13 Nov 2013 by Adeline Lum CM-
Jesus said, “Today, salvation has come to this house.” Although Zacchaeus was a traitor who collected tax for the Roman government, he was a son of Abraham (Lk 19:9b).
“And that is how Jesus thinks about the biggest crook in the marketplace and city. It was the biggest scandal of grace!” said Sr Pr Dr Philip Lyn of SIB Skyline in Sabah, plenary speaker for the ALPHA Workplace Conference in Penang. According to Ps Philip, every person we meet is a son of Abraham and deserves an opportunity for salvation.
Jesus told Zacchaeus that He has come to seek and save the lost (Lk 19:10), meaning He has came to seek and approach Zacchaeus to save him. But where would the Zacchaeus’ be in our world today? Surely, they are not found in the church but in the marketplace!
As Jesus approached Jerusalem with the crowd following Him, the people thought the Kingdom of Heaven would appear at once. At that point, Jesus took the opportunity to speak about the Kingdom of Heaven through a parable of the minas.
Ps Philip shared that this parable has a workplace context. Every servant was given one mina worth three months of wages. Each one of them was entrusted to trade his or her one mina for more than one mina. And failure to do so would result in death (Luke 27:19), a very severe punishment.
Although the secular workplace typically does not cause fatality, it is a dog-eat-dog world that emphasize on end-goals and performance. Without results, like the servant who was cut off from his Master, an employee will also be sacked from the company.
But what does Jesus mean by mina here? Firstly, one person gets only one mina to trade for the same thing, which are more minas. Could mina mean money or talents and gifts? A mina could not be money-related because Jesus did not die for us just to get rich. As for talents and skills, a person with coma and cerebral palsy is unable to use their ‘minas’, causing them to fail by default. Furthermore, why would you want to trade a skill or a talent for more skills and talents? Most importantly, money, talents and gifts, or other things, do not hold any eternal value in the Kingdom of God.
Ps Philip shared that a mina actually represents a soul in the parable. Every servant gets one mina because every person has one soul. And in our lifetime on earth, the minas we get meant the number of souls we won for God in our obedience to Him.
In fact, Ps Philip shared that the biggest trade you can make is your soul! Rev Tony Campolo –former leader of the ‘Red Letter Christian’– shared a story about Billy who had cerebral palsy and was made fun of by the boys in the youth camp. Voted to do devotions on-stage, Billy struggled and took five minutes just to walk to the stage. Finally coming on-stage, Billy mouthed, “Jesus… loves… me… and… I… love… Jesus…” There was dead silence. Sobs and sniffles broke out all over the camp and a revival happened that day. Years later, the grown-up men who went to that youth camp told Campolo that it was Billy’s testimony who changed their lives. And such is the power of a Mina who loves God.
“Whether you’re a janitor or a CEO of a company, you reproduce. The Kingdom of God is not yet here but the Kingdom of darkness is here,” said Ps Philip. “We know the Kingdom of God is here when we trade in the workplace… When we began to sow our lives in people today, the Kingdom of God has come!”
And in the Kingdom of God, when you trade, you cannot lose in this trade. The master said to the wicked servant, “Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?” (Lk 19:23) The servant’s unwillingness to trade resulted in his death.
You may not be eloquent in speech but God only need a willing heart that loves Him like Billy. All we need to do is to open our mouths and share boldly in the Holy Spirit. We are called to sow in the marketplace!
5 WAYS OF TRADING (WITNESSING):
1. TRADE SIMPLY – MINA FOR MINA
You have the right to share about what you learned in church over the weekend, or your godly encounter with your colleagues. Ask also to pray for them. You will be surprised with how open they are for your prayer.
Testimony of trading simply
Sim was invited on-stage to share how he traded simply with George, a top-notch banker who earned more than 12 months of bonus every year for a decade! By divine appointment, Sim prayed for George for his healing when they bumped into each other in the shopping mall. Later, he invited George to an ALPHA Workplace course he had just started.
George came for the first two weeks but struggled to come for the third week because he heard a voice asking him not to come. Nevertheless he came and asked if he could bring his wife for the following weeks. George shared with Sim how he felt the vacuum inside him slowly filling up over the weeks. After 15 weeks when the ALPHA Workplace course has ended, Sim invited George to the church, where George accepted Christ!
Not only George was saved but his whole family also came to salvation at church. After that, through George directly or indirectly, he brought 18 souls to be saved in God’s grace! Hence, do not underestimate the salvation of one soul that brings many others –-family members, friends, and colleagues– into salvation.
2. TRADE FAITHFULLY- UNSEEN LITTLE BY LITTLE
Trade faithfully little by little, although it is unseen. As a doctor, Ps Philip shared how he witnessed to his patient, a successful businessman, at his work. The patient consulted with Ps Philip that he needed a psychiatrist, to whom Ps Philip blurted out that he needed Christ instead. Although the businessman was shocked with Ps Philip’s suggestion, he returned to Ps Philip’s office early next morning to invite Ps Philip to talk about Christ at his home. Later, he accepted God, followed by the rest of his family at church! Now, this man has been the head usher for Ps Philip’s church for ten years already.
3. TRADE SACRIFICIALLY- TAKE RISK
Like business, you take risks to have profit. Pr Ps Philip shared how he took risk and delivered a patient from demonic possession in his office. The patient was asked to mouth name “Jesus Christ” but he couldn't. Upon continued prayer, the patient started to utter the word “Jesus Christ”, which became louder and louder, clearly audible to the patients and nurses outside Ps Philip’s office. In this case, Ps Philip was risking the professional perception of his patients on him as a doctor; he ‘traded sacrificially.’
4. TRADE VIOLENTLY- TAKE AUTHORITY
Take authority of who you are in Christ. Pr Ps Philip visited a patient of another faith before, whom her daughter asked Ps Philip if he had any medications for sleeping soundly. The patient had nightmares of being choked at night. But instead of giving medical advices, Ps Philip said that all she needed was prayer in Jesus’ name. So, he knelt down and started to pray for the mother amidst skeptical looks from her daughter and other siblings. After the prayer, the daughter asked Ps Philip to return the next day for a visit. And when Ps Philip returned the day after, her daughter revealed that the mother did not have nightmares anymore. As a result of that, everyone prayed to God led by Ps Philip. And later on, the whole family came to Christ when the mother received God!
5. TRADE TOGETHER
Nine out of the ten servants traded for God, and each earned their just reward from Him! Let us then trade together as brothers and sisters-in-Christ with boldness.