the corporate brand manager within a year.
But some of his colleagues poisoned his character by falsifying checks under his name, which called forth an investigation for suspected fraudulency and demotion to a lower position. Even his boss came to ask him to leave the company, and Ickhoy really wanted to. In fact, he sent his resume to different companies and secured three interviews until the final round within three months.
However, oddly enough, all these offers did not pan out and Ickhoy had to stay in his company . Confused, he wondered why God seemingly opened doors, only to close them. Is God out to upset him? The Lord later revealed to Ickhoy that He wanted to show him that He has the power to take him out of the office anytime and send him elsewhere. But His plan for Ickhoy at that time was to stay.
“I agreed to stay and honor Him in full follow-mode. Do you believe that Jesus is the best head-hunter in Malaysia?” said Ickhoy living to 1 Cor 7:17. “By stepping out from working to serving, you become an appointed steward than being just another worker.”
Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. (1 Cor 7:17)
In fact, the Corinthians were very much like us now. Many of us feel this way at the workplace. We are always waiting for the conducive time and place to start a workplace ministry; wait till we have a fellow president with the same faith, wait till we move into a better job, and wait till we get a better boss.
“You don’t church-shop and church-hop because that’s where God wants you to grow. All your ‘only if’ and ‘what if’ say that your circumstances would dictate who you are. But it is your character in Christ, which dictates who you are.
“I am not saying that you got to be rigid. At the core of who you are, you should not be affected by the workplace. I realize the chameleon can go from one color to another in a span of seconds. But when it changed in color, the chameleon didn’t changed, his DNA or his diet. Only his external changes but his inside doesn’t change. As Christians in the workplace, we may adapt externally but internally, we are ruler in Christ,” said Ickhoy.
Although the 60 million slaves were treated as commodities during Apostle Paul’s time, Paul asked them to be the best in whatever situations they find themselves (Col 3:22). Likewise, Ickhoy saw that the excellent way he works for his boss is a way to honor and serve the Lord.
“Would Paul be okay if the slaves just obey some? But Paul said obey all things. God does not want us to justify sloppy work but there’s a sense of excellence and thoroughness. If we do these two things, then you honor the Lord.
“If you want to serve the Master, there are no short-cuts but you have to be on full follow mode. There’s no buffet Christianity, where you choose the rule and guideline to follow. If you really want your marketplace ministry to take off, you need to be in full follow mode,” said Ickhoy.
A Christ follower at work should be outstanding to the boss, if you want to step up from working to serving your boss.
“I realized that my obedience, even in the most difficult situations, is designed to bring glory to God,” said Ickhoy.
Nevertheless, his demotion did not last for long. After Ickhoy was cleared from the investigation, the companies he was working for merged with one of the largest company in United States. As a result, he was eased out from his department. From his corner office, he moved to a table beside his secretary. Again, he asked the Lord why He was there but God only told him to obey the master in everything.
He started the Monday Bible Ministry at his work, growing from two people to having two churches resulting from this ministry now! Up to today, he has been starting and multiplying marketplace groups for nine years in the Philippines!
“When we do things for the Lord, they are set apart; we have kingdom mentality, moving you from a man with a job to a man with a mission to gain heavenly treasures.
“If I did not change my perspective that Jesus is my ultimate boss, I would not have survived the workplace ministry. Only through by God’s grace that I was able to concentrate on my Christian walk. Believe me, follow Jesus and the rewards are out of this world, it’s in Heaven,” said Ickhoy.
While there is nothing wrong climbing the corporate ladder, Ickhoy reminded the participants that one must not forget to reach out once they are up. The only reason why peoples’ lives are impacted in the workplace is because a few chosen leaders decided to say ‘yes’ to God’s invitation to share His Word, pray for people, and invest in His people.
Also, do not work only for eye service, to curry favor from the boss (Col 3:22). Ickhoy shared that the most difficult time to follow God is when he was alone.
“We don’t show it out for a show, but the opportunity to serve Jesus. The principle is God wants you to work with enthusiasm that people would ask what cause your enthusiasm,” said Ickhoy.
Not only that, we must also have the sincerity of heart in serving our boss, meaning to be simple, frank, and open. In a nutshell, your motivation to please the Lord must be plain to see. The motivation to work is to follow Jesus Christ, not to follow procedures and process.
In this case, Ickhoy shared how he was moved to support his new boss wholeheartedly because he knew that his purpose at work was not to become the next brand manager but to become the brand manager for Jesus! And that was the defining start of his marketplace ministry, which is to bring Christ to his colleagues.
Lastly reverence for the Lord, also meant fear of the Lord. Would we do the right thing even if no one is watching? Would we take wrong short-cuts knowing that no one would find out? The Christian with character works ethically and excellently though no one is watching and supporting out of reverence for God, even in persecution or unpopularity.
“We would never fully realize our potential and plan unless we say yes to his invitation… When I was starting in my ministry, I asked the Lord where He can use me most in the marketplace.
“I realized that I have developed something called as the ‘sweet spot,’ a place where a combination of factors result in a maximum response for a given amount of effort. You need to find your sweet spot, where you effort need not to be forced,” Ickhoy shared.
Meaning of ‘Sweet Spot’: In tennis, squash, or badminton, a given swing will results in a more powerful hit if the ball strikes the racquet on this sweet spot.
“When you have your God-given talent, linked to your training, skills, and experiences, and then you mix it up with passion. In the middle of all that is exactly what you want to be—your sweet spot!” said Ickhoy.
With an eye of creativity and passion for communicating, Ickhoy is using social media to honor God. His ministry became so natural and exciting to do!
“People are not excited about their ministry because they have to put so much effort in it. But God has given something in you that you can glorify His Name in the ministry; that is why you don’t need to hit it hard.
“You got to find that sweet spot. You can do that sweet spot in marketing, advertising, community service, corporate work, and business. You’re in a scenario where God can use you. And when you hit your sweet spot, the person would see Jesus Christ in you,” said Ickhoy.
Do you know your ‘Sweet Spot’? Share with us in the comments below on what your ‘Sweet Spot’ is and how you find that out.