The last time, I highlighted the truth that God-ordained craftsmen hold the key to stemming the slide of Nigeria’s economy and restoring every aspect of the polity.
We saw that God anoints people for special assignments and equips them with grace, gifts and abilities that enable them to do things others cannot do or do things at a level of excellence, which is beyond what is humanly possible.
The question I am asking in this piece is: Considering that we as Christians have access to God, our Heavenly Father, who gives every good gift, including the grace to be exceptional in every field of endeavour, why are many of us lagging in business and careers across fields?
I was speaking to a group of Christians, who are fervent in prayers and committed to God’s work, and I asked those who are in business to raise their hands. More than half raised their hands. I then said, “If you have not done a turnover of up to N1 million this year (that is from January to August 2023), drop your hand”. More than 90% of those in business dropped their hands. I was shocked and alarmed that only very few of these wonderful Christian businesspeople had managed to make a turnover of up to N1 million in eight months.
That exercise showed me clearly that many Christians are lazy, fearful, procrastinate a lot, and do not apply the principles of the Kingdom of God in their business and career.
I acknowledge that evil spirits do oppose people in business and careers. Some people have done their best but they are still unable to make much progress because they are opposed by some spiritual forces. But the truth is that casting out the spirits opposing a Christian in business or career is the easy part. The difficult part is getting the person to be disciplined, and to diligently and consistently conduct their business with Kingdom principles.
Despite God’s grace and Divine empowerment, some Christians seem to have decided to stay poor and needy and have refused to work or engage in any productive endeavour. Year after year, they fail to obey God’s instructions or engage their God-given talents. Rather, they resolve to rely on the kindness and benevolence of other Christians. They are comfortable receiving only and never giving, living contrary to the Lord’s saying that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
It is not a new phenomenon. Let no one tell you that it has to do with the current economic woes. Apostle Paul frowned at it about 2000 years ago and made that classic rule in Second Thessalonians chapter three, verse 10: “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” (The English Standard Version).
It is important to understand the context of this text. Many Christians do not realise that laziness, idleness and being a busybody are not acceptable in the Kingdom of God. Here Paul was admonishing Christians in Thessalonica on how to treat people among them who refuse to work and be productive.
From verse six he said, “Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labour we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate.
“For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.”
This is not to discourage Christians from giving or helping a brother or sister in need. Paul said we should leave such a person for some time so that they can become ashamed and challenged to do something and engage their God-given abilities to earn a living.
In the kingdom of God, profitability and fruitfulness are of great concern and priority. God expects everyone to be productive: those on the pulpit or in the pew. Everyone must produce something to the glory of God, who supplies grace.
The motive of business is profitability, not speaking in tongues. You can speak in tongues to generate ideas, but you must go out and engage in the business until it becomes profitable and transgenerational. When you make a profit in business as a Christian, it is unto the Lord, not to any man’s glory. We must acknowledge this.
Christian businessmen and women need to wake up. Your sector needs you to download ideas from God this season and implement them. When you are supposed to seal a deal is not the time to go to the mountain to pray.
However, prayer is inevitable. As a businessman or woman, you need to pray long and fervently because business is over 80% spiritual. Many of the people you deal with in the business world are spiritual. They are in league with different kinds of spirits to gain an advantage in the marketplace. You cannot ignore the advantage you have with the Holy Spirit. That is why you must pray. But let the Holy Spirit lead you on when to go on prayer retreats and when to be out in the field engaging in your business. Romans chapter 12 verse 11 summarises this: “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” This means both diligence in business and fervency in spirit are service unto the Lord.
Our Lord Jesus prescribed a more severe way of treating unprofitable servants. In Matthew 25, Jesus told the parable of the talents. Three servants of a wealthy businessman were given talents: five, two and one, according to their management abilities. Note: We all have management abilities. The one that got five and the one that got two engaged in business immediately. They did not waste any time. The one that got one talent went and dug a hole in the ground and hid it. All three made efforts but the efforts of the first two were profitable. They doubled their investments. But the effort of the third servant was unprofitable.
When the master returned from His journey, He demanded that the servants should give an account of what they had done with what they received. He was happy with those who doubled their investments and rewarded them and was angry with the one who buried what he received. He commanded that the unprofitable servant be cast away into outer darkness, a place of misery. And Jesus said this is how the Kingdom of Heaven is.
This tells us that Heaven is keen on profitability. Being unprofitable is not tolerated. God is irritated by people who refuse to bear fruit after Heaven has invested a lot in them. The Bible says God cuts off every branch that does not bear fruit (John chapter 15, verse two). This applies to all Christians whether you are in any of the five-fold ministries or the marketplace.
If much has been given to you, much is expected of you. So, wake up and engage. God bless you.
. Reverend Austin Ukporhe is the Point Man (Resident Pastor) at Remnant Christian Network, Lagos. Raised in Sokoto, northern Nigeria, he was trained in peculiar firebrand evangelism and was ordained as a pastor in 2001. He has experienced countless and diverse workings of the faithfulness of God over two decades and has developed a passion to see God’s will for Nigeria become a reality. He can be reached on +2348060255604.