I’ve been working for several months now to build the products and services I offer, an application of my graphic design know-how. I had no idea it would lead to renovating bathrooms and making custom countertops in addition to CNC cutting, engraving, and routing.
Since 3C operates under Christoa Ministries, INC, a ministry purposed for providing free expository resources, 3C ultimately carries the same purpose and “profits” (3C is non-profit, meaning I don’t keep the profits above a fair commission for my work) support that non-profit work. So, I will begin releasing regular posts on this blog about the expository business. Whether you are an entrepreneur, a startup, or have any job doing things at all, this blog is for you. In addition to product and service updates, we will see the biblical place of work in an expository way.
I am thinking this morning about 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”NASB
Paul is writing to the Corinthians believers about how to be a unified congregation–to put an end to the division, quarrels, and fights among the body of Christ. When he writes this instruction, then, we know that to do whatever we do to the glory of God actually brings peace among the church, and consequently on the earth. What exactly does it mean to do whatever we do to the glory of God? Is business or working a job involved? I think so. Paul is covering every base, here. Though he is particularly addressing the eating of meat sacrificed to idols and the consumption of alcoholic beverages, he includes “whatever you do.” His primary instruction in this pericope is for Christians to focus less on legalistic rules as if they can be righteous and instead seek the good of our neighbors. He applies this principle to everything we do. Do all things to the glory of God is, then, doing all things to seek the good of our neighbors.
That requires work and attention to detail in most areas of labor–including office jobs and the pulpit ministry. It is why I don’t want my pastor to wait until Saturday evening to prepare a sermon. I want critical expository work. It is why I don’t want anyone working for me to be lazy or slack off. That is why I pay by the job instead of by the hour. It is why I charge clients by the job and not by the hour.
This brings up another key point. Paul’s instruction is pitted against selfishness in “whatever” we do. It does not allow for selfish business transactions or policies. If my bottom line is my key concern, I am in contradiction to Scripture. I do not do whatever I do to get paid. I do whatever I do to the glory of God–which explicitly means, here, to seek the good of my neighbor.
Worldly businesses are set up to profit a person or group monetarily. Godly businesses are set up to serve others according to the gifts and talents God has given either providentially (by giving us training and experience) or specially (by making us naturally good at something). Both are ways the Holy Spirit gives gifts. Worldly businesses are built to make one person’s life better. Godly businesses are built to make the whole world a better place. In today’s world, we still have to make a monetary living, but it cannot be our motivation. Not only do we present quality goods and services, but we also have competitive pricing. Why? We are interested more in being fair than contributing to our bottom lines.
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.Jesus, Matthew 6:24 NASB
Now, look at the two verses following 1 Corinthians 10:31:
Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.1 Corinthians 10:32-33 NASB
It is almost as if the Christian life is about building treasure in heaven rather than on the earth (cf. Matthew 6:19-21). Perhaps you didn’t know that presenting quality work at fair prices meant building up treasure in heaven, or at least you might not have heard it applied that way. The objective of God-honoring business is so that they, Jews and Greeks (all people), may be saved. We find Godly business principles explicitly given in Scripture:
- Present quality goods and services.
- Offer competitive, fair pricing.
- Give no offense to Jews or Greeks.
- Please all men in all things.
- Don’t seek your own profit but the profit of the many.
We can say all sorts of things about punctuality and work ethic. Basically, we consider others to be more important than ourselves in all things. Bosses who profit and thrive while their employees get scraps are not godly men and women. Employees who satisfy their craving for laziness are not godly employees. Workaholism isn’t good for anyone–causing family members grief and stealing our rest so we cannot present our best work. What is this about offering no offense to Jews or Greeks? That is an all-inclusive statement. Jews idolatrized their religion and Greeks were heathens. Jews tried to fit the whole world into their religious box. Greeks worshipped false gods and tried to transcend their own natural sexuality. Yet, Paul instructs Christians to give no offense to them. Instead, we are to please all men doing whatever it is we do–in all things.
If we are eating meat sacrificed to idols, we do so without offending Jews or Greeks and pleasing all men. If we are drinking, we do so without offending Jews or Greeks and pleasing all men. Whatever it is that we do, the principle is explicitly the same. We are servants in the world to all people. Non-discrimination is a Christian policy, though many supposed Christians today think the opposite. There is a beauty to living a quiet, humble life simply serving others according to our gifts and talents that many will never know because they live on religious high horses, even while they conduct business.
So, bakers are free to bake cakes and build bridges. That doesn’t make sin okay. It does make us servants to sinners. I can put my heart and soul into crafting a countertop, cutting a custom metal sign, or engraving without worrying about the dispositions of those I am serving. We operate this way so that all people may be saved.
In a very real way, the person who labors in the world (rather than in the church) has much more influence in the lives of unchurched people than does any pastor or preacher. Our roles are of great value in the kingdom of heaven. We are the ones serving and building edifying relationships with those outside the church walls for the ultimate purpose of the salvation of the whole world.
I hope you have found some renewed purpose in serving others by reading this post. If I can be of any service to you, please let me know. We are co-laborers as Christ renews the world.
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