The Marketplace’s monthly office devotion brings entrepreneurs together to commit their business to God. City News reports on one session at the Spectacle Hut office.
Contributed By Lau Quanhan
On this particular Wednesday morning, 17 business owners were gathered in a conference room, and it seemed all talk was centered on business. However, it soon became clear that this meeting was different than other business meetings: focus went beyond profit maximization to emphasize the need for God-centeredness in businesses.
This was The Marketplace’s monthly office devotion, which takes place every month at a different business office. On April 20, the group was gathered at Spectacle Hut’s new headquarters on Henderson Road.
The Marketplace’s chairman, Goh Yock Kiang, told City News the rationale of rotating venues was to allow the attendees to see how different businesses operate. Although this was not the first time office devotions had been held, the target was different: in many cases, business owners would conduct devotions for their staff, but this series of office devotions is specially created for business owners.
Goh explained that bosses are responsible for the spiritual wellbeing of their staff. What The Marketplace office devotion does is to strengthen the bosses so that they can do business righteously and learn to take care of their workers.
BUSINESS LESSONS FROM THE BIBLE
Following a short time of worship, Goh shared a message from Genesis 41 and 42, focusing on Joseph, son of Jacob, who, being a prisoner, was promoted to the role of prime minister of Egypt, having successfully interpreted Pharaoh’s dream. God speaks to His people in dreams, Goh expounded, before asking his audience, “What is God speaking to you?”
He shared the amazing story of George Washington Carver (1864-1943), an African-American “Renaissance man” who was an educator, thinker, scientist and botanist. Carver heard from God to grow sweet potatoes and peanuts at a time when there was no existing market—there was a dominance of cotton crops in 20th century America. Going against conventional wisdom, Carver obeyed God, who then gave him ideas for 300 marketable products from sweet potatoes and peanuts. To this day, Carver is most famous for his research into and promotion of alternatives to cotton; some of his many inventions and projects include cosmetics, dyes, paints, plastics, gasoline, and nitroglycerin made from peanuts.
Goh followed up with contemporary examples of businesses which have prospered through God-given ideas and strategies. He stresses how these business owners have obeyed God in maintaining honest dealings such as avoiding bribery and paying all their taxes and debts.
The message was simple: apart from areas of life that people always pray for, God also cares about the way that His people conduct business. Being a marketplace believer is not about getting rich quick, but about hearing and obeying the voice and purpose of God which covers every aspect of life. Goh declared that there is no separation between what is spiritual and what is work, and concluded his message by leading the group to recommit their lives and businesses into God’s hands.
More than just networking, the office devotion also provides a source of mutual support—business owners can come together as Christians, sharing and praying for each other’s business needs.
WITNESSING FOR GOD IN THE BUSINESS WORLD
At this particular devotion, Ee Boon Kiat of Kianson Private Limited gave testimony that as a Christian businessman, he continues to serve God while prospering in the marketplace. He shared how he had graduated from the School of Theology in 2008 and serves actively as a cell group leader in church—all the while running his growing business in composite timber.
Hosts Gary and Sara Khoo of Spectacle Hut shared their business experience and answered questions from the group, which ranged from how to break into the burgeoning China market, to staff training practices, and even biblical advice on conflict management between husband and wife who are partners in business.
The Marketplace office devotion is more than a cell group meeting at a workplace venue, being both business-centric and also God-centric in its orientation. First-time attendee Andrea Koo of MuRho Private Limited said she benefited from the sharing and interaction as it reinforced her belief of applying biblical principles, including that of putting God first in all her activities.
Another first-timer Thomas Wang of iWorld Services said he was most impacted by Ee’s testimony; it inspired him to believe that both serving in church while prospering in business was something
Members of the Marketplace can look forward to more such enriching office devotions in the months to come.
The Marketplace office devotion happens monthly. The next devotion will be held on Friday, May 13, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Bok Seng Group, 5 Tuas Avenue 3, BS Logistics Hub. All are welcome. For more information, visit http://themarketplace.com.sg.