A remarkable story of God in the workplace

Frank posted this extraordinary story–a demonstration of how God wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives, including the workplace–on an earlier post. It is all the more unusual because it happened in the UK.

"In the early 80s, whilst out working, God clearly gave me a revelation for a business. The idea was totally novel; we found that there was no one else doing such a business model in the UK. 

The idea was to offer a particular household product and its installation at a fixed advertised price. The product was widely available as a DIY article, and indeed I had installed several recently, which is when God spoke to me about the business model.

I approached several manufacturers of the product, but none were willing to supply direct to an installer. They always directed me back to the builders merchants or diy chains for their correct supply route. The manufacturers could not see my idea as interesting to them. Later experience proved them very wrong indeed.

It took 2 years of searching and prayer for a way to advance the vision. Suddenly the door opened. We had supplies. We equipped and painted a van with our new logo and started advertising for installations on the local radio and in local papers.

Three days later we had to postpone all advertising, as we had an avalanche of over three months work, at several installations a day, working till 10 or 11pm!, We were inundated with phone calls day and night. 

Thankfully God brought another believer to help with the installations, another installer followed later.

Within the first year, we were buying more of these items direct from the manufacturer than all the purchases of the largest diy chain in Britain.

I cannot speak highly enough for the idea of working for God, but for me, it was never about making money so I could be a heroic contributor for the church missions. It was all about Jesus being Lord of ALL of me and ALL of mine.

Ever since I had come to know the Lord in the 70s, I was distressed that the value of scriptural truth was being lost because believers seemed to only understand it, and interpret it within the context of church meetings or evangelism. When they were away from church, their direction in life was really no different to non Christians. I personally held that any scripture should prove itself in the market place, and everywhere else, if it was a truth. Limiting it to church was to my mind, robbery.

I had asked God to lead me out of my full time employment so I could work for Him as my boss. He did just that. He proved the veracity of scriptural truth, well away from any church context. It gave me an amazing testimony which was illustrated by facts on the ground, not empty theology.

They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. Gradually other businesses started to copy our model. We then diverted into other products and the original plan became a small part of a bigger business. However what we had learned was crucial to how we ran all of our future business.

Ever since I set out to "demonstrate" what I thought was God's view of the working life, He has revealed himself in countless crazy circumstances, through dreams visions and prophetic words. That is how my business grew. He even led me to invent a simple product and patent it.

My boast is in God, and in his desire to bless those who will listen. I am really a most useless businessman with very little comprehension of proper business practices. God just brought the right people along when they were needed."

 

 

Would we be more effective if we were in full time ministry?

Office building
Photo credit (Creative Commons) swisscan

We have some friends who think that because my husband, Tony, runs a business that supports us, we are somehow missing out on the best God has for us. "How much more you could accomplish for God," they imply or say outright, "if you were full time in ministry."

Maybe they are right.

But I think they are missing something. In God's eyes, there is no difference between sacred and secular. God doesn't regard full time ministry as more "spiritual" than running a business. Life is a whole.

Tony has many opportunities to talk with people who would never speak with a "minister." Some open up their lives to him because he is willing to be vulnerable by saying something like, "I believe in a God who cared deeply about your situation. Would you be open to me praying for you?" Often they are in tears by the time he has finished praying.  

It's hard for someone to work in our company without becoming a Christian. (We employ the best person for the job, not necessarily believers.)

A businessperson can reach other business people, just as a skateboarder is more likely to be touched by another skateboarder.

We are called to live full time for the Kingdom, no matter how we make our living.

 

“God gave me this idea for a business…”

BlueprintPhoto: Creative Commons vaXzine

Perhaps because my husband, Tony, is a businessman, we regularly have Christians approach us: "God gave me this idea for a business. What do you think?" Sometimes it's a product they think everyone will buy. Sometimes a technology or a service.

So we ask them some apparently non-spiritual questions? 

  • Do you have any experience within this industry (whatever industry their idea fits within)? 
  • Do you have a business plan?
  • How will you market it? 
  • Where is the capital going to come from?
  • Do you know others with the expertise to help you?

Usually the import of their answer is something like this: "God gave me this idea. Therefore it will succeed." We often come away with the impression they think it will bring in a large amount of money for a minimum amount of effort, because, after all, God is in it.

In one sense, we have every sympathy with them. Jesus gave us an idea for a business out of the blue, and it has succeeded to the place where we have a team of people working for us leaving us free to do anything God asks us to do within the Kingdom. So we are convinced God is looking to give people an idea to "create wealth that he might establish his covenant" (Deut 8:18– a verse we prayed for many months). He is looking to free people financially through business to work in the Kingdom. We know many people for whom he has done this.

However, we had to learn from painful experience that a business will not succeed without good business practices and principles.

God doesn't often give us shortcuts. He expects us to be diligent to learn, put in long hours where necessary, use good business practices, bring in expertise (like lawyers and accountants) where needed. God isn't into "get rich quick" schemes.  

And he delights to bless.