As a young boy, I loved to go to buffets. I had an insatiable appetite. The sight of so many foods was a delight! At a buffet, I could eat as much as I wanted, I had variety, and I came away full and satisfied. An additional benefit, my mother was not embarrassed by how much I ate!
The marketplace is a potential buffet table for display of God’s spiritual gifts. Character in the marketplace is on display as men and women use or misuse their spiritual gifts in practical forms.
Here are just a few illustrative examples to make the case.
Prophecy – Prophecy is primarily forth telling God’s truth. It could be on display in the honest creation of marketing and advertising materials. What a difference the gift of prophecy could make in a truthful marketing department. Being able to trust a business’ word is invaluable.
Serving-Serving could be exhibited in every position in a business from CEO to janitor, especially service with a smile and an attitude of graciousness. All of us have experienced good service and bad, and we often chose an establishment because of this serving attitude alone. Business’ such as Chick-Fil-A and Nordstrom come to mind.
Teaching – Every good supervisor has the opportunity to teach. It is not always in a formal classroom setting, but in the hour-by-hour on the job circumstances that businesses present. Biblical teaching requires patience, empathy, and discernment. In business, teaching is often called training, but whatever it is called it is an opening to display God’s giftedness.
Exhortation – What a difference managers could make if they exercised godly exhortation as an every day practice. Encouragement for praiseworthy conduct in a manner that speaks the truth with love and gentleness is a rarity that is much needed! Honest and constructive criticism is how adults love each other deeply. This gift is uncommon in church and the workplace.
Leadership – The marketplace screams for godly leadership instead of self-serving promotion and cut-throat internal competition. Every oarsman pulling in the same direction, at the same force, in the same rhythm, is the key to optimizing a crew-shell’s speed through the water. Godly leaders facilitate such teamwork and never seek the credit or glory. Leaders gifted by God could revolutionize the commercial-business world with godly precepts and examples.
Mercy – Business provides occasions for mistakes. Mistakes must be corrected. Merciful correction, while not condemning the individual, is the mercy-gift on display. An organization rife with this gift of mercy could provide a breeding ground for satisfied customers and fulfilled employees.
Giving – Time, money, and resources are available to give. Each can be given meagerly or generously in a godly fashion. The ethos of a team governed by godly giving is vastly different and more edifying than one dominated by a code of selfishness.
Administration – A marketplace governed by godly, gifted administrators would be a showcase of God’s goodness, wisdom, and compassion; and not simply an opportunity to wield power and process bureaucratic red-tape. Solving real human problems with godly discernment could change the world.
As a grown man, I would love to go to the marketplace as I went to the buffet; with an insatiable appetite for seeing God’s spiritual gifts on exhibition. An array of well prepared and succulent dishes of truth, service, teaching, exhortation, and giving; with a dash of leadership, mercy, and administration. The additional benefit is that such a table might tantalize and attract an unbelieving world to the Savior who created the dishes, and the Father would be glorified.