Think about what you would like to accomplish in your life. Without considering details, office or money, what would you like to achieve? What are your special skills and giftings? Where is your passion? The answers to these questions provide insight into God's purpose and calling for your life.
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; and before you were born I sanctified you" (Jer. 1:5a).
What aptitudes do you have? Are you creative or more of a linear thinker? Would you like to lead or follow? Are you an extrovert or introvert? Are you good at languages? Are you a skilled writer or orator? Are you good with numbers? Do you like working more in group or individual environments? Do you like to travel? Again, your answers provide hints to your purpose.
Where is your heart? Do you have a heart for the hurting? Would you like to make the lives of people better? Do you want to improve the environment? Would you like to help your community? Are you concerned about a comfortable life for you and your family? Would you like to create or invent things? Do you want to spread the gospel? Clues to your purpose can be found in your heart.
Think of an imaginary calling. This calling involves a life of service in which you can model biblical love, honesty, integrity and truthfulness every day. This calling provides the opportunity to improve the standard of living for yourself, your family and others. You can be as creative as you desire, with the grand purpose of helping others. You can help communities and support Christian endeavors. Teaching opportunities abound.
If this imaginary calling seems attractive, and you are a believer, perhaps you are called to business. You are called to offer your product or service at the best value—which inherently will make the lives of your customers a bit better. You have the opportunity to improve the standard of living of your employees and to train them to better themselves even more. In business, you will have the opportunity to model love, peace, joy, integrity and service to many. As they see you promote excellence, discipline and stewardship combined with faith and biblical principles, you will be leading many to experience an abundant life.
With a successful business, you can be more fruitful. You can give more into the kingdom. More missionaries can be sent. More Bibles can be distributed. More people can be helped. Your influence with policymakers and government leaders will be enhanced. Successful businesses have changed neighborhoods, cities, states and the world. A business calling is significant.
The Lord has blessed many Christian men and women with business success. Consider these notable Christian business leaders:
The late Mary Kay Ash founded Mary Kay Cosmetics with a $5,000 investment after she retired. Her slogan was God first, family second and career third. She credited her success to God, her silent partner.
- Truett Cathy founded Chick-fil-A. He attributed his success to running the business on Christian principles. The restaurant chain still closes every Sunday.
Married couple Jin Sook and Do Won "Don" Chang founded the clothing store Forever 21. When Jin first arrived in the U.S. from South Korea, she went to a mountaintop to pray. The Lord told her to open fashion retail stores. The company prints "John 3:16" on all of its bags.
David Green is the founder of Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts retailer. He is reported to be the largest evangelical benefactor in the world. The Green family has supported One Hope, Every Home for Christ, Museum of the Bible, Oral Roberts University and many other Christian endeavors.
Strive Masiywa founded Econet Wireless, with operations in more than 15 countries. He personally pays the school fees for more than 22,000 Zimbabwean orphans. He also reads the Bible at least four hours every day.
In addition to these individuals, other companies are serving the Lord in their own way. For example, Tyson Foods has 98 dedicated chaplains who offer its staff spiritual care. In-N-Out Burger places Scriptures on its cups and wraps. Interstate Batteries includes "to glorify God" in its mission statement. ServiceMaster (and its company Terminix) wants to honor God in everything it does. Howard Butt Jr. of H-E-B and the H.E. Butt Foundation founded Laity Lodge, a Christian retreat center that has impacted many.
Not everyone is called into business. Those who are called to represent the Lord in the business world have sometimes been diverted by greed or other moral failures. But many are faithful. They have been faithful with little and turned it into much for His glory. These faithful business people will likely hear Him say: "Well done, you good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things. I will make you ruler over many things. Enter the joy of your master" (Matt. 25:21).
James R. Russell is a professor of economics at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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