I still remember as if it were yesterday: the day God called me to the business world.
I was not delighted, I was terrified! If there ever was a girl who was not qualified to be a businesswoman, it is me.
Furthermore, I wanted to dedicate my life to a worthier cause, something that would really change people’s lives. Like preaching the Gospel in Africa or healing the sick in India.
But a business? How boring was that? And so mundane! All the business people I knew seemed to be consumed with making money. That was not my thing. I was going to do something really spiritual!
Fast forward today, after 8 years of helping businesswomen all over the world to set up and establish their own company…do I still go into a question-my-calling-tantrum?
I have to be honest with you: yes I do!
It’s not that I don’t like what I do, I LOVE working with businesswomen and giving them the spiritual support and the business know-how to defy all odds to build the business of their dreams.
It’s just that a calling to the market place is so unprecedented. Especially for women.
What a daunting task! Who on earth can we model?
Going to the missions in Africa is not necessarily easier, but it has already been done for centuries…and everybody is acquainted with that mission model, inside and outside of the church.
But how does a marketplace ministry look for a woman?
I have been trying to figure this out for the last 8 years, passing through the school of hard knocks, desperately hanging on to the Word of God and the Holy Spirit’s guidance–and making tons of mistakes anyway. Ughh, messy, I know!
The thing is that, in my heart, my business is all about purpose. It has always been that way. I cannot do anything worthwhile when I don’t have that deep sense of purpose that drives me forward with passion and love. I think nobody can.
But purpose in the marketplace for a Christian can be a tricky thing.
When you love people and ultimately want to see them saved, it can get pretty confusing, because the transaction with the people you serve is so different, compared to a traditional ministry. In a business, you exchange your products and/or expertise for money.
So what about that verse: “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8)?
This was a big issue for me, for many, many years! How on earth do you reconcile that teaching with a business of excellence, without becoming the cheapest option in your market? Or no option at all, for that matter!
I can clearly see that other Christian business women also struggle in this very same area:
• They either charge too little or give away too much for free.
• They feel bad, because they think they should be evangelizing aka “serving God”, instead of investing so much of their energy in making money.
• Although they love their business, they often feel like second class citizens in their church, because they are not among the “chosen ones” who serve God full time.
Many of them compartmentalize their life, making up for the lost–but necessary–hours in their business with some “godly” activity at church.
In my case I very often would just love to drop all the business stuff and go directly to what matters most: the power of the Gospel. (Sometimes I do get carried away and go into preaching mode anyway!)
But the marketplace plays by its own rules and does not always allow for that. It can get pretty frustrating when you are genuinely committed to the kingdom cause of “go ye therefore, and teach all nations,…”
Nevertheless, here’s a heads up: your presence there is priceless!
If you feel your daily effort at your workplace is not producing any eternal fruit, rest assured. Here are some powerful effects your presence in the marketplace is having today, even though you are not standing behind a pulpit:
• You are shining your light by modelling godly character for others in a world that is used to frauds, ambitious scheming, and unfaithful competition.
• You are faithfully multiplying God’s resources and financing his kingdom through your tithes and offerings.
• Just by being in the business world, there will always exist instances in which you can share the Gospel with others, with or without using words.
As a Christian businesswoman, you are faithfully providing, growing, serving, witnessing and creating. Every single day of your working week!
God is vitally, passionately and intimately interested in your business! Your calling to the marketplace is special to Him, equal to any other calling He has given to others. He has anointed you with His Holy Spirit power, so you can be successful at what you do and have the impact you were made to create.
In a sense, us women who are entrepreneurs are like undercover agents for God who venture into the dark and messy business world with a mission that is relatively new in its nature, trying to figure out what that looks like, every single day.
…Which makes me realize over and over again how dependent we are on God and how much we need His guidance for each and every decision we make in our businesses.
And that–ultimately–is a good thing! 🙂
P.S. Recommended reading: if you are having your own little business-calling-tantrums, I recommend you read Mark Bilton’s bestselling book “Monday Matters”. It will help you appreciate your daily endeavors as a Christian businesswoman. You will begin seeing everything you do with God’s eyes.