This week I am attending a Chamber of Commerce Coffee Hour.  This particular coffee hour will be recognizing members who have renewed their membership.  After receiving the invitation for the church I decided to say yes to setting up a display about our church.

 As I thought about the invitation I asked myself, “Why should a church be involved in the chamber?”

 Rather than spend a lot of time wrestling with whether or not the church’s involvement compliments or detracts from the church’s mission and purpose, I moved on to a second question.  What could a church possibly offer to business people?

 I think the answer is twofold.

 First, the church has a responsibility to teach what God has ordained for mankind to do.  And among the responsibilities and obligations that God has placed on humanity is work.

 Ecclesiastes 3:22 says, “So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot.”

 We are often tempted to see work as a necessary evil, or as simply as a means to an end.  But this is not the way God designed things.  Even in the Garden of Eden, God designed and assigned work to Adam—Adam was to name all of the animals and he was to tend to the garden.  For Adam, these were good things.  They were things that brought him joy.  Why?  Because in doing these things with excellence, he was pleasing his Creator.  We find joy and happiness when we please someone with whom we are in a loving relationship.

 I believe this is the key to finding enjoyment in work—that we do our work to the glory and honor of the God we love.  1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

 So whether we are a janitor or a CEO, we can find joy in our work when our ambition drives us to work in such a way that our loving God is glorified and pleased with what we have done.

 Second, the church also has a responsibility to teach that there is more to this life than our work.  We live in a culture that identifies success by the size of our house and the size of our toys.  Our culture tells us that if you succeed in life you will be happy.  If you achieve your dreams you will find joy.

 Here is where the American Dream can lead people into misery.  Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is not all there is to life.  There is a reason why Howard Hughes died in misery.  His quest for life, liberty and happiness caused him to succumb to the lie that we can ultimately please ourselves.

 This lie of self- fulfillment is exposed when we start asking the question, “what’s next?”  I want a nicer home.  OK.  There’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but what’s next?  I want a nice car.  Again, there’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but what’s next?  Better school, kids, prestige, portfolio etc.  But what’s next?

 At some point in our life, we finally reach the end of this line of questioning and the end is always the same.  What’s next?  Death.  As the joke goes, there are only two guarantees in life, death and taxes.  So why do businessmen and women make provision for their taxes, but not death?  People will go to great lengths to make sure that they don’t make mistakes with their taxes. Carefully planning and meetings with CPA and tax attorneys are the norm. 

 But when it comes to death, why do people just assume everything will just work out in the end?  Why do people assume that they know about death and thereafter when they have never given any serious thought?  And even if they have given it some thought, why would they also not seek council from those whose sole responsibility to know these things?

 I don’t proclaim to know everything about my tax liability, so I go to a professional.  I don’t proclaim to know everything about my health, so I go to a doctor.  I don’t even proclaim to know everything that the Bible teaches, so I regularly meet with other professional pastors to discuss these very things.

 The purpose of the church has two parts.  First the church is to lead people in worshipping God.  Second, the church is to proclaim to people how they might have a right relationship with God.  This is where the purpose of the church intersects the business world.  (They also intersect at the point of morality and ethics, but that is for another time.)

 As Americans we can get so caught up in our work and business pursuits that we forget – or purposefully ignore—that there is more to life.   What is the purpose of life?  The answer is not found in work, or family or pleasure, or anything other than God’s glory.  It is the purpose of the church to answer this question, “How can I glorify God?”  That way, when we are faced with the final “what’s next?” we will be prepared to stand before God our Creator and Judge and give an account of our lives.

 Work is important.  God ordained man to work.  But there is more to life than just work.  This is what the church must pursue.  So what can a church possibly offer to the business world?  A satisfying, eternal purpose for why we do what we do—the glory of God.

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