July 31, 2017 – Robert J. Tamasy When you hear the term “mission field,” what comes to mind? Typically we think of a distant land, with people living in an alien culture, speaking an unfamiliar, even strange language. Have you ever thought about the mission field that exists right outside your office or cubicle, or the people you will encounter during your next sales call?
Years ago, a friend of mine, Ken Johnson, established a ministry to business owners and top executives. One of his goals was to help each member recognize that they were missionaries – in their office buildings, manufacturing plants, and sales territories. In fact, Ken had little signs printed that he gave to everyone affiliated with his Christian Network Teams. The signs read, “You are now entering the mission field.”
Nowhere does the Bible specify that the only people who qualify as “missionaries” are those under the direct authority of a church or mission agency, or that their income must be generated solely through charitable contributions. For that reason, a business or professional person working with individuals who do not claim to be followers of Jesus Christ can rightly consider himself or herself a missionary.
When Jesus commissioned His followers near the end of His time on earth, He directed them to “therefore go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). Nowhere in this command did He indicate this must be done only within an institutional, religious context.
Similarly, in Acts 1:8 Jesus declares where serving others in His name should take place: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” In saying this, Jesus was describing the entirety of the known world at that time. He was instructing His followers, “Tell people about Me wherever you go, whether it is in the office next door, your neighborhood, across the city, or in a totally different part of the world.”
Thinking about this, it indicates that regardless of the source of our incomes, we are charged to serve as representatives of Jesus Christ – what CBMC calls “marketplace ambassadors” – wherever we go. We do not need a specific call to leave our professions or move to another part of the world. As someone has wisely said, God wants us to get involved with other people where we are – because we obviously cannot serve God where we are not.
Over its nearly 90 years of existence, CBMC has seen many thousands of men and women come to know Jesus Christ in a life-changing way, and many of them have grown to become faithful and zealous ambassadors for Him not only in their own cities and nations, but also wherever they travel and conduct business. A literal translation of Matthew 28:19 is, “As you are going, make disciples (followers) of Jesus.” Wherever we go – wherever opportunities God provides take us – we are to serve Him and reach out to others with His Good News.
© 2017. Robert J. Tamasy has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring, and edited numerous other books, including Advancing Through Adversity by Mike Landry. Bob’s website is www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com, and his biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.
- When you hear the word “missionary,” what words or images come to your mind?
- What is your reaction to the idea that you are a missionary, regardless of what kind of work you perform each day? How does the thought that “you are now entering the mission field” change your perception of or attitude toward the people you encounter over the course of working each day?
- The term “marketplace ambassador” has been mentioned? What does that mean to you? What would it look like for you to become – and act like – a marketplace ambassador?
- As you think about it, what kinds of obstacles come to your mind when considering serving as a missionary in the business and professional world? How can those obstacles be overcome?
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about principles it presents, consider the following passages: Isaiah 43:4; Mark 16:15; Colossians 4:5-6; 2 Timothy 2:2-6; 1 Peter 3:15-17