Your Impact on the World Around You
An essential part of God’s plan for you involves your life’s impact for Christ on others in the world. I call this “occupational vision.”
Webster’s Dictionary defines the word occupation simply as, “one’s primary business or endeavor in life.” While most people view their full-time vocations and their ministries separately, I don’t believe that is biblical. Even if you are not called into full-time ministry, what you do in the workplace is to be considered full-time ministry. Allow me to establish this in the Word, because viewing your job this way will do much to help you understand the vision God wants to reveal to your heart.
Let’s begin with Ephesians 4:11–12; “He [Jesus] gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping [that means maturing] of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying [or building up] of the body of Christ” (NKJV).
These are the full-time offices of ministry that God has set (see 1 Corinthians 12:18) in the body of Christ. Each has a different anointing that flows through that office, and you need to have regular contact with each one of these anointings if you are going to mature as a believer.
As you mature in the things of God, you will come to a place where you are sufficiently equipped spiritually “for the work of the ministry.” “Ministry,” in verse 12, is clearly not referring to the five-fold ministry offices in verse 11 because the beginning of verse 12 says “for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry.”
If you are born again into the body of Christ, you are a saint so this applies to all of us.
You ask, “So, what is the work of the ministry?” The Greek word for ministry in verse 12 means “to serve.” So then, when you’ve matured as a Christian, you are ready to do the work of serving others. But how do you serve them?
To truly serve people, you don’t just buy a homeless person a meal, for instance; you become a vessel through which the anointing, the power of God, can flow to others to remove the burdens and destroy the yokes so the captives can be set free. You serve lost and hurting people by serving them the Living Word, Jesus Christ, and getting them saved.
So, once you’ve gotten folks saved, then what? Do you leave them to just fend for themselves? No, Jesus not only told us to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, He also said, “make disciples of all nations.” You are to compel people to come to church so they can sit under the same anointings that caused you to mature spiritually so they also can mature and do the work of the ministry.
Allow me to tie your work of the ministry and your full-time occupation together with this question. Where are you going to have the most contact with unbelievers?
Social settings? No. The Lord said not to have fellowship with darkness. Fellowshipping with the unsaved will not infect them with your holiness. Rather, they will infect you with their unbelief.
Where then are you to have contact with the world? In your workplace, of course.
Do you think it is a coincidence you are working where you do? One of the reasons God has most of His people working secular jobs is so they can share their faith. There are people at your workplace you can reach with your personality and gifts that possibly no one else can.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:16 that we are to be lights unto this world so men seeing your good works will give God glory.
The people you work with may not be reading their Bibles but they are reading you. Your light shining brightly in their dark world will soften their hearts and draw them to God. Then, when a door of opportunity opens, you can share your faith from your heart or you can simply invite them to church. You see, your workplace is not just where you earn a paycheck, it is also your own personal harvest field. Your full-time occupation is also your full-time ministry.
Steal No More
The Word further describes the purpose for your job in Ephesians 4. Verse 28 says, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”
Dear friend, the primary purpose of labor is not to accumulate personal wealth, to buy a new car, or to take an extended vacation (although God clearly wants to bless you with these things). This verse says the reason you are laboring “at that which is good” is so you can “have to give to him that needeth.” In other words, you’re not working for a living. You’re working for a giving!
If you are not doing that, the Bible says, in a sense, you’re a thief. Actually, this verse defines three ways that someone can be a thief in the kingdom of God.
First it says, “let him labor.” The Greek word for labor means “consistent, diligent effort.” If you are not laboring in that fashion, the Bible says you are a thief, and you don’t need to be wondering why the blessings of God are not evident in your life.
Second, it says, “with his hands the thing which is good.” Obviously, that means you are to labor at something that is morally, ethically, and scripturally appropriate.
More than that though, notice it says, “labor with his hands.” Labor that is good for you specifically will utilize your God-given natural talents, abilities, and intellectual interests as well as your spiritual or motivational gifts spoken of in Romans 12:6–8.
Don’t simply take the job that offers the most income potential. You’ll be the most productive, you’ll be at your best, and you’ll enjoy your work the most if you’ll let God show you a place to labor that makes use of the gifts He has placed within you.
Lastly, even if you labor at that which is good, you’re a thief if your motive isn’t to “have to give to him that needeth.” Your motive for working is to be so you can provide income for the kingdom of God.
Making Your Supply
Now that you have to give, what do you do with it? Remember, the only thing you can give to somebody that will truly help them is Jesus—the Word of God.
Ephesians 4:16 ties all this together; “From whom (Christ) the whole body (or church) is fitly joined together and compacted.” How does it do this? It does it “by that which every joint supplieth.” For what purpose? The purpose is to “maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
God wants the church to increase so it has a greater capacity to reach out with His love and bring even more people into His kingdom.
The church is supernaturally equipped by God to meet the needs of those in the world by spreading the Gospel and ministering the anointing through the gifts in that body, but the church needs your supply to fulfill God’s plan for it.
Part of your supply is what you have financially to give to him that needeth. Bringing your financial supply to the church allows God to multiply the seed sown so it can affect the lives of many more people than each person’s supply individually could touch.
Your church also needs your supply of the gifts and talents God has placed within you. God has placed you in your church (1 Cor. 12:18) not only because He knows what anointings and impartations you need in order to grow and mature, but also because your church needs your gifts and anointings to fulfill the vision God has set before it.
As you share your faith and lead others to the Lord … as your light shines in your workplace and you invite others to church … as you make your supply of your God-given gifts and talents … as you work to be able to give … as you do the work of the ministry, the body of Christ increases … and because you are a part of the body, you increase.
Setting Proper Goals
Many Christians earnestly seek God concerning His plan for their ministries but totally overlook their daily occupations as having anything to do with that vision.
As a result, they strive for promotions and increases not to be a brighter light and a more influential person for Jesus but rather to be able to buy more things. If your motivation for working is to achieve a certain income level or to save enough to buy something or to reach a certain level of authority, you are missing out on a part of God’s plan for your life. There is a higher, more spiritually powerful motive.
When you purpose in your heart to work so you can give, when you are motivated to spread the light of the Gospel of truth to others in the dark world around you, then God will give you the influence, the increase, and the things you desire. God will show you how to prosper, and as others recognize His hand on your life, He will get the glory.
Begin today to open your heart to the vision God has for all areas of your life. Let your primary business, or endeavour, in life be the same as God’s. Who will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.