– by Daniel Kolenda
The brother of a famous evangelist, who I’ll call Sam, once jokingly explained why he became a farmer instead of an evangelist like his brother. He said that his brother was out in a field praying one day when the letters “PC” appeared in flames of fire across the sky. The brother said, “Lord, what does this mean?” to which the Lord replied, “Preach Christ!” Afterwards Sam said he went out into that same field and “PC” again appeared in flames of fire across the sky. He asked the Lord, “Does this mean You are calling me to preach Christ?” The Lord replied, “No, Sam. I want you to plant corn.”
Although this story was intended only to be a joke, there is a profound lesson here. Sam did not preach to multitudes like his brother did, but God did use him as a farmer. Because of his unique sphere of influence in the business world, he was able to share the Gospel with people who might never have gone to hear his brother at a crusade.
Like these two men, some of us are called to be evangelists and others to become farmers, and God will use both for His glory. God calls some people to be used for His purposes in the business world. He calls other people to become teachers and others to be musicians. He is also calling people to work in sales, engineering, medicine, law, politics, and a myriad of other careers. God may call one to preach the Gospel and the other to support him financially. They are both of equal value, and God will reward them both accordingly for the different roles they played, if they are both obedient and faithful to His call.
A Heart Doctor
A close friend of mine, Dr. Chauncey Crandall, is a nationally known cardiologist in the United States. He is a man of science and medicine and has achieved great success in his field of expertise. But he uses his influence as a platform to advance the Kingdom of God. In his medical office he prays for his patients and shares the love of Jesus with them. He truly cares about the hearts of his patients, both the physical and the spiritual. Many times supernatural healings and miracles have taken place right there in his office or in the hospital. Today he is invited to speak about the miraculous from the perspective of a medical doctor at conferences and conventions around the world. His exceptional skills have given him a unique sphere of influence where most preachers would never have credibility or a voice.
Spreading the Gospel Through Business
Marie Green was the daughter of an evangelist and the wife of a pastor. Her love for God as extraordinary, and it overflowed in a generous heart for evangelism. She would crochet doilies and sell them along with other things to raise money for missions. As a mother of six children, three boys and three girls, she had a deep desire to see her children grow up to serve the Lord and work for His Kingdom. The example she set left an indelible impression on all six children, and they all went into the ministry, except one
David was the “black sheep” of the family. He did not feel the call to be a preacher, he had no desire to pastor a church or go to the mission field, but what he did have was an affinity for math and business. He took to the business world like a duck to water, and he was good at it! But whenever he would get a promotion or achieve some success, he did not receive the affirmation he desired from his mother. She would say, “That’s wonderful, David, but what are you doing for the Lord?” This bothered him because he loved Jesus and wanted to serve Him, but God had not called him to preach.
In 1972 David opened a retail business called Hobby Lobby, and he began to discover God’s will for his life. It did not happen overnight. In fact, he told me he did not know that serving God outside of the ministry was an option. But God began to unfold this great truth to him over time.
One day early in his career, God spoke to David to give thirty thousand dollars to a particular ministry. Although he didn’t have the money, he decided to find a way to be obedient; he gave what he could—seventy-five hundred dollars a month over the next four months. After he had given the money in obedience to the Lord, David discovered that the recipient of his donation had been on his knees praying for God’s help at the very moment God had spoken to David about the need. He began to realize that his aptitude in business was not an insignificant coincidence; it was a gift God had given him for the spreading of the Gospel! As the unfolding of God’s will continued, he realized that his business did not belong to him at all—it belonged to God.
Today David Green is a billionaire. He has come to see that his business is his ministry, and he serves God in that arena faithfully together with his whole family. Hobby Lobby now has hundreds of stores that are located in every one of the contiguous states throughout America. Its vision statement says, “Hobby Lobby partners with organizations working to share the Good News of Jesus Christ to all the world.” David Green and his family support ministries and world missions on a massive scale. Through their missions support, they believe they have been able to reach more than one-third of the world’s population with the Gospel!
Not only does the Green family advance God’s kingdom through financial giving, but they also see every aspect of their business as an opportunity to spread the Gospel. They are fearless and uncompromising in their Christian witness. Hobby Lobby has a corporate chaplain, and Bible studies occur daily throughout their corporate complex. Hundreds of employees have given their hearts to Christ in the workplace, and David continues to see the Gospel as the driving force behind his quest for success. David Green said, “Our organization wants to be remembered as one that knows the difference between temporal and eternal. Our business is only a means to an end and our end is to try to affect lives for eternity.”
David’s mother, Marie, died in 1975, three years after Hobby Lobby had been founded. She never saw how her son, who had been the black sheep of the family, would go on to touch the ends of the earth with the Gospel in a way that is historic. But I’m sure that today she smiles down from Heaven to see that her son really did fulfil God’s will for his life and has impacted eternity in a way that most preachers and ministers could only dream about.
Technicians for Jesus
Our ministry, Christ for all Nations, has conducted some of the largest evangelistic events in history. Tens of millions of people have received Jesus Christ as Savior during our campaigns. In fact, between the years 2000 and 2009 alone, we counted more than fifty-three million registered decision cards from people who received Jesus Christ as their Savior! It is a historic harvest that is touching a continent in a profound way.
Most of the time, when people think of the ministry of Christ for all Nations, they think of Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke or myself—the preachers. But some of the most important people in our ministry work behind the scenes. One absolutely critical component to our mission is the technical team. These men who drive the trucks, set up the platform and lights, run the sound, the generators, and the cameras, and keep all the equipment running feel the same call to evangelism as the preachers, and they take their jobs just as seriously. Some have even given their lives as martyrs for the Gospel. We salute them as the champions of the faith that they are!
One of my heroes is a man named Winfried Wentland. Today he heads our technical team and has the extremely important responsibility of making sure all the equipment for the campaigns arrives in the right place at the right time. For more than thirty years Winfried has been driving our trucks across Africa. Crossing national borders, war zones, flooded rivers, and malaria-infested jungles, he has put his life on the line over and over again. Twelve times he was almost killed.
He has been shipwrecked and pulled from the bottom of a crocodile-infested river. He has been caught in the crossfire between rebel armies. He escaped from the hands of terrorists, robbers, child soldiers, and thugs. He has contracted malaria nearly two dozen times. Few people have had such adventures and heroic exploits for the Gospel. However, Winfried says, “No one should or can do something like this out of a thirst for adventure, in search of a particular spiritual kick, or a change of scene. This is not about personal satisfaction. To do this kind of work, apart from God’s calling, you also need great perseverance. Most of the time it is just physically demanding, hard, dusty, routine work.” Winfried and the men who work alongside him are experts in their respective fields: engineering, electronics, logistics, etc. Although these vocations are not typically thought of as being associated with ministry, their work is absolutely vital to our mission. As a direct result of their efforts, literally tens of millions of Africans have heard the Gospel and received Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Some people are called into full-time, fivefold, preaching ministry, and some are called to do a variety of other things. In reality most Christians are called to serve God in “secular” spheres of influence. But one thing is certain: no matter what God calls you to do, it is for His glory and for the expansion of His Kingdom.
Whether God calls you to full-time, vocational ministry or calls you to be His ambassador in the world of business, science, government, entertainment, or wherever, the principles are the same, the keys to discovering God’s will are the same, the challenges and pitfalls are the same and, in the end, the reward will be the same.
Contrary to what many people believe, God does not reward us based on how many people we lead to Jesus. He rewards us based on our obedience and faithfulness to His call and will.
May you be faithful and obedient in whatever field He calls you to so that in the end you will hear those words, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.”