SINGAPORE - Christians can only really make a positive contribution to the marketplace when they start living as followers of Jesus, a ministry leader has highlighted.
"If we want to have change in the marketplace, it comes down to the (individual) person," said Mr. Yap Poh Kheng.
"It comes down to radical discipleship, where our central identity is a child of God, where stewardship is a life theme and where servant-hood is our dominant characteristic."
The founder of the Center for Christian Entrepreneurship was speaking to over 100 Christian business owners and professionals at a seminar held Saturday at St. Andrew's Cathedral.
During his talk, he emphasized the importance of a lifestyle modeled after Christ.
He highlighted the congruency of an authentic life as a practical way for Christian business owners to strengthen their capacity to impact others.
An important aspect of the authentic life is clarity of calling. Christian businesspeople need a clear sense of that they are primarily the children of God.
It is easy, he acknowledged, to be inflamed by greed and envy of others in the marketplace.
But like John the Baptist, Christian businesspeople today need a deep sense of contentment with what God has intended and entrusted them with.
There is also a need for consistency between words and action, between the private and public life and between the internal and external life.
A third area of an authentic life is that marketplace Christians need to be coherent whether at work, at home, or at church.
"The test of authenticity has to boil down to who you are as a person," said Mr. Yap. And Christians can bring a positive influence into the marketplace through a redeemed life, service and loving relationship.
Christians who adopt a right value system have a tremendous opportunity to positively impact the marketplace.
One of the attitude shifts needed is a move from being accountable owners to accountable stewards.
It is possible to become a successful without having the mindset of a steward. But in the Kingdom of God, success and abundance are not the end, but the beginning of responsibility.
Another necessary shift is from an accumulative to a distributive spirit that thinks of leaving a legacy.
Christians do well to avoid being distracted by the inconsequential and committing to that which lasts eternally.
Moving from success to meaning is another important shift. This involves finding satisfaction in God Himself, and not what He can give.
A final shift that Christians need to make is from being self-driven to following a rhythm of grace.
During his talk, Mr. Yap shared a biblical passage, 1 Thessalonians 1:3, that has guided his corporate and personal decision-making.
Whenever faced with a decision, he asks himself three questions.
One: Is my work founded on faith or am I acting out of fear? It is easy to act out of fear of lagging behind competitors. Yet there is a place for asking: Can I do it with the conviction that God is with me in my work?
Two: Is my labor borne out of love or am I doing it only out of greed and self-interest with no loving concern for others? He asks himself: Can I do it lovingly well?
Three: Is my endurance inspired by hope or am I plagued with negativism and hopeless drudgery? He asks: Can I do my work with enthusiasm and hope?
Christian business owners who feel discouraged serving God in the marketplace can find encouragement in the company of one another, he suggested.
The seminar on business and entrepreneurship in service of God featured four other speakers.
Setting the tone for the four-hour seminar was Dean Kuan Kim Seng of St. Andrew's Cathedral. He highlighted business and entrepreneurship done with the surrender of hearts to God as a form of worship.
Worship does not take place only during the church service. It also takes place in everyday life, he emphasized.
Businessman Keith Chua spoke of how the Anglican Global South has been attempting to improve the economic livelihoods of disadvantaged and impoverished communities.
Ya Kun International Pte Ltd Executive Chairman Adrin Loi and Cosmoprof Academy Founder and Managing Director Peter Sng shared their testimonies of faith.