29 August 2014 by Jason Law CM –
On the 7th-9th of August 2014, the FGBMF of Malaysia held their National Convention 2014 in Hotel Pullman. The programme included English and Chinese workshops, and one of the speakers for the English workshops was Dr Wong Hong Meng, who is a Governing Council member of FGBMF Malaysia, chartered accountant, and a board member of a number of companies as well as the investment committee of some unit trust funds.
Dr Wong spoke about the Christian’s position in the marketplace, and their role as stewards that are appointed by God. He started by sharing a few verses about what the Bible has to say on success (Joshua 1:8; 1 Samuel 18:13-14; 2 Chronicles 26:5). In these verses, it is clearly written that the prerequisite for success in our work or business is by seeking after God, meditating on His Word, and by walking daily with Him.
Successful Businessman and Successful Christians
‘Tan Sri Francis Yeoh once shared, that many people said that he is a successful Christian businessman, and his response was “Successful businessman? Perhaps. Successful Christian? Still working on it.”. There is a difference between a successful businessman and a successful Christian, and Tan Sri Francis Yeoh’s response showed that he knew the difference,’ Dr Wong shared.
A successful businessman is about wealth, power, and status (expanding Business Empire that is always on the news; honorific titles; riches). A successful Christian is about Christlikeness (a person’s strength as a Christian witness; salt and light to the world; people can see Jesus’ values, principles, and teachings in our life).
‘Selwyn Hughes once wrote that God is interested in the prosperity of our souls just as much as our material prosperity. What good is success in material things if the soul does not prosper? Some people are good at their jobs but they are poor Christian witnesses. Some are good Christian witnesses but they never succeed in anything they do. Some are poor at both. As Christians, we have the calling to excel at both. Which ones are we?’ Dr Wong encouraged.
God The Owner and I The Steward
The Bible reminds us that everything in existence was created by God. As such, whatever we have actually came through the grace of God. God actually has rightful ownership of everything (Leviticus 25: 23; 1 Chronicles 29:11; Psalms 24;1; Psalms 50:12; 1 Corinthians 10:26) and we are given responsibilities as His stewards (Job 1:21; Psalms 8:6-8; 1 Corinthians 4:2).
‘What is a steward? In the business world, we have settlors and trustees. The settlors assigns the management of the property on the trustee and the trustee administers the business affairs of that property. Transposing this to the Biblical model, God is our settlor and the Bible is the Trust Deed. The Trust Property is everything that God has entrusted to us, and the beneficiaries are whomsoever God has instructed us to provide for out of the Trust Income and Property that has been assigned to us,’ Dr Wong explained.
To put it in laymen’s terms, that means that God is the owner of all assets and resources (properties). He entrusts them to us to manage via the teachings in the Bible. As the steward, we manage the resources for the benefit of the people that we are responsible for according to His principles. As we do our jobs well, more property will be added, and throughout, the Holy Spirit offers advice on the way we manage the properties. This relationship between us as stewards and God as owner is found in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30).
Turning Businesses Into Ministries
‘As God’s stewards and followers, Christian businessmen are called to manage their businesses well and turn them into ministries. When does a business become a ministry? Peter Wagner wrote in his book ‘Changing Church’ that a business becomes a ministry when God leads us into that area, and we take the voice of God, His anointing and His Biblical principles with us as we work and minister.
‘This year, we’re taking this calling from Matthew 5:16 to heart. We must live the sort of lives that shine forth God’s glory, and it must be of such a conviction that we can stand firm during moments of truth. In times of stress and temptation, which of our values will surface? The declared ones or the real ones?’ Dr Wong imparted.
Jesus gave the injunction in Matthew 6:24 that no man can serve two masters. When we are not careful, we will tend to rationalize and serve money rather than God. To serve money means to place our trust and faith in it, to look to it for our ultimate security and happiness, to expect it to guarantee our future, and to desire it more than we desire God’s righteousness and Kingdom. ‘In order to avoid rationalization, we need to stop and listen to what the Holy Spirit has to say to us during our moments of truth,’ Dr Wong counseled.
Adopting The Mindset of Stewardship
To the steward:
– Possessions are a responsibility.
– They work to serve Christ.
– Godly people are not defined by wealth or poverty but by faithfulness.
– Ungodly people are likewise not defined by wealth level but by being unfaithful.
– They give because they love God.
– Their spending pattern is prayerful and responsible.
For the Christian steward, Biblical principles shape attitudes (habit of thoughts), which are repeated and conditioned into lifestyles and behaviours (actions), which then result in success.
Success For A Christian In Business
What is therefore success for a Christian in the Business place? ‘Selwyn Hughes taught that the only way we can have success in the Christian life is when we obey His commandments and His Word. Success comes therefore from being constantly aware that we’re God’s stewards, and not as owners. This will help us to take up responsibility, and to recognize that success comes from taking the voice of God, the anointing of God and Biblical principles into our businesses,’ Dr Wong imparted.
The success that is dependent on the Holy Spirit and the Word of God will help to guide us through the tensions in life. And in the end, it will lead us to both spiritual as well as material success.
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