Work: My mission in the marketplace


Rick Warren


(2 Corinthians 5v11-21)


It is talked about in business circles– from huge international conglomerates to one-man outfits. It has become a buzz-word in the business world – any organisation worth its salt has one these days. WHAT? A ‘mission statements’.

A good mission statement is useful, even necessary, to achieve purpose and direction and goals.

Having a ‘mission statement’ is only good IF it is achievable and If action is taken to work towards it.

Having a purpose and a mission maybe the latest in business buzz-words but it is far from new.

The apostle Paul was a man with a mission.  He understood that the moment you become a Christian, God gives you a new purpose for living.  The moment you become a Christian, God gives you a new mission. Acts 20:24 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. (NIV)

In Acts 20:24 he says,, “Life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus (that’s his mission, then he tells us what it is) – the work of telling others the Good News about God’s mighty kindness and love.”  That was his mission.  And that’s your mission.  You say, “Well, what is my mission in life if I’m a Christian?


ILLUS.: Work for Unilever in Gulf – prayed for!! But not if in London?

Teacher in inner city – not prayed for – goes to work at TEAR fund with 172 other Christians and gets a place on the missionary board!!!!




Acts 1:8 –  Jesus said, You will be my witnesses… to the ends of the earth.”

WITNESSING is sharing what God has done in my life, in my life.  – – because you are the authority on that.  You don’t have to be a Bible scholar to be a witness for Jesus Christ.  You just have to say, “Here’s what God has done in my life.”  And if you can say that, you can be a witness.


Notice – John 17:18, Jesus says “I sent them into the world just as you sent me into the world.”  We are sent into the world by Jesus Christ if you are a Christian?

What do you think of when I say the word missionary?  Some of you say cannibals.  Pith helmets, jungles, some place far away.  Did you know that the Bible says every Christian is in a broad sense a missionary. Because you have a life mission.  In a broad sense every Christian is a minister/missionary.  You don’t become a missionary by crossing the sea OR a minister by wearing a dog-collar.  God has made you to be a representative of Jesus Christ in your work.  (Cor.5 – ambassadors) You are–it’s not negotiable, it’s not optional; if you’re a Christian, you’re a witness.  Part of the joy of being a Christian is the privilege of helping other people come to know Christ.  Now why is that so important?  Well, there are two reasons.




  1. We have a life-saving message.

That means that there are eternal consequences to what we’re sharing.  We’re talking about Heaven and hell here.  Romans 10:13-14, “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.  But how shall they ask him to save them unless they believe in him?  And how can they believe in him if they’ve never heard about him?  And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?”  Does this make sense?  Sure!  Who does God expect to tell them?  Us, me, you, all of us!  That’s what it means.


ILLUS.: – story about God talking to an angel one day and God says “Here’s my plan for spreading the good news.  I’m going to have everybody go about daily their work and share the good news in their niche of society–with the people they work with.”  And the angel said, “Well, that’s great, but what happens, God, if they don’t share? What your plan B” God says, “I have no plan B.”  There is no other plan.


How can they be saved unless they hear and how can they hear unless somebody tells them?


ILLUS.: What’s the greatest thrill that you could possibly have – imagine this, if you get to Heaven and somebody comes up to you and says, “I just want to thank you–I’m here because of you.”  When you get to Heaven, will there be anybody to say that to you?  “I’m here because of you.”  There’s no greater joy than sharing Jesus Christ!


“Have you lost the joy in my Christian life – like when you first became a believer.”  Do you know the quickest way to get it back?  Start telling other people.

One dearest things to the heart of God is when we tell others about his Son.  Tell the Good News, and it is good news.  Look at this verse:  “…the Good News is to heal the broken-hearted and announce that captives shall be released, the blind shall see; that the downtrodden shall be freed from oppression, and that God is ready to give blessings to all who come to him.”  Luke 4:18-19. That’s the first sermon of Jesus Christ.  It’s the very first sermon and He lists the benefits — it’s good news for hurting people.”  And He lists several different kinds of hurting people.

Do you know any people who are broken-hearted?

Do you know any people who are confused?

Is there any possible chance that there’s somebody at your workplace who is discouraged?

Do you know anybody who’s stressed out?

Tell them the Good News.  Don’t ram it down their throats / don’t be critical and arrogant and holier-than-thou.  BUT is a sensitive, sincere, simple and talk about your faith in Jesus and what he has done for you and longs to do for them. We have a life-saving message and the world’s far more ready to hear it than we’re ready to share it!

“Be a witness.”  Just say, “This is what happened to me.”


  1. People are hungry to hear it.

Matthew 9:36-37 36 When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. (NIV)

“What pity [compassion] Jesus felt for the crowds, because their problems were so great, and they didn’t know what to do or where to go for help… the harvest is so great, and the workers are so few…”  Matthew 9:36-37.

………..three things;

–        Problems were great

–        They didn’t know what to do

–        They didn’t know where to go for help


Do you know anybody like that?

Satan has us believe a lie. The myth is “most people aren’t interested in talking about spiritual things.”  That’s just not true.  In fact interest in spiritual matters has increased in the last 10 years, not decreased.


The fact is that most people believe in God – most people believe in some kind of life after death – in spite of a century and a half of evolutionary theory!!


That doesn’t mean they are Christians, it doesn’t mean they’ve committed their lives to Christ, it just means they believe in spiritual things in some way.

So what we’re dealing with is people called pre-Christians.  They’re not necessarily anti the gospel [they probably don’t know what it is!] they’re probably turned off the church!! {People reject a wrong image of God –


The media talk about God and religion, sometimes negatively, but sometimes very positively. If they talk about it how much more should Christians.


ILLUS.: Letter to Surrey Ad .. 20/04/2001

Now there a talking point!! “I read this letter in the Surrey Ad – what do you think about it?” THEN LISTEN – one of the most significant steps in witnessing for Christ is learning to listen! So often we have this pre-packaged message – THE GOSPEL – that we want to deliver whether or not people are ready to hear.

Then we are rejected – BUT maybe it is not so much the message of Jesus they are rejecting and my crass insensitivity to them and their situation – listen!


Maybe the world is far more ready to receive the Good News than we are ready to share it.  They are looking for answers.  People all around you are looking for relief, for answers and you’ve got the answer. Because Jesus said, “The problem isn’t the harvest, the problem is limited workers – with an understanding of the harvest.”



Colossians 3:17 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (NIV)


Colossians 3:17“Whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus…” 


You are a representative of Jesus Christ–you are an ambassador in the world, if you’re a Christian, you represent Jesus in your work.  And God has placed you where you are so you can represent Him.

ILLUS.: ALL crops are not harvested the same way – a combine might be great for wheat but it is not so good for apples!!

Do we need to be sensitive to the harvest field in which God has placed us? ILLUS.: Parable of the weeds – we are placed in the world by the Son of Man!!


Now work takes on new meaning when you understand, “I’m here at my work – place here by God’s Son.”

We can represent Jesus Christ two ways, “Whatever you do or say.”

Doing.  Walk the walk and talk the talk, we need audio/visual Christians.  We need show and tell Christians.  We need visual Christians and verbal Christians and you’ve got to have both.  One without the other is not enough.

You say, “Well, my witness is my life.”  Even Jesus had to tell people.  You may be living a nice, moral life–they may just think you’re a Boy Scout. You got tell them why.  You need to be verbal and visual.  And one day, God is going to say, “Who’d you tell?  If it was such good news, and you’ve got your eternal salvation secured, who’d you tell?  Did you ever think of sharing with anybody?”

You say, “Well, they’re not interested.”  What do you think God will say to that!!  Now, there are three specific ways I can be a witness at work:


  1. By the quality of my work.

Shoddy workmanship is a poor testimony.  – taxi driver – repairman – computer programmer, cleaner, teacher, plumber, whatever.  Christians are called to competence, – quality performance.

Excellence in the marketplace –  Christians ought to set the standards.

Notice this verse, “The quality of each man’s work will be seen when the Day of Christ exposes it.”  1 Corinthians 3:13. Do you think that only refers to ‘spiritual work’? NO!!


  1. By my positive attitude.

Philippians 2:14-15       14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe

“Do all that has to be done without complaining or arguing…and you will shine in the world like bright stars as you offer it the Word of Life.”  Philippians 2:14-15.

One of the ways to stand out in a negative, dark world, is to be positive.  When you find a positive person in a negative work environment, that makes a difference.  Paul says, don’t be a cynic, go the second mile when needed, have a proper respect for authority, be positive!


You may be thinking, “BUT you don’t know my work situation, it’s hard to be positive when you’re in a negative work environment like I am.”  Yes, it is.  It can be unbelievable difficult.

You might even think “Oh, I wish I could just work with all Christians.  I get so tired of working with people who are negative, and cuss and tell dirty jokes; I just wish I could work with all Christians.’  AND God is up there shaking His head saying, “NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!  You missed the point!  I don’t want you working with all Christians, that defeats your mission.  I want you out there being salt and light and infiltrating the world.  I don’t want you coming over here in some little Christian ghetto, some holy huddle, I want you out there!  I want you out there sharing with those hard-core unbelievers.  Sharing the good news.”

You are the only Bible some people will ever read.


ILLUS.: Janet – midwife – delivery suite – doctor telling a dirty story – other staff told him to stop because Janet was there – SHE didn’t say anything!!


  1. By telling the Good News.

Colossians 4:5 5 Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. (NIV)

Colossians 4:5, “Make the most of your chances to tell others the Good News.  Be wise in all your contacts with them.”


ILLUS.: Howard Hendricks  [Professor of Theology an Dallas Theological Seminary – or was?!] tells the story about a flight he was on. The man sitting in front of him was an absolute jerk.  He was just being grumpy, and irritable, and rude; and rude to the stewardess and then he got drunk and he was even ruder.  The stewardess was handling him with complete class–just poise, confidence, and she was polite and gentle and patient.  Howard Hendricks was just incredibly impressed how unflappable this stewardess was with this jerk.

After about 20 minutes of this, she went to the back, so he got up and went back to the galley to talk to her.  And he said, “You know, I’m a regular flyer on American Airlines, I’m just so impressed at how you handled that irritable, rude man.  I would like to write a letter to those in authority at American Airlines to just thank them for your great service if you’d just tell me your name.”  And she said, “Well, I thank you for that, sir, but you need to understand; I don’t work for American Airlines.”  He was kind of stumped and said, “You don’t?”  She said, “No, sir, I work for Jesus Christ–and He’s the one who helps me be patient with people.”  He said, after I picked myself up off the floor (Laughter) she started witnessing to me.  Now, until she verbalised why she did what she did; nobody would have known.  I mean, he might have just thought she’s just a nice lady.  But she had to say, “Why am I doing it?”


Decorator –   After he’s finished a good job, he starts to write out the bill and he hands them the bill and he says, “Now, you’ve seen my side job, let me take 5 minutes and tell you about my real work.”  Tells of his life mission as a witness for Jesus Christ.

Ophthalmologist – “Would you read the first line.”  CHART “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”


Don’t use your Boss’s time for spiritual work – if you are paid to teach – teach! To nurse, nurse – to cut hair then cut hair … in other words don’t use your Christian responsibility to witness as an excuse not to do your work – if you are on your own time that is different. When a carpenter I had lots of time to talk to people BUT it was my time!!


1 Peter 3:15 15. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

“Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you.  But do it with gentleness and respect.”  1 Peter 3:15.

Many Christians find it difficult to explain how they trusted Christ.  In fact, if you were asked to explain, could you do it?

Could you say, “Here is how to become a believer.”


You don’t have to carry your Bible around, in fact a big, black Bible is intimidating to a lot of people. Carry a little card around – if it will help you —


essentials for having salvation; there are four essentials for knowing Jesus Christ.      –          Faith

–        Grace

–        Repentance

–        Lordship

But those are words people don’t understand, so put it in non-technical terms.


Questions to ask–How to Establish a Spiritual Base for My Life–four questions and a prayer.  And the verses that correspond.


It’s a very simple tool.

If the conversation happens to come up on spiritual things, you are prepared. You could say, “You know, I ran across a little card the other day on How to Establish a Spiritual Base for My Life From My Bible, would you like to see it?”  “Well, sure.”  You pull it out and it says that the Bible evidently indicates that there are four things I need to do to establish a spiritual base for my life.  You ask the question, they give a yes or no answer, if they say yes, you go to the next question.  if they say no to any one of the questions, you simply say, “Well, if I could get you some information that would help you make that decision, would you read it?”  If they say yes, great! –Turn the conversation over to something else.  You don’t have to argue with them, just be a witness.  There’s no pressure with this.

Four things:


  1. Am I willing to believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for me and showed He was God by coming back to life?

Most people have some belief in God.  “It is this Good News that saves you.  That Christ died for our sins as the scripture says He would, that He was buried and three days afterward He rose from the grave.”  It’s a fact.  Millions and millions of people celebrate that every Easter.


  1. Am I willing to accept God’s free forgiveness for my sins?

“now God says he will accept and acquit us, declare us not guilty if we trust Jesus Christ to take away our sins.”  We can all be saved in this same way, by coming to Christ, no matter who we are or what we’ve been like.


  1. Am I willing to accept to God’s plan for my life?

That’s a non-technical way of talking about repentance.  Switch to God’s plan for my life. “Turn from your sins and act on this glorious news, don’t let the world squeeze you in its own mould, but let God remake you so your whole attitude of mind is changed.”  Say, from here on I am choosing God’s plan for my life.  I want to live the way He made me to live.


  1. Am I willing to express my desire for Christ to be the director of my life?

Bible says, “If you declare with your lips Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Declare with your lips, that means express Jesus is Lord.  What does Lord mean?  It means director, manager, boss, chairman of the board, He’s in charge.


Now that took me about 45 seconds to share the basics of how to come to know Christ.


5.       If they say yes to all of those, you simply say,  “Will you say this simple prayer aloud?”  “Dear Jesus, I accept what you’ve done for me and I want to begin following your plan for my life today.”   That’s it.


You can use this, this week.  Just keep it in your purse or your wallet or in your pocket.  Have it ready!  So that when something comes up you’ve got it ready.


Now there’s one more verse on the outline,  2 Timothy 1:7-8 7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

8 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, …

Do you know how you get rid of the fear of talking to others about Christ?  You love them.  There is no fear in love–perfect love casts out all fear.  When you love somebody, you care enough to tell them the Good News.


Now let me give you a little homework assignment this week.  I want you to go home and I want to make a list of three people that you care about who are not believers and I want you to start praying for them every day.  Don’t do anything about it, don’t talk to them, nothing!  Just pray for them every day and let God act and just watch what happens.








“WITNESS”:  Sharing what God has done in

MY life.


Every Christian is a witness / minister.




1. We have a life-saving message!


2.  People are ready to hear it!




1. By the quality of my work.


2.  By my positive attitude.


3.  By ­­­­­­telling the Good News.


We are Christ’s ambassadors



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