Daily Readings: Exodus 31-32, Romans 1
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts.”
Romans 1:16-17, 21-24
This devotional was originally created to challenge people to become missionaries wherever God has called them in their lives. It was started to help people lean in to their role as marketplace missionaries, recognizing that not everyone is called into a remote corner of the world to preach the gospel (Thank you to those of you who have been called and faithfully listened!!) but that we are all called to be missionaries.
So I frequently get asked, “How can we do this? How can I be a marketplace missionary?” I believe this begins with embracing these passages from Paul that we read in Romans.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel…”
If you were to ask most practicing Christians if they are ashamed of the gospel they would immediately say, “No! Of course not! I just think there is a time and place for it and you need to tread lightly while at work.”
There are two simple questions that every Christian should ask themselves in regards to being a more effective marketplace missionary.
- Does everyone I work with know I am Christian, and not just in the cultural sense where I head to church each Sunday, but that I absolutely chase after Jesus and allow that relationship to inform all that I do?
- Do they see me actively engaged in doing the work that Jesus challenged us to do here on earth; caring for the poor, helping the marginalized, and sharing the good news of grace by faith?
Would other people say that you are unashamed?
Shame is natural. Shame is human. It is the #1 weapon of the enemy. We all get that knot in our stomach putting ourselves out there. Every time I go to post a blog on social media anywhere, Satan whispers little lies in my ear.
“Are you posting too much? They know where to find your blog if they actually care to read it. You have over 1,000 Facebook “friends” and how many will even take the time to click “like”, 4, 5, maybe 6? What are the rest thinking? You know you have a lot of agnostic and atheist friends, right? You run a company. Shouldn’t you be a little more careful to not alienate potential clients with your social media presence?”
Every time I am speaking at a secular conference, on a leadership development call, etc. Satan is there with his wonderful words of encouragement…
“Do you really want to reference that on this call? Really? Prayer? Time with God in the morning? Surrendering to his will? Half the people on this call will tune out as soon as you go down that path. That is not what this call is for. Shouldn’t you be saving that type of advice for the people you already know follow Jesus?”
Shame comes. It is inevitable. To be a marketplace missionary means doing battle with this shame. It means equipping ourselves with the truth of the gospel so that we can respond:
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes!” –Romans 1:16
“Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” –Matthew 4:10
A funny thing happens when you lean into your own discomfort and live transparently for Christ…people respond.
I am not overbearing in the way I share my faith, but it is always present. People know where I stand and why I do what I do in my life. I am always attempting to rally people to the cause of giving their lives over to Christ, submitting fully to his will throughout the day, allow the spirit to work through them, having faith that God will provide, taking his yoke upon us, caring deeply about social justice and caring for the oppressed, etc.
Being a marketplace missionary means living unashamed of the gospel in all phases of life and not just with Christian friends.
Now, this doesn’t mean swinging the pendulum to the point where you are standing on a street corner with a sign condemning everyone to hell. Hearts need to be won over. No one has ever come to Christ because of us condemning them. Hearts are won over by the message of the extreme undeserved grace that God showered down on us in all of our brokenness. Hearts are won over when people are able to see us living a vulnerable life and willing to share the challenges, heartaches, and weaknesses we have without cleaning it up first for public consumption.
People are more attracted to the gospel through your unfiltered brokenness than your amazing charisma. In our brokenness we can share about God’s love. In our brokenness, God’s perfect plan can be beautifully revealed.
So start by being unashamed. Share an occasional Bible verse in a meeting, have your Bible sitting on your desk, share the occasional blog post on social media, let the world know you are Christian and unashamed. It doesn’t have to be overbearing. I am incredibly close friends with lots of people that do not follow Christ. They are not turned off by my faith because I respect them exactly where they are at and love them regardless.
Then live out the Christian faith and serve others first instead of chasing after what society tells us makes us a success. There is no more powerful example you can set!
Thought to ponder
How can I make the answer to the questions above, a more resounding “YES!”?
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