by Sharman J. Monroe
Recently, I attended a business conference where a gentleman was recognized for an outstanding achievement. He spoke of the positive effect the company has had on his life, how it has changed him into a better man and how he, consequently, has positively affected the lives of thousands of people throughout the world. During his speech he said he was sold out for the company. Someone behind me immediately remarked “You need to be sold out for God.” For some reason I was immediately offended. I thought about the remark all night and wondered what does being “sold out for God” really mean.
Being sold out means being “100%” devoted to something; it means making something a priority in your life. Jesus taught us to make God a priority in our lives: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you” Matthew 6:33 (NKJV).
Of course, the obvious ways to be “sold out for God” are tithing, going to church, working in the church, doing missionary work, teaching Bible study, being a pastor, minister, deacon or elder, studying the Word, being part of the music ministry, using your spiritual gifts and doing a myriad of other church or religious activities. But, are church or religious activities the only ways or things you can do to be “sold out for God”? I mean, we do everyday non-religious activities also such a working at a job or running a business, driving kids to school, washing the car, cutting the grass, etc. Do these activities fall into the “sold out for God” category or are they useless time fillers and time wasters?
To find an answer I went back to the beginning. God created everything in this world and gave everything a purpose (Genesis 1). Everything’s main purpose, including mankind, is to bring glory and honor to God, i.e., be sold out for God. Second Timothy 1:9 says:
[God] has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.
We are basically dirt which we return to when we die. But God has given us intellect, talents, skills and abilities with which we can carry out our purpose in the world. Romans 12:4,6 (NKJV) declares:
For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
And 1 Corinthians 12:4-5 (NJKV) says:
There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.
Now the words “minister” and “ministries” were stumbling blocks for me because to me a minister was someone preaching and teaching God’s Word, clearly a “sold out for God” activity. Then I studied the above scriptures and found that, according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the word “minister” in the above verses comes from the Greek word “diakonia” which means service. Okay, anybody can do that!
I studied further in the Bible and found these scriptures:
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:17
God expects us to use our talents, skills and abilities in a godly manner to minister to one another and bring glory to Him. In other words, God wants you to sell out your talents, skills and abilities to Him. So it isn’t the activity that determines whether you are “sold out for God” but your motive in doing the activity. Are you doing an activity for the Lord or are you doing it for men? (Colossians 3:23-24).
We need to move away from separating church work from our everyday work and see all our activity as work done for God, as work we do to show we are “sold out to God”. In the Bible, Joseph was an excellent government official and administrator (Genesis 41:37-45), as were David (1 Samuel 16:1-13; 2 Samuel 2:1-4; 8:15-18) and Daniel (Daniel 2:46-49; 6:1-3). Deborah was a well-respected judge (Judges 4). While doing their everyday non-religious activities or work, these people were ministers to others. They were “sold out to God” and God was glorified.
Learning this was a great relief to me. In the past, I was a Mom doing Mom and housekeeping stuff, a PTA volunteer, a Girl and Boy Scout volunteer and a judge practicing law. Today, I’m a grandmom doing grandmom stuff and a business owner. (I’m taking writer out of the equation for this discussion because I see that through my writing I am a minister even by old my definition!) I used to worry, however, that when I used my skills and talents to do non-church related things, I didn’t glorify God. I used to struggle with whether using my talents and abilities to be a business owner is something that glorifies God because owning a business is usually associated with greed, self-promotion, ruthlessness, and using people, some very un-godly things.
Now I know better and I have found people who understand that being “sold out for God” doesn’t mean just doing church work. Two dynamic ladies, Ministers Karen Carey and Brenda Wells recently started a ministry for women called Business Women in the World (www.bwitw.com/). Their tagline is “Women who win with the Word”. Each month, the ministers issue a newsletter full of encouragement and testimony “to empower women who are in the work place, operating a business, running a home, pursuing academic aspirations or any other type of dreams.” You can go to Facebook and Like their Page to get daily messages and interact with them. (www.facebook.com/BusinessWomenInTheWord). Through their teaching and encouragement, I learned I do glorify God using my talents and skills to be a godly business owner.
God is in control of all things all the time. He has a good plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11). It would be foolish to think His plan covers only your life on Sunday and your church activities. He put you where you are now whether it is in the workplace or in the home, and He put you there to use your talents and skills to glorify Him. So if working with numbers is easy for you, excel at it! People like me desperately need you. If you love working with children, own it! Parents want their children around people who cherish them. If you are an awesome administrator and organizer, work it! So many of us need to be organized. If you can motivate and encourage people to reach their goals, go for it! People need to realize their God-given dreams. If you work as a doctor, lawyer, secretary, construction worker, engineer, stay-at-home parent, corporate CEO or CTO, or work in any of the myriad of jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities available today, don’t be shy! God gave you the abilities and skills to do that job or run that business so you can minister to people and glorify Him.
Be a light to the world. Let talents and skills shine daily, and use them in a godly manner. Be “sold out for God” no matter what you do!
Question for Comment: How are you “sold out for God”?