15 Jan 2013 by Adeline Lum CM-
On January 13, I attended the monthly B&P (Business and Professionals) celebration at the North Wing of UCSI University KL Campus from 10:30 am to 1 pm.
The event kicked off with a heart-felt worship followed by a video-recorded message from Peter Ng, president of B&P, who could not attend the event.
“This year, personally… I pray for a life that’s more authentic of Christ and a time that we have no confidence at all in our flesh like Apostle Paul,” said Peter Ng citing Philippians 3:3.
For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh
Next, David Wong -founder of B&P ministry- presented about living as an authentic disciple in the marketplace. As the Managing Director of Tupperware Brands Malaysia, his real passion as described by Peter Tan, was “not in perishable plastics but in disciple-making and winning the souls of people.”
Not Glory to Ourselves, but Glory to God
David started by sharing an anecdote of a newly promoted manager who was given a private room in the office. Sitting on his leathered armchair, he beamed with pride of his recent accomplishment. While unpacking his boxes of supplies, he caught at the corner of his eyes the finance administration secretary walking towards his office. Quickly, he picked up his desk phone impersonating a favorable conversation with the finance director.
“Yes, thank you for liking my idea. I like it too. I’ll meet you for lunch soon,” he said with a loud and confident voice before turning to the secretary saying, “Young lady, what can I help you with?”
Sheepishly, she said, “Thank you. I am actually here to fix your phone because it is not connected yet.”
This story depicts how we can act outwardly for men’s approval without substance. But true discipleship means being real and authentic for God’s approval. God looks at our inward heart instead of our outward practices.
“Jesus is not looking for crowds but (individual) disciples. In fact, it was the crowd looking for him. In fact, he was very popular having fed 4000 to 5000 people,” said David.
25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
Marketplace… an Important Place to Reach Out
The marketplace is a very important place to reach out to people. David shared that Jesus called his disciples in the marketplace, teaching 52 parables and making 163 public appearances, in which more than 95 percent of them are in the marketplace. None of Jesus’ disciples were clergies or learned religious men, but people holding secular jobs. If 70 percent of our waking hours are in the marketplace, we are called to live as authentic disciples at the place we spend most of our time at.
What Makes You a True Disciple?
David shared three major points that mark a true disciple including obeying the Word of God, loving Him and being fruitful for Christ.
1. Obey the Word of God
So, what’s does God say about obedience?
Then said Jesus to those Jews who believed on him, If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; (John 8:31-King James 2000 Bible)
Being a disciple doesn’t mean merely attending meetings and getting involved in church activities, but by ‘continuing’ in God’s word written in our hearts.
a. Do your best at work!
When you do you best at work becoming a skilled worker, you would be given more responsibility to hold.
Do you see a man skilled at work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.
Daniel did so well that the king even decided to promote him. Authentic disciples distinguish themselves in their work. Focus on polishing your skills instead of polishing your boss’ shoes.
Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom
b. Work attitude
23 Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and the Master you are serving is Christ.
“We must not talk back to our employers,” said David. However, in the Asian culture, we seldom talk back to our employers but we talk behind our employers’ back and we talk bad about them. Authentic disciples work hard and cheerfully as they serve the Lord. There is not perfect boss in this world.
c. Integrity at work
According to a survey published in “The Day America told the Truth,” Americans were asked what they would do for USD 10 million dollars. The results were shocking with 25 percent would abandon their family, 23 percent would turn to prostitution, 10 percent would let a murderer go free and 7 percent would commit murder. The results were similar even when the amount was dropped to three million.
Another survey by Gallup showed a little difference between the churchgoers and people who don't go to church.
David recalled receiving an expensive gift the first week he was promoted as a Managing Director. But he returned it with a message that the practice must not be repeated if future business relationship was to be continued. Another example was being offered to become the shareholder of a company but in exchange David had to show favor. Through it all, he kept what Solomon said close to heart-beware of the little foxes that destroy the vineyards. Akin to hair shed strand by strand that would eventually clog the shower place, it is that little padding of the statements, lying here and there, practicing favoritism occasionally, that would eventually destroy your soul. And temptations like that always happen in the marketplace.
2. Love God and People
What is love? It is to love one another.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
And yes, it is to love our Father in heaven.
1 John 2:15-16
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
What are examples of the lust of the flesh and eyes? To love fame is to love to impress, to love fortune is to love to possess and to love pleasure is to love to indulge. But if we understood and trust Christ’s love for us, our desire for fame becomes a desire for Jesus, our desire to possess becomes a desire to release blessings, and our desire for sensual pleasure becomes a desire to enjoy more of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
So, how do we show love in the marketplace?
a. Pay good salaries and pay on time
14 Do not take advantage of a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether that worker is a fellow Israelite or a foreigner residing in one of your towns. 15 Pay them their wages each day before sunset, because they are poor and are counting on it. Otherwise they may cry to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin.
As an employer, ask yourself these questions:
- Can the pay support your employee and his or her family?
- What about medical and other benefits?
- Pay equitably on grades and performance without favoritism.
“Grow your business by growing your people, not squeezing them. If you invest in their skills, knowledge and technology equipments, they would stay with you and your company,” said David who put aside approximately RM3000 for self-improvement for each staff.
b. Don’t withhold good where it is due. Don’t withhold payments and treat suppliers as cheap sources of credit.
Proverbs 3:27, 28
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. 28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”— when you already have it with you.
c. Make reconciliations and restitutions
Firstly, take no offense of what someone said or did, and when someone else got a credit or promotion. Bring forth “Shalom.”
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
For example, David shared how the CEO of Borneo Eco Tours handled a serious staff conflict. A female staff sued a male staff for sexual harassment because he placed his arms around her.
The easy way would be sacking the male staff who was expecting his eighth child at that time and letting him spend two years in jail. But what did the CEO do instead? He hired a lawyer for the male staff and spent time meeting and talking to the female and male staff. In the end, the case was resolved with the female staff agreeing to write a letter of forgiveness to pardon the male staff. Not only that, the male staff’s wife hugged the female staff at the end of the incident. This is a beautiful picture of reconciliation of what could be grievous without the time, money and effort spent by the CEO.
3. Fruitful for Christ
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
“Some of us want a lot of control, but what we need is self-control. And that is shown by how we respond to a stressful situation,” said David.
We need to respond rather than act. David shared about one of his departments writing successive letters of complain. Instead of responding with anger or ignorance, David responded that he would investigate the issue and feedback promptly. Respond by coming to the Lord and respond in faith.
a. Personal evangelism
19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
If you’re not influencing someone to believe in Jesus, you’re not a disciple.
b. Make disciples
Matt 28:19, 20
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
“Teach your staffs how to be ethical in work and love their wives. You need to be a disciple of God by becoming one,” said David.
c. Be a spiritual father by mentoring his life.
1 Cor 4:15
15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.
1 Thes 2:8
8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.
d. Disciple the nation by establishing the Law of the Spirit in the land
David shared about brother Yong who is addicted to the word of God. Disciple is made one-by-one. Remember that God is not interested in big crowds but individuals.
A king can never rule his country without laws. When there’s no law, there’s no ruler ship and no kingdom. What kind of laws are we talking about? During the time of Esther and Mordecai, God used Mordecai to change the law of the country. Let us pray that God would raise people with the spirit in their hearts as captains of their industries. Only a changed man can change society. There’re many Christians but very few disciples. That is why we don’t see us as Christians influencing the society.
Also, do you have little foxes in your life? David shared about an irremovable stain on a tablecloth. But Jesus said he would cleanse all the stains. He can forgive you.
In closing David asked us: If you’re a disciple in Christ, do you love and consider other people’s interest above yourself. If you’re a professional, are you competing and backstabbing? If you’re a disciple, are you fruitful for Christ? When was the last time you lead someone to God? If you had been a Christian for a long time, have you been a spiritual father to someone?
We don't want to be only hearers of God but doers of God.
And here is a condensed chapter of how to be a true disciple in the marketplace. After David’s sharing, everyone adjourned for a delightful lunch together.
Information about B&P ministries:
Started in 1994, Businessmen and Professionals (B&P) ministry was created to help businessmen and professionals walk the talk of faith in their workplace.
Please go to the website below for more information:
References for pictures: