Marketplace Worship

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by Rev Raymond Fong

Worship is more than just the offering of praises to God on Sunday. Romans 12:1-2 reminds us that worship is the giving of our entire lives as we present our bodies as acceptable living sacrifices, and are transformed through renewed minds that discern the will of God.

If Romans 12:1-2 is a daily process then a large part of our worship life is really lived in and through our professions and vocations. The following testimonies capture the heart of worship in the marketplace — a counter-cultural obedience that glorifies God.

May these stories inspire and encourage us to persevere in offering true worship in all that we are called to do. May we then work with all our heart, as if we are working not for men but for the Lord (Colossians 3:23).

Claire Chong, Public Servant,
Barker Road Methodist Church

As Christians, we're described as "Christ's ambassadors" — wherever we are, whichever day of the week and this extends to the workplace as well.

I remember making an honest mistake once at work, and found myself contemplating if I should own up to it. At the forefront of my mind were the possible consequences: do I choose to uphold integrity, even if it means risking my reputation?

As I prayed, God impressed upon my heart, "Who do you fear more? God, or man?" And immediately

I knew that I had to choose holiness and obedience over my pride. Surprisingly, when I admitted to the mistake, I was blessed with a gracious, understanding boss who was more concerned with the lesson learnt than finding fault!

I've come to discover that I can truly worship God at work — in being faithful to carry out my tasks the best that I can, upholding His commandments, and bringing hope and joy to those I meet each day.

 
Aaron Aloysious, Physical Education Teacher,
Methodist Church of the Incarnation

For me, worshipping God daily in my work means giving my very best during the lessons I conduct for my classes. This includes the dynamics I bring to the class, the energy of my lessons or just simply imparting knowledge. In all these, I strive to be the best as an act of worship for God. The first thing I do when I get to school is to do my daily devotions and say short prayers for the day, my classes and students before leaving for the flag-raising ceremony.

I recall one occasion when I invited my colleagues to a Good Friday stage production I was involved in. It's quite sensitive to talk about religion among the teachers but I thank God for the conviction to send out the invitation and five colleagues actually came to church to watch the production. Though the one non-Christian colleague that we wanted to reach out to did not come, I knew that God was teaching me to just obey Him, step out and reach out to those around me.

 
Nijendra Mahedra, Contractor,
Wesley Methodist Church

My worship of God is to spend time praying for each particular worksite, giving thanks for the Lord's provision and asking for His favour to guide me and the team as the project starts. As a daily habit, I pray regularly for my company, projects, staff and the workers for their safety and well being. I also pray for the righteousness of God to be established in the projects that my company oversees. I also do regular checks on my project sites to ensure that the supervisors and workers are producing good quality work (no cutting of corners), even when the client and consultants don't really see or care.

Just the other day when I visited one site, I happened to discover that my team had installed a structural system that was not according to the exact specification. They would have completed the work before the consultant's inspection and the defect would have gone unnoticed. I had to tell them to stop work on this, and to wait till the consultant came to inspect before proceeding. I called the consultant and explained to him the situation. The consultant was appreciative and we managed to find a positive solution without disrupting any work. I was also willing to pay for any cost incurred if the consultant had rejected this proposed resolution. Over the years, I have learned to always do what is right in the Lord's eyes, no matter what the inconvenience or cost is. For this situation, the Lord's favour was upon me and the team, and I could sense His pleasure.

 
Earl Tan, Creative and Communications,
Christ Methodist Church

It isn't easy to love Mondays. I used to hate the idea that the grind was going to start all over again for the week. But when my pastor told me that 'real' church life starts on Monday and that the work of my hands was my act of worship to God and to bring glory to Him, I knew I had to rethink my bad Monday attitude.

It isn't always easy to understand this, let alone apply it in the Communications industry. However, Dave Gibbons (author and activist) succinctly articulated this:

“The word glory conveys the idea of beauty. So as we do good work that reflects God's character... we unleash his beauty. People see God. Our work is a way to worship God... Work is an expression of our life in Christ. Separating the two is like separating 'being' and 'doing'. How do you know who you are being without considering what you are doing?"

We can't separate who we are from what we do. It's the congruence of our worship of Christ. I am reminded the next time I arrive at the office or my client's site, I am to remember who I am and consider what I am doing. My spiritual life is being manifested through my work every day. My work is worship.

 

Anonymous, A businessman,
Wesley Methodist Church

In business I stand on a very firm principle that I must never ever cheat anyone and this has helped me gain and establish trust from many. I also honour God by not taking revenge on those who have cheated me. The truth is that I have been cheated so many times, even big sums of money by persons who claim to be Christians. By God's grace, I have been able let go and move on. My worship of God is to trust him for His justice to be done.

Another way I worship God is to care for my staff as much as I can. Though I do feel bad for losing my temper at times, my staff knows that I am a fair person and that is why they will work for me till they retire. However, I will also reprimand them when work is not done or done wrongly but they know I just want them to learn from their mistakes.

One other way I worship God is to encourage fellow business associates to uphold ethical standards. I remember one occasion when I had to correct my business associate because I discovered him acting in a dishonest mariner. He was very upset with me but I thought I should correct him as a brother-in-Christ. This is my way of honouring God.

 
Lim Biow Chuan, Lawyer and Member-of-Parliament,
Ang Mo Kio Methodist Church

When I drive to work in the morning, the radio is usually turned off so that I can have quiet moments in the car. I like to commit the start of the day to God and seek God's blessings. I also try to reach the office early so that I can have some quiet time before the phone calls come in. Sometimes, I stay in the car park for a few minutes longer to listen to worship songs on the CD.

Sometime last year, a lady came to my office to seek advice on her marriage which was breaking down. She was visibly upset and wanted to ensure that all her legal rights are safeguarded. In the course of our discussion, she found out that I was a Christian. She then asked whether I could pray for her. It was not a usual request because most clients would have made up their minds about what they want by the time they approach a lawyer. However, since she asked, I decided to pray and asked God to grant her discernment and guide her decisions. After the prayer, she looked much less agitated and was more peaceful. I was glad that God allowed me to intercede for her and pray with her.

 

— OnTRAC 2nd Issue 2014

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