If you are a Christian business owner or employee, it’s likely that you desire for your work to benefit the Kingdom of God and impact others with the power of Christ. You may even have mission statements and slogans supporting these desires. What a wonderful goal!
But what if I told you that it was not enough?
Working for God’s Kingdom Is Not Enough
In Matthew 7, the Bible describes religious people who have devoted their lives to the work of the Lord. They have performed miracles, ministry and mighty works in the name of God, yet are turned away by Jesus. (He literally says, “Depart from Me.”) How can this be?
The answer is simple, “I never knew you.”
These are words that sting.
Words I don’t ever particularly want to hear, especially from my Savior. But yet there they are.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” Matthew 7: 21-23
Recently, I have found myself among this group. I’ve realized that I’ve been pursuing a whole lot of things for the Kingdom of God, yet all the while living without Him.
Living Without Relationship With God Is Not Life
For the past year, I have filled my schedule with a lot of “good” things: Bible studies, church events, hard work, relationships, leadership… Things intended to push me toward spiritual growth. I’ve faithfully performed a wide variety of works. But I found myself using these activities to justify my lack of time alone with God. If it were between accomplishing all of these things and squeezing in a little prayer time, God would understand, right? After all, I’m doing it all for Him. He’s probably giving me bonus points in Heaven for living a life so dedicated to ministry.
There’s only one catch. How could I possibly accomplish all of these things for God if I wasn’t pursuing Him along the way?
My human ignorance allows me to believe that I can actually operate out of self-sufficiency without spending time with God for strength, guidance, or rejuvenation. How can I teach others about Him or become more like Christ without studying His word or spending any time in prayer? How can I do work in His name without participating in relationship with Him?
I soon learned that I couldn’t. I found myself burned out and exhausted. My efforts were promising at first, but with time they dwindled and became ineffective. I was spiritually dry. This translated to a physical and emotional thirst for more as well. It affected my relationships and my work.
We Need Spiritual Health as a Foundation to Business Health
How often do we make decisions about our business without turning to God first, yet making the choices in His name? Or sacrifice our personal relationships with the Lord in order to put more time into our work “for Him”?
Donald S. Whitney, author of Ten Questions To Diagnose Your Spiritual Health, asks this question: “Are you spiritually healthy, or just spiritually busy?” Are you filling your life and work with activities intended to bring glory to God, yet missing out on deeper relationship with Him? This is not how God intends for a spiritually full life to be! In fact, it is missing the point altogether.
Christ desires YOU first. He did not suffer for your business success, position in the church or awesome Bible study skills. He died for your heart. He wants a relationship with us far more than any of the meager works we bring to His table.
Apart From God’s Blessing Our Business Cannot Succeed
So when you find yourself in a place like me, living a life for God yet separated from Him, we must reassess. We must acknowledge that apart from God’s blessing, our business cannot succeed. We learn that without God’s strength, we cannot accomplish half as much as we can with His power. We must look for God’s heart, and understand that His priority is not good works in His Name, but deep relationship with His children. God can be glorified in our business only because He has chosen to use us. And none of our efforts apart from Him produce any good!
The solution is to put Him first in life and in business. Prioritize our time to read His word, pray, and consider His will to be our goal. If we do these important things to enhance our relationship with God first, His Holy Spirit will guide us in serving Him. We will have clarity in how to put Him first, serve His Kingdom, and be a light to others that shines the way back to Him.
So cling to Him and draw close, and soon you will become a city on a hill, showing others the power of Christ in life and business!