|LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES
|EXPERIENCING GOD IN THE MARKETPLACE
Henry & Richard Blackaby and Claude King
I AM REVEALED
May 12 2013
So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with those who worshiped God, and in the marketplace every day
with those who happened to be there. (Acts 17:17)
DIVINE ENCOUNTERS IN THE DENTIST’S CHAIR
One day John, a good friend of mine who owns a large company, went to the dentist. A hygienist lowered John back in
his chair and inserted various tubes into his mouth. While she was poking a sharp metal object in his mouth, she
informed him that several years ago he had turned down her husband’s job application. John suddenly felt extremely
Apparently, years earlier John had been notified that a job applicant had failed a mandatory drug screening test and
could therefore not be hired, even though he showed great promise. The human resources director would normally
have informed the job applicant of the disappointing news, but John felt God leading him to tell the young man himself.
Certainly this was not something a company owner and CEO would relish doing, but John called the man into his office
and explained to him that he was extremely impressed with his credentials. John indicated that the applicant was the
kind of talented person his company was seeking, but he had failed the drug test. John was obligated to follow company
policy and decline to hire him. John then looked the young man in the eye and reminded him that he was a newlywed
with his first child on the way. John cautioned that if he continued to use drugs, he could lose his health, his wife, and
his children. His family would experience enormous hurt if he did not make some major changes in his life.
“He really took your warning to heart, “the hygienist concluded. “He came home shaken by what you said and got rid of
his drugs. He eventually found a good job and has been very successful. He’s become a great husband and father,
and I know he would want me to thank you for taking time to talk to him in the middle of your busy day like you did. That
brief talk changed my husband’s life!”
John was just an ordinary Christian businessman who was invited one day to join God in saving a man’s family and
career. Every day holds limitless possibilities as God walks with people in the marketplace.
GOD CHOOSES BUSINESSPEOPLE
For too long, Christians have assumed that the activity of God occurs only on Sundays at church. In reality, the
Scriptures show that God is continually at work in the marketplace. When God launched His great work to bring
salvation to humanity, He called Abraham, one of the most successful businessmen of his day (see Genesis 24:35).
Abraham’s son Isaac also prospered in the marketplace (see Genesis 26:12-14). Likewise, Isaac’s son Jacob became
wealthy through his business acumen (see Genesis 30:43). Joseph served God, not as a preacher or missionary but as
a grain administrator (see Genesis 41:37-57). Moses had a profound encounter with God while in the midst of his work
(see Exodus 3:1-6). Elisha was invited to join God’s activity while plowing a field (see I Kings 19:19-21). Amos declared
he was not a prophet or the son of a prophet but a sheep breeder and a tender of sycamore trees (see Amos 7:14).
Daniel served God as a government official.
Jesus was trained as a carpenter. When He set about to call the twelve people who would walk with Him as His disciples,
He chose fishermen and other career people (Mark 1:16-20). Businesspeople are not intimidated by the world. That is
the environment in which they live and thrive. Once these people experienced a life transforming encounter with Jesus,
they were prepared to turn their world upside down! Joseph of Arimathea was a business man who, although he feared
religious leaders, had the courage to approach Pilate, the Roman leader, for Jesus’ body (see John 19:38; Mark 15:42-
43). Joseph used his business contacts and influence to provide Jesus a proper burial, and all four Gospels recount his
story. Lydia, a businesswoman, was a key member of the church at Philippi (see Acts 16:14-15). Two strong supporters
of apostle Paul’s church planting ministry were Aquila and Priscilla, a couple who ran a business (see Acts 18:1-2).
The marketplace – not the church building – is where people spend most of their time. God does not wait to encounter
them when they enter His house on Sundays. He goes to where people are and encounters them during their everyday
lives. Sunday services are an opportunity for believers to worship God and to be equipped for their mission where they
live and work during the week (see Ephesians 4:11-12).
GOD IS AT WORK!
One of the greatest spiritual movements I see today is what God is doing in the business world. I work with a group of
Christian CEOs of some of America’s largest companies. These men and women have realized God placed them in their
positions for a purpose. They impact tens of thousands of employees and control huge advertising budgets. They have
access to world leaders that missionaries do not.
One businessman’s company produces power plants, and he provided one free to a village in Africa on the condition he
could tell the people why he was helping them. By the time the power was turned on in that community, the chief and
many of the villagers had become believers. The CEO was then invited by a top government leader to provide power
plants to numerous other villages, all with the freedom to tell them he was doing it out of his love for Jesus Christ.
Another CEO has given bibles to world leaders as gifts when he visits their countries on business. One businessman I
know took early retirement, purchased a declining company, completely transformed it, and has been donating its profits
to Christian ministries as his way of investing in God’s kingdom.
Many people are discovering that God has placed them in a company so they can be a witness to their colleagues and
clients. I could tell you numerous stories of people who led their coworkers to faith in Christ, and I know business
leaders who lead Bible studies during lunch hour for their staffs.
Many people who meet Christ in their workplace would never have visited a church on Sunday. So Christ sends His
servants to job sites where the people who need to hear about Him work. In the same way we pray over missionaries
who travel to other countries to share the gospel, I believe churches ought to have commissioning services for those
who go into the marketplace every Monday evening.
JESUS AND ZACCHAEUS
Luke 19:1-10 tells one of the most encouraging stories of the Bible. As Jesus passed through Jericho on His way to
Jerusalem and His appointment with the cross, word had spread that the great miracle worker and teacher was coming
down Main Street. Crowds gathered quickly to catch a glimpse of Him. Zacchaeus, a businessman notorious for his
unethical and ruthless practices, also felt an inner compulsion to see Jesus. Despite the man’s tough exterior and hard-
nosed reputation, God was pursuing him.
As Jesus passed by, many people shouted at Him to draw His attention. But suddenly Jesus spied the infamous tax
collector in a tree. He knew His Father was at work in that man’s life and called out, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come
down, for today I must stay at your house.” Scripture doesn’t tell us how, but Jesus recognized that the Father was
drawing Zacchaeus to Himself, and Jesus immediately joined Him.
God is at work among businesspeople around the world. There is a restlessness in many of their hearts as they realize
reaching the top of the corporate ladder or achieving financial goals does not bring the peace and contentment they’ve
SEEING ZACCHAEUS IN THE WORKPLACE
One man was at work when the Holy Spirit drew his attention to a particular colleague. Although he didn’t know the other
man well, he felt impressed to ask the coworker to lunch. Over lunch, the man confessed that just that morning, he had
left his wife. Before the day was over, the Christian had led this troubled coworker to place his trust in Christ and be
restored to his wife.
A salesman was making his regular rounds through the community when he saw a house for sale. A few weeks later, he
spied a moving van in the driveway of that house. Two weeks after that, he noticed a wheelchair ramp being installed by
the front door. Every time this Christian drove by that home, he felt the Spirit nudge him to find out who lived there.
Finally one day as he drove by, he felt strongly that he should pay a visit. So he stopped and rang the doorbell. The
house was not far from the salesman’s church so he decided to invite the stranger to church. A disabled man met him
with a bitter, lonely story. He was deeply grateful someone had cared enough to come by. The man said he had noticed
the church and wondered if its people were friendly or not. Now he knew.
Other businesspeople have discovered God has granted them prosperity so they can invest their wealth in the kingdom
of God. Suddenly, rather than being absorbed in their work, these men and women have found a new world of God’s
kingdom activity open up to them. Some have begun using their resources to build church buildings around the world.
Some have taken early retirement and gone to work for Christian organizations. Others have invested in Bible colleges
and seminaries that are training people for Christian ministry. Businesspeople have supported orphanages as well as
ministries to those suffering from hunger and disease. Jesus commanded those who would be His followers: “But seek
first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Jesus expects
every disciple to make it his or her first priority to be involved in the building of God’s kingdom and to trust God to
provide for all other needs.
I believe God is going to bring revival to North America, and I suspect He may bring it through the marketplace. Why?
For one thing, Christian businesspeople are interconnected across all denominations. Often, church leaders have little
contact with people of other denominations or even other churches. But businesspeople work through networks of
connections. They are also pragmatic and can be extremely creative.
Churches that learn to tap into the creative and administrative talents of their members in order to accomplish kingdom
work will discover God is using their people to dramatically impact their community and world. Businesspeople know how
important it is to communicate and to advertise. Many pastors are swamped with counseling and ministering to their
members and have little time to take on administrative challenges. But I have found that if you want to get a meeting
organized for a Christian event, ask a businessperson to organize it.
Businesspeople have access to people and places many church staff do not. They can contact government officials or
other influential leaders. They are not intimidated by secular leaders, whereas some ministers are. They can even
enter some countries that are opposed to Christianity and therefore closed to Christian missionaries. Today, thousands
of Christian businesspeople are discovering that God has provided them with unique opportunities and resources that
can significantly benefit the work of God’s kingdom.
EXPERIENCING GOD, by Henry & Richard Blackaby and Claude King, Copyright 2008, B&H Publishing Group.