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Business as Mission Network:: Turn Good Business and Missions into Great MinistryTurn Good Business and Missions into Great Ministry with News, Resources, and Tools from the leading businesss leaders, authors, pastors around the world

Is Your Work Sacred or Secular?

By Alex Brubaker - Managing Director, Brubaker Consulting

"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others,
faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."
I Peter 4:10

As the son of life-long missionaries, I have always felt the tension between the sacred and the secular. I felt this tension most when I was about to graduate from an Ivy League university with highest honors in finance and engineering, and I readied myself to enter the marketplace.

Here I was, a follower of Jesus, feeling conflicted about using a first-rate education in the business world. What's redeeming about a job in the marketplace if the ultimate objective is only an increased stock price or a better profit margin? I asked myself. Would Jesus become a management consultant or investment banker?

Over the years, I have come to realize that I was operating under a paradigm that segmented all earthly activities into two distinct categories - the sacred and the secular - and that these categories did not overlap. In this paradigm, working in the marketplace most certainly belonged to the latter category.

It was this same kind of thinking that elevated working in the ministry over working in the marketplace in my own mind (and in the minds of many Christians). Indeed, some believers dissolve the tension between the sacred and the secular by simply becoming pastors or missionaries. I almost did just that. But there is another way to address this tension.

God gives each of us different gifts, passions and callings, and for some of us, these gifts are in the realm of business. If our calling is to advance God's kingdom through business, then that is our highest calling.

Whatever our calling from God - whether in the marketplace or in the Church - our calling is noble and sacred, and the old paradigms fall away. In fact, the sacred and the secular overlap and coexist. Personally, I have found a greater integration of my work (the so-called "secular") and faith (the "sacred") with the realization that I can minister in the marketplace through my business. All aspects of my life, including my work in business are ministry when they further God's purposes.

I have also come to realize that doing business can be a spiritual activity that has redeeming and sacred value, thereby resolving the age-old tension within Christianity. We need not feel conflicted when we seek to serve God through our work. The marketplace is as legitimate a venue as any other for serving others to the glory of God, and doing so makes our very work a sacred act.

Point to Ponder
All work that honors God and fulfills His calling is sacred,
including serving others through business.

Questions to Consider...

  1. What are the redeeming aspects of your work? What makes your work sacred?

  2. How can your business activity, or your job, be considered a spiritual activity? Do you truly believe that business can be a spiritual activity that has redeeming value?

  3. Do you ever feel the tension between work and your ministry or your calling from God? Could it be that these things are bound together?
This is an excerpt of Devotional Ventures: 60 Inspiring Devotions by Business Professionals for Business Professionals. Corey Cleek, the author and editor is a friend of the Business as Mission Network and has given us the ability to share some of them with you. Used with permission, all rights reserved.

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posted by Justin Forman | 5.13.2009 - 7:00 AM


The most redeeming part of my work seems to be the interactions I have with coworkers and customers.

Great post!
commented by Anonymous Red Letter Believers, 10:33 AM  

I felt the tension between the sacred and secular when I returned to a secular position. After being so closely involved in church activities, I wondered what should I do with my spiritual gifts? Are spiritual gifts only to be opened and used at church? I am operating under a new paradigm, too. All worship and work is rendered service to God. It is imperative that we employ our gifts especially at work.
commented by Anonymous Audrey Wyatt, 8:40 PM  

This is an important topic where I see far too little written.

Luke 11:23 and Matt 12:30
“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

It is easy to just be lukewarm about God, in this world. It is rarely cool or convenient to honor Him. Yet, He commands it.

Nowhere is this more prevalent than on the web. Religion takes a distant back seat here to total garbage. The largest religion website does not crack the top 1000.
commented by Anonymous Gary, 5:21 PM  

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