MTB 101 - The sacred-secular divide, flipped

False identity.jpg

Business-person: where does our identity lie? Who do we say we are?

Church pastor: where is the identity of the business people you shepherd? How are you discipling them towards that?

There's various answers business people may give...

1. By our job (or what we're good at)

I'm a businessman. I'm a sales-woman. I'm a fantastic carpenter. I'm a CEO.

2. By our relationships and position (or what we spend time thinking about)

I'm less than her, but more than him. I'm not as bad as him. I need to get above her.

3. By our passions (or what we take pleasure in)

I'm a Chelsea fan. I'm an exercise nut. I'm a marketer. I'm a creative.

Which one describes you? What do you spend the most time thinking about? What's your first thought in the morning?

Identity in missional business (or BAM) has often been caught up in the "sacred-secular divide". This is the thinking that certain roles are called by God, whilst others are worldly. So there's a hierarchy. It's also the Sunday Christian, who believes it's fine to have another identity on Monday morning.

This is a real issue in our churches, and it continues to require discerning discipleship and changes of mindset. The folks at Third Path write a lot about this at their blog site.

But as we remove the divide and recognise so-called secular jobs as ministry (or calling or service to God), do we need reminding that in breaking the barrier, the sacred remains? What do I mean by that?

Sacred means "considered to be holy" or "consecrated to God". It's the sense of being set aside. If we are a business person by vocation, and say "AMEN" to removing the sacred-secular divide, perhaps we also need to think about how we are being sacred in our intentions. It's very easy to push at the church. It's harder to work out the implication for ourselves.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
— 1 Peter 2:9

We are a people of his own possession, bought by him through his blood shed on the cross. We are a holy nation, a royal priesthood. Why? Because we are set aside to glorify Jesus' name, telling others of his virtues and excellencies (the good news) and helping them move from darkness into light.

We can be very vocal in challenging the church to recognise the divine calling of business according to our gifts and skills. But perhaps we've gone too far, and forgotten that we are first and foremost set aside by God to tell others about Jesus? How are we making sure that we do this to the best of our ability, wherever God has placed us? How are we being a holy people?

Is that our main identity?