For the longest time in my life, I felt less than qualified serving God because I had not stepped into full-time ministry. But then it occurred to me that Jesus loved Lazarus and his disciples, irrespective of the fact that they were not full-time ministers. Unless called specifically into full-time ministry, the bible maintains that we are to be the ‘salt and light’ of this world. Being ‘salt and light’ is not just a title, it is a job description.
Whenever we hear marketplace ministry, we quickly assume it must be something businessmen get involved in. But that’s not the whole truth. Your marketplace can be any place of influence that you hold. Basically these are defined as the seven mountains of influence – economy, family, arts and entertainment, media, religion, education and government.
Marketplace ministry, by definition, is sharing the love of Jesus beyond the 4 walls of the church (Click to Tweet). Despite popular belief, there is much that can be done outside the church by a Christian. So the question remains, what do we do with all that God has placed inside of us? How can we be effective marketplace ministers?
Here are three specific characteristics from the life of Joseph that I would like to share with you. Apart from Daniel in the Bible, Joseph was a very influential person who did not serve God ‘full-time’. He was employed in Pharaoh’s courts but these three things made him stand out.
Serving with Your Gifts
Joseph was given the gift of dreams and dream interpretation. He used it to declare what God had shown him to his brothers and his father. Although they did not accept his dreams, I remain amazed that this young man would still go ahead and interpret dreams for Pharaoh’s staff. What we must understand is that Joseph could so easily have given up his gift. But he chose to exercise it even when the chips were down and that opened doors for him to meet the most powerful man of the world, the Pharaoh himself. He could interpret Pharaoh’s dreams but more importantly, he was able to apply his revelation in the palace.
Joseph served in the palace with his, often overlooked, gift of administration. He served as the Prime Minister because of this gift. Imagine walking into a business meeting and being able to speak through words of knowledge and operating in the prophetic.
Leading with Character
One of the greatest lack of the modern world is godly leaders. There are many who wish to lead, but godly leaders are in short supply; leaders who have been refined in the furnace like Joseph. Jesus said the least amongst you is the greatest. We lack leaders who choose to be servant leaders; who will serve like Jesus, washing the feet of his disciples. Not leaders who will boss over others.
When people see your life, do they see duality between what you speak and how you behave?
“What you are speaks so loudly that I can barely hear what you say” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Advancing His Kingdom in Your Place of Influence
Joseph was told by Pharaoh, “I have heard that you can interpret dreams”. But Joseph took this opportunity to share God with Pharaoh. Oh, there is so much we can learn from this one dialogue. We are so caught up looking smug and professional. Imagine being like Joseph!
What is your sphere of influence? Your sphere of influence is the network of co-workers, friends, and clients that you have a direct influence upon. Your pastor cannot influence your friends as much as you can. They are your spheres of influence given exclusively to you. That is why we all need to be actively involved in marketplace ministry. We cannot live in a bubble thinking it’s the evangelist’s role to share the gospel. We all have a role to play.
When we start living with pure intent to be an influence wherever we go, it is only a matter of time before God is much glorified in the marketplace as in Church. Let me assure you today that you are not disqualified because you did not quit your job and go to serve ‘full-time’. God has purposefully placed you where you are because the world still needs to see Jesus.
What can you do to make a difference in your area of influence? Share with us your views or thoughts in the comment section below.