You follow Jesus daily. You don’t just “go to church.” You are the church, so not being the church in the marketplace would be a compartmentalized way to live wouldn’t it?
But how? There are so many limitations. So many agendas. So much else that captures your mind and energy.
Well, over the last 7 years we have emphasized “living sent” in the marketplace, and so in the coming Wednesdays I will share stories with you of folks we are grateful to walk with that are definitely cultivating the Gospel in the marketplace in many different ways. But for today, I wanted to offer three very basic yet essential suggestions that hopefully will encourage you to be cultivating the Gospel in the marketplace:
That’s right. Just be a listener. And as Tommy Nelson suggests in his “Song of Solomon” study regarding marital relationships, “listen with your face!” This is good for marketplace relationships, too. In other words, give the person you are listening to your full attention. Even with that full inbox waiting to be emptied, even with that voice mail docket full, even with that Facebook news feed eagerly anticipating your unnecessary review, listen fully and compassionately to the people with whom you work. Over time, they might actually believe you care.
2. Help co-workers get ahead.
Do you believe the last shall be first, or don’t you? Do you agree with the command to give your coat, too, when they ask for your shirt? Do you really think life works abundantly when you put the interests of others above your own? Then cultivate the Gospel in the marketplace by living those in the rhythms of your daily. Don’t be a doormat or a martyr. Those usually lead to personal prideful entitlement. Sincerely love others, which means you care more about what they are becoming than what you are becoming. Even take initiative and be intentional about supporting and sharpening co-workers, even that competitor. Jesus did. He loved us first, even laid down His life that we might live. He then gave us a new command to love like He loved us. This is a very difficult yet very fruitful way to cultivate the Gospel in the marketplace.
3. Cultivate daily, don’t try to reap daily.
This one may be hard to swallow for some because of the way “evangelism” has been emphasized in American church culture. But you are not called to go do evangelism FOR God, but rather to do it WITH Him. Follow Him and listen to Him and love like Him. His Spirit will prompt you for those atypical occasions when you need to ask the compelling, inviting questions that might lead someone to trust that what Jesus did is enough. But as a norm, cultivate for that reaping, cause you don’t control that reaping and you can force it either. People are most convinced about the Gospel when they see it make sense in the rhythms of daily life. So, live it and speak it and engage more personally with it when prompted. But don’t ever forget that kindness leads to repentance. Presence, not presentation.
So, there you go. Hopefully that will encourage you as you live sent in the marketplace.
And don’t forget – don’t be swiping somebody else’s Oreos in the break room. That never goes over well.