Implementing a Theology of Work - Lesson 3

Naturally Proclaiming Christ in the Workplace

In this lesson, you will learn how to naturally proclaim Christ in the workplace. The lesson focuses on understanding and addressing five essential questions to help believers effectively share their faith in their daily lives. The core mission is to love God and love people, which forms the foundation of evangelism and discipleship. By embracing this mission in your daily life, you become salt and light in your environment. The lesson emphasizes that evangelism and discipleship are processes, not events, and that sharing your faith should be a natural part of your everyday life. Additionally, the importance of incorporating biblical values in the workplace is discussed, highlighting the benefits of aligning company values with biblical principles and the positive impact this can have on employees and business growth.

Kent  Humphreys
Implementing a Theology of Work
Lesson 3
Watching Now
Naturally Proclaiming Christ in the Workplace

I. Introduction

A. Importance of Proclaiming Christ in the Workplace

II. Five Questions to Understand

A. Who is to do it?

B. What are we to do?

1. Love God

2. Love People

C. Where do we do it?

1. In our daily lives and spheres of influence

III. Evangelism and Discipleship as a Process

A. Walking Along the Way

B. Sharing Personal Experiences

IV. Importance of Biblical Values in the Workplace

A. Aligning Company Values with Biblical Principles

B. Impact on Employees and Business Growth

  • In this lesson, you learn about the importance of developing and supporting workplace leaders, likened to shepherding horses, and how to guide them to make a positive impact in their workplaces while growing spiritually. You'll explore the challenges of managing their independent spirit and potential pitfalls, and the significance of trust, control, and focus in their development.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain insight into God's purposes for us in the workplace, emphasizing the importance of relationships and the four key words the Holy Spirit highlights: Kingdom, Relationships, Community, and Transformation, helping you become an effective ambassador for Christ in your workplace.
  • This lesson teaches you how to naturally proclaim Christ in the workplace, emphasizing that the core mission is to love God and love people. You will discover the importance of evangelism and discipleship as ongoing processes, and how incorporating biblical values in the workplace positively impacts employees and business growth.
  • This lesson helps you understand and overcome obstacles to workplace ministry, emphasizing the importance of personal transformation, serving the community, and representing Jesus in daily life.
  • In this lesson, you will learn about Jesus' approach to work and leadership by examining the five things He did: telling everyone the good news, teaching many to understand God's principles, training some to do the work, equipping a few to reproduce, and modeling a relationship with the Father. These principles can help guide your own approach to work and leadership in various settings.
  • In this lesson, you gain insights on the significance of training spiritual leaders, using the Bible as a guide, and Jesus as a model. You will understand the value of influence over position and how to train leaders for different spheres of society. Embracing your uniqueness and learning about 12 styles of assistance for emerging leaders will equip you to effectively develop others in their spiritual journey.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into the vital process of connecting church leaders and workplace leaders, fostering personal relationships, and understanding the six key responsibilities pastors have toward workplace leaders to create a thriving spiritual community and extend the church's influence beyond its walls.
  • Walking through open doors teaches you to bring Christ's kingdom to the workplace, developing relationships and fostering unity. Learn the four steps to successful workplace ministry, including prayer and responding to opportunities, while offering support during times of crisis.
  • In this lesson, you learn the significance of character in leadership, focusing on God, and the importance of building trust through relationships. You'll also explore the value of people and their gifts and understand how to hold others accountable and empower them as a spiritual leader.
  • This lesson highlights the importance of finishing well in your spiritual journey, emphasizing the need for a heart for God and an undivided heart, while providing biblical examples of those who succeeded in doing so, encouraging you to strive for the same in your own life.

With Kent Humphreys. Using the mental picture of a shepherd caring for his sheep, Kent Humphreys likens the shepherd to a pastor and the congregation to sheep, into which a few horses (strong business leaders) have been let loose. It is hard to understand these horses, who are just as capable of causing chaos with their strength and of standing quietly off in a corner of the pasture by themselves. How is a pastor to understand and equip these potentially powerful creatures to be part of the “flock” and then to go out into their workplace to minister and influence it for God? The answer to that question is the focus of this book. Taking the example of how Jesus handled His “horses”, a simple plan is offered that can build bridges between pastors and workplace leaders, impacting both the church and the community.

Recommended Books

Shepherding Horses, Volume I (A Pastor's Guide to Equipping Workplace Leaders)

Shepherding Horses, Volume I (A Pastor's Guide to Equipping Workplace Leaders)

Kent’s most well-received book yet! This 50-page guide to Understanding God’s Plan for Transforming Leaders is a must-read for any pastor and the strong and driven...

Shepherding Horses, Volume I (A Pastor's Guide to Equipping Workplace Leaders)
Shepherding Horses, Volume II (A Pastor's Guide to Equipping Workplace Leaders)

Shepherding Horses, Volume II (A Pastor's Guide to Equipping Workplace Leaders)

In this book, Kent encourages pastors to invest in the incredible resource they have - the business leaders in their churches. The book is full of practical and possible...

Shepherding Horses, Volume II (A Pastor's Guide to Equipping Workplace Leaders)


Mr. Kent Humphreys
Implementing a Theology of Work
Naturally Proclaiming Christ in the Workplace
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:05] In this session, we're going to talk about how do we naturally proclaim Christ in our workplace. And this is my favorite topic. I just love to share with people how that we as ordinary believers can proclaim Jesus Christ in our workplace every day and where we live, work and play. And in this session, we're going to talk about five things that you must understand as we naturally proclaim Christ in the marketplace. If I were to give a message in your church on Sunday morning, I would give this message. If I were to share with those other followers of Jesus in your workplace, I would give this message. I've shared these thoughts with leaders literally around the world hundreds of times, and I find them to be so basic, basic to our understanding of how we proclaim Christ in our workplace. And we're going to take as a text in Colossians chapter one. It's out of the Philips version, which is really a translation from about 40 years ago, where Philips translates it so naturally we proclaim Christ. We warn everyone we meet that we teach everyone that we can, all that we know about him, so that, if possible, we may bring every believer up to their full maturity in Jesus Christ. Paul says, This is what I'm working there all the time with all the strength that God gives me. Now let's look at this verse does carefully Colossians chapter one, verse 28 and 29. So naturally we proclaim Christ. See, we don't take religion to our workplace. We take Jesus Christ. We do it in a natural way. We warn every man that's evangelism. We teach everyone. That's discipleship. The same thing that we find in Matthew 28 Baptized. That's evangelism, teach, that's disciple.

[00:02:02] So we warn every man. We teach everyone all that we know about him. That means if we're going to proclaim Christ, we've got to know Him, not just what someone says about him. We've got to know him personally and intimately, so that if possible, we can take every believer and bring them up to the full maturity in Christ Jesus. Paul says, This is what I'm working at on Sundays and on Wednesdays. Now, Paul says, This is what I'm working that 24, seven, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. I'm working it, bringing everyone up to their full maturity in Christ Jesus with all the strength that I have in myself now, with all the strength that's within me, that's the Holy Spirit. So we naturally proclaim Christ, and I want to answer five questions with you today. The first question we answered at the last of our last session is who is to do it? And we talked about that. We're all called. We talked about that. We're all full time ambassadors for Jesus Christ. I can tell you a number of stories in the story, but will not take time to do that today. But a number of those stories are involved. And one of the resources that we have for you, this one is called Christ. It worked. Opening doors impact in your workplace for Jesus Christ, and this resource will be available to you through the classes along with the shepherding horses books. This will be particularly valuable for those of you who are in the workplace. But just as I would advise you in the workplace to read shepherding horses, to understand that I would advise you and the church leadership to read Christ at work opening doors. The resource will be available for you to be used and all of the things that we're going to be covering in this class, plus a few more stories will be there in the first couple of chapters.

[00:03:46] You'll enjoy it. So the first question is who is to do it? And the answer is everyone. The second question we have to answer is what are we to do? And our mission is to love God and to love people. Jesus said that and the greatest commandment that all the commandments are summarized in two things loving God and loving people. And in Matthew 22, he said, We should love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all of your soul, with all of your strength. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second one is to love your neighbor as yourself. And so it's really pretty simple. We've complicated it. You know, we've taken courses on evangelism and discipleship, and we have course after course and study after study. But I would just tell to you, as a simple business guy, that our mission is to do two things. Love God. That's the vertical relationship and love people. That's a horizontal relationship. You know, this was brought to me. I could give you a number of stories, but it was brought to me that a number of years ago in our company, we wanted to bring biblical values to our distribution company. So the guy we did a survey with 16 other companies. Around the nation. And the consultant came to me and said, Kent, your firm has the strongest values of any company. Of the 16 we've certified, you're one of the smaller companies. I think we had two or 300 employees at that time. We said, Your values are not in writing. And I said, Well, we'll get our management team, we'll put our values. And I said, No, stop right there. He said, Values are something from the leadership, from the family.

[00:05:27] He said, You can put your vision statements and those things with your management team. But he said, values, you need to talk to your family, your parents who started the company, your brothers who ran the company with you, your son, your wife, bring them into the process and put your values in. Right. And so we did that and we put the values in alignment. We had too many. You should have two or three, but we had ten. We aligned them with with the Ten Commandments. And I proudly presented them to my people who had come in from around the country. There's about 150 who came in from our sales meeting from around the country. We were there at a hotel. I proudly presented them over 30 minutes, and as I walked out of the rooms, God said, you know, he said, What I want you to do, take out your wallet, because I want you to know how much you're going to pay for these values. As I walked into the lobby of that Hilton Hotel, I sit there with my vice president and with one of our managers, and tears were flowing down the face of the manager, and he was having to travel at about 60 to 70% of the time because we didn't have much business in his area. And I had to make a decision right then, which cost me about $30,000 to remove him from a city in Arizona to Houston, Texas. Or do I leave him there? I had to sell his house. We had to move in. We had to pay him a salary for several months till we could find a full time job for him in that new city. And God led me to move him to that new city, move his family.

[00:06:56] About a year later, I got a card from his wife. Just two sentences. Thank you so much for moving us to this new city. You'll never know what a difference it made him. I manage in our family and I thought, That's great. Cost us a lot of money. But we did what was right because the third value was the family was more important than the profitability of the company. And because of those values, I had to make a decision that day. Do I move in and spend the money or do I worry about the profitability of the company? But I was not very smart and a couple of years later I'd use that illustration to share that with people that that God would provide. And we had an impact on that family. And then God said to me, not audibly, but the Lord said, How did you ever figure that out? He said, The city that you moved him to, what happened that next year and what happened the next year was that our business grew 40% because our competitor in Houston, Texas, had gone bankrupt. And so our business grew dramatically and it grew in that city. You see, you can't argue of God. God allowed us to move him there in preparation for that. The we had no idea it was going to come. And I spent $30,000 but was far more rewarded for that because God increased our business dramatically in that city. But I don't know that that would have happened if I hadn't had the faith to do what God wanted me to do. So our mission is to love God and love people. As we love God and love people, we become salt and light in our sphere of environment.

[00:08:24] So the first question is who is to do it? And the answer is each of us. What are we to do or to love God and let people? The third question is where do we do it? And the Bible says, Our vision is to start with the people around us. And I uses the text Deuteronomy chapter six, four, six and seven. And these commandments, which I give you this day, shall be upon your heart and you shall impress them upon your children. And as you sit around the table, as you get up in the morning, as you go to bed at night, but then it says one other thing. And as you walk along the way, you see, God taught me this principle some 20 years ago, and it changed my life because evangelism is not an event, but it's a process. Discipleship is not nonevent, but it's a process. Evangelism and discipleship we can do without having to go somewhere or do something. It's as we walk along the way, as we walk in our job, as we're in our family, as we're in our community, as we are going, we simply radiate the person of Christ. Let me give you an example that dramatically impacted my life. It was on a monday or Tuesday night. I can't remember exactly, but I was leaving work early about 530. I'm a workaholic, as you say, and I was driving along. Spirit of God spoke to me not audibly, but as I was driving home early that he said, Where are you going? I said, Lord, you know where I'm going. I'm going by home to grab a sandwich to get some food, and then I'm going to go knock on doors for my church and invite people to meet Jesus Christ and invite them to our church.

[00:09:57] And God said, That's great. That's good that you left work early because you are a workaholic. But he said, Let me ask. Square question And this question changed my life. The Spirit of God said to me, Why didn't you simply turn around to the person at the next desk? That leader who has got a 13 year old boy in drugs, and that's in trouble. Why didn't you can't just simply turn around to him and spend time with him instead of knocking on the doors of someone that you don't even know. And that statement changed my life. Because gradually over the past 20 years, God's turning me from a religious person with my focus inside the four walls of our church to a person who's passionate about loving people outside the four walls of my church, wherever I find them, as I walk along the way. And that changed my life because therefore, ministry is wherever we are as we're going along the way, Jesus wants us to minister for him. A few years after that, as I had sold our distribution business, I was still running it as CEO and I was in Houston, Texas. At our meeting. We had about 150, 200 people there at the meeting from around the world, from around the United States. And it was on a Saturday night. I remember I was still CEO, but I had sold the business. It was on a Saturday night. I was in a hotel room. Again, the spirit of God said to me I was going to speak the next morning in a business meeting, and we had voluntary chapel before our meetings on Sunday. And then we met at the hotel. And as I was preparing the talk that I was going to give on Sunday morning, Spirit of God said to me, You know, what are you saying? And I kind of told him, and God said, Throw it in the trash.

[00:11:47] And I said, Lord, I've worked on this for a couple of weeks. You know, I need some help. He said, destroying the trash. And I said, What would you like for me to tell them? And he said, I want you to go in and tell the people that you've worked with for all of these years. And I didn't know, but that was going to be my last meeting because with about six months after that, I was going to leave the firm and he said, I want you to go in and tell them that the reason why you're still there is that you love them and let them know that I love them, too. So I went in the next morning and I gave my little talk and I said, You know the reason why I'm still serving as president and CEO, even though I'm no longer one of the owners, is that I love you and I want you to know that God loves you, too. And then I told them the story about the guy at the next desk. And as I was telling the story, I didn't see her. But one of our ladies that worked with us left outside the back door. And when I got to the back of the room and there was one final session, they said, this lady, she's in the women's restroom and she's crying uncontrollably. Now you men know what to do with a woman who's crying uncontrollably. Most of us probably don't, but you can't say much and you mainly need to listen. But I said, Well, if you can get her out of there and we can meet over in this room, then I'll be glad to talk to her. So she was really this crime uncontrollably and sobbing.

[00:13:02] And we went into this room in a hotel, you know, where they have those divided walls and those big curtains. On the one side, we were going to feed 250 people. On the other side, it was just a blank room they were not using. And I sit down, I'll call this young lady, Wanda. We sit down at the table and she was just crying and sobbing. I said, Lawanda, what did I do to offend you? And she said, My son, my son. I said, Wanda, what did I say? And she said, My son, he's 13 years of age and he's on drugs and he's at home, and I don't know what to do with it. I would do in the minute that that story had incited her to worry about her son. And I said, Wanda, we've got a chaplains program and we work with chaplains, with pastors who are pastors of local churches who help us to chaplain the workplace. But I can't help your son today, but I can help you. Do you mind if I just share a few thoughts with you and we'll get a chaplain to meet a pastor, local pastor, to come and meet with your son in the next couple of days in the house where she lived. And so through her tears, I didn't have my Bible. I didn't have a track. All I had was a blank piece of paper. And with that blank piece of paper I shared with Wanda of how she could have a vital personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And I said, Wanda, would you like to invite Jesus Christ into your life? And she said, I really would. And right there in that hotel at a business meeting in Houston, Texas, Wanda from Ohio prayed and invited Jesus Christ into her life.

[00:14:30] That was about 1999. That was over ten years ago. I haven't seen Wanda since that time. But a year later we were working on our book show and then tell, and in that book we share. My wife helped me write that and we share 100 stories about where people live and work and play, about how we share Christ in our neighborhoods and in our workplaces. And we wanted to put Wanda Story along with others in that book. So we called Wanda and said, Wanda, how are you doing? And she said, We're doing better. We're doing great. She said, My husband and my son and I got a. Church each Sunday morning. And so each Christmas, we've corresponded with Wanda with Christmas cards. But Wanda is walking with Christ today because one business guy took a few minutes to share Christ with her when she was hurting. And that's what God wants you to do as a person out there in the work place. Number one who has to do it? Each one of us. Number two, what are we to do simply to love God and love people? Number three, where we do it, we do it as we go along the way. And number four, how do we do it? Well, our ministry is to serve people with diversity. You don't want to know how to do it because Jesus said, if you want to be great, you've got to be a servant. He said, if you want to be first, you got to be last. That's how we do it. The way we do it is to simply serve people. See, as we as we love people, then we serve those people. If you serve people, you'll be so unusual that people will be the path to your door.

[00:16:10] I remember my assistant who worked for me for 17 years. She came to me one day after about five or six years, and she said, you know, can't you've changed and you're a little different. She said, You didn't recognize me as a person. She said, When I first worked here, I was just a machine working and work out. Work in, work out. You didn't recognize me as a mother, As a grandmother. As a wife. As a woman. As a person. You saw me as a machine. You saw me as something to get work done. And I would say to you, How do you see the people that are your coworkers? Are you serving them? Do you serve them in such a way that you become salt and light in a darkened world? Are you constantly looking out for ways to serve that customer? Let me give you some illustrations. Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the world today, and in 1999, I walked into, let's see, 1989, I guess it was 20 years ago now. We've been serving Wal-Mart for several years as a distributor, and Wal-Mart didn't buy through middlemen. We were one of the middlemen that they were trying to eliminate, but we had a particular line of products that the African American health and beauty aids that we were one of the larger distributors in. And so Wal-Mart allowed us to sell to them for seven years. In one year, in 1989, the finally the pressure was too much and they had to eliminate us as a distributor and buy from the manufacturer. And so in 1989, I traveled over to Bentonville, Arkansas, and we knew that that was the end. But I was foolish enough as a young business leader to think that I could really convince them to continue to buy from our firm.

[00:17:53] But after 2 hours, they treated me with integrity. They gave us a 60 day notice. We walked out to the parking lot and we got to the car and my vice president was with me and I said, Well, Daryn, we need to pause and thank God that we just lost $10 million worth of business. Wal-Mart was $10 million worth of sales. One third of our business. Now, for those of you who are business leaders, you understand that if you lose 20 or 30% of your business off the top, you're probably going to lose. All of your profitability may not even survive as a company. So we lost $10 million for the business. I said, we need to pray and thank God we lost that business. My vice president looked at me like I was crazy. He said, You've got to be crazy. I said, Now let me ask you some questions. Number one, is God still sovereign? In the 2 hours that we've been in there, did God lose his sovereignty? Number two, is God still powerful? Is is he not powerful enough to handle something like this? Number three, did this catch God by surprise when God woke up this morning, did this catch him by surprise? Our number four does God love us and still have our best interest at heart. And he said, No, God's sovereign, God's all powerful, God's all knowing God loves us. And I said, Well, then let's pray. And thank God. So as obedient believers and followers of Christ, we prayed and thank God we lost the business. Well, that's not the end of the story. In in 2004, some 15 years later. Well, first of all, we went back home. We let go of 75 of our 300 employees.

[00:19:32] We had to make some drastic cuts in our business to survive. But in 18 months, through an acquisition and through some other new customers, God replaced every bit of that $10 million worth of business. Amazingly, within one year and again, we had $30 million worth of business, but no more than 10% was with any one customer. But that's not the end of the story, as I said. 15 years later, in 2004, we were looking for in a small business that we had now with five or six employees, we were looking for a broker. And we were in Arkansas. All of my young vice president was interviewing people and interviewed the man named Dennis. And they interviewed Dennis. And Dennis said, well, who are the principals? Who are some of the owners of the firm? And Dennis and the young man told Dennis, he said, well, can't. Humphries is one of the owners of the firm. He said, I'll take the job. But guess what? Don't you want to know anything else? He said, No. He said, Kent Humphries is one of the owners. I'll take the job. He said what he doesn't know is I'm the one that kicked out of Wal-Mart in 1989, 15 years ago. And what does not know is that 90 days later I went to my boss and said, this is the worst business decision that I've made in 25 years. He said, although I although I had to make that decision because of company policy, I went to my boss and said, this is the worst decision because it was really costing us more to deal with direct than it was to buy from Ken's firm. He went to his boss 90 days later, asked for permission to make an exception of the boss, wouldn't allow him to do it.

[00:21:06] But he said, Let me tell you, because Ken's firm acted with integrity, because they treated us right, because they served us well. If there's any firm that he owns, I will be glad to represent him 15 years after the fact. Another example, one of our suppliers. And that same year, a few years ago, I was in Seattle, Washington, speaking to Christian business owners who were Koreans from around the world. There were 400 of them gathered in Seattle, Washington, all Korean Christians. And on Thursday night, I got there in time for the dinner, and I was to speak to the convention on Friday. And a guy named Henry came up to my table and he said, Do you remember me? And I said, No, Henry, I don't. He said, Do you remember Sunday marketing? He said, Remember Cinemark? And I said, Yes, I do. We bought from you back in 1975 to the early eighties. He said, That's right. And he said, My wife's name is Sonny. We named it after her. We bought Luther sponges and some imported items from them. He said, I just want to tell you a story. He said, We watched you. I watched you personally as a business owner for 15 years from 1975 till the late eighties. I watched you and how you dealt with our firm, how you paid your bills, how you wrote a Christmas letter every year talking about someone named Jesus. He said, I watched you and a couple of other business leaders for 15 years because I was very hesitant. He said At the end of 15 years, he said, I want you to know that I personally gave my heart to Jesus Christ because primarily of the example of you three guys modeling Christ to me over that long period of time.

[00:22:45] He says it's now been another 14 years. He said, I'm a leader of this Korean worldwide organization, and I just wanted to thank you for having an influence in my life. Or I could tell you this story about Teresa, who when we sold our firm in 97, Teresa contacted me just a year or two ago. I left as CEO in 2000, so I'd been a number of years. She wrote me about a three page letter. She said she'd been abused by her husband, lost her health, lost her job, lost just about everything. I took it home to my wife, David and David. He said, Well, you need to meet with her. You need to lead her to Christ. So I called Teresa, had my assistant, called her, called her and had a young lady sit in with us in our little tiny little conference room. And Teresa's life was just in shambles. And I mean, I barely knew Teresa, and but but when she got in trouble, I want her back was against the wall, and she had lost everything. She remembered. She remembered someone who she had worked for before. A business. A person that cared about her as a person. And so we were not able to give her any money. We didn't do anything specifically. We said, Teresa, can I just share some things with you? And I'm a blank piece of paper again shared with them the Bridge to Life of how she could go from not knowing Christ to knowing Christ receiving Christ. And she prayed right there in our little coffee room and prayed and invited Christ into our life. She went back home. We were able to kind of help her and courage and to get a job and got back on her feet and did other things.

[00:24:21] But but why would she come to someone that she hadn't seen in all those years? Because she remembered for someone that served her and cared about her. And so how do we do it? We simply serve people. We serve our coworkers. We serve our customers. We serve our vendors. We even serve our competitors. I remember that I had a ministry to my Jewish competitors. I didn't know how to relate to them. They were really good friends of mine. And yet we compete in the marketplace. And I ask a lady, How can I minister to my Jewish friends? And she said, Get on their turf. She said, Don't go to the Christian bookstore. Go to the secular bookstore, get a Hallmark card, and at a Jewish New Year or Hanukkah time. Put an Old Testament scripture on there and and just ministered to them. So I was scared to death, you know, And these are my friends and business associates, and I didn't know how that they would take it. And so it came to the Jewish New Year. And I went to the store. I wrote an Old Testament verse on there. I sent it to my five Jewish friends, which were all competitors, but I'd had a good relationship with and waited for a response. And three of the five called me within the next week or two and said, Can't thank you for sending that card, she said. He said, You're you're the first one outside of my family that's ever sent me a card at the Jewish New Year. Thank you for remembering me. You see, even our competitors, we can reach out and build bridges with them. How do we do it? We simply serve the people around us. Who has to do it? All of us are.

[00:25:53] Call. What are we to do? We love God and love people. Or do we do it? We do it as we walk along the way in our workplace, in our communities. How do we do it? We simply serve people. People have said to me, Can't, can, can you really take Christ to the workplace? I mean, what you get in trouble for taking religion to the workplace? And I said, We don't take religion, we take Christ. We simply learn to walk with Christ in the workplace. And there's not a law against loving and serving people. Well, the final question is, when do we start? And our mandate is to redeem people. And Matthew and I and Jesus said when he saw the crowds, they were like sheep parasites. They were like sheep without a shepherd. Because you said the harvest is plentiful, but the labors are few. So therefore ask the Lord of the harvest that he'll send that workers into his harvest field. Our mandate is to redeem people and to start right now. I'll tell you the story in Oklahoma. I'm here in Portland, Oregon, today doing this. But in Oklahoma, we don't have a lot of trees like Portland. We have some trees in the eastern part of the state, But in the central and western part of the state, we have very few trees. We don't have beautiful backyards with many, many trees. It's not natural. We have to plant them. And one of my friends a number of years ago was looking over his backyard and he said, you know, I'd like to have some fruit trees. And so we went down to the nursery and asked the nursery, and he said, If I plants and trees today, He said, How long before I get some fruit? Like I said, not very long, four or five, six years.

[00:27:28] He said, Four or five years. He said, I don't have time for that. And he walked home. You know what happened? Five years later, he's sitting out on his patio. He's looking over his backyard. There's no trees, there's no fruit. He said, You know, I'm not too smart. If I just planted a few little trees, sprig leaves, little water and a little fertilizer. He said it wouldn't taken a lot of time. He said today I'd be picking fruit off those trees. And the problem today is, is that we expect to pick fruit, but we haven't planted the trees. Maybe you're like me. You look at other people in your church and say, I wish I could be like him. I wish I could be like her. We compare ourself with them. I wish I had the fruit of their lives. Well, go plants and trees and wait four or five years because the harvest is plentiful. But the labors are few. You've got to plant some trees, if you will. Plant trees of relationships where you live or you work for. You play within the next few months, within the next few years. It takes time. In today's secular world, we're not as religious of a community as we used to be. We're more secularized. It takes time for people to have relationships of trust, and if you'll plant those trees today, you'll have a harvest tomorrow and you will learn that God is sovereignly planted. Each of us where we are with certain gifts and abilities to represent him and to share his truths around the world. So naturally we proclaim Christ. We warn everyone we meet, we teach everyone we can, all that we know about Him, so that if possible, we can bring every person up to their full maturity in Jesus Christ.

[00:29:05] This is what I'm working at all the time, with all the strength that God gives me. Well, I hope that that you've enjoyed this analogy, those questions. I hope that they're helpful to you. Let me pray for you as we go out into our neighborhoods and our workplaces. Father, thank you for every man and every woman, every leader, every pastor, every workplace leader, every seminary student, whoever's watching this today in this class, as these leaders move out and to their families, their communities, their workplaces, their churches, may we as leaders be empowered by your Holy Spirit to naturally proclaim your Son Jesus Christ? May the Gospel be the most important thing on our mind. May we reach out and join God in what He is doing in the lives around us and maybe be patient enough to wait for the fruit knowing that we've planted that you'll bring the harvest. And that should allow us to reopen that ARB as maybe another service that someone else has planted. Thank you for allowing us the privilege of being full time ambassadors for Christ and to join you in what you're doing in our workplaces and our community. And we pray these things in Jesus name, Amen.

Log in to take this quiz.