At The Marketplace’s latest luncheon, businessman and pastor Tony Tay taught how to be in the world and not of it.
Contributed By Eugene Teh
Tony Tay, founder of one of the largest business groups in New Zealand, and pastor of the Auckland Baptist Tabernacle Church Chinese congregation was the invited speaker at The Marketplace’s business luncheon on Dec. 3 at Megu Hall at the Singapore Flyer. Using his life experiences, he spoke on how Christians can succeed in business.
“The lotus is said to be the gentleman of all flowers”, he said. “The lotus grows from the mud and yet it is so clean. How can we be like the lotus and not be like the mud that we grow from?”
Quoting from the Book of John, Tay said the four things that make up the world are the universe, the earth, the people of the earth, and the power of darkness that oppose God.
He taught that the three temptations of the world corresponded with what Satan tempted Jesus with in the desert. The “lust of the flesh” are the wants of the body—when Jesus hungered, Satan challenged Him to turn the stones to bread. The “lust of the eyes” is the desire of the eyes—Satan told Jesus to look at all the riches of the world that would be His if He bowed down to him. Finally, the “pride of life”, which Jesus experienced when Satan tempted Him to throw Himself down and test the Scripture that the angels would not let his feet strike a stone.
Seven is a special number to Tay. He explained, “The Lord is very humorous in revealing the number 7 to me in my life adventure with him. I was a dreamer since a young boy, my nickname is 7, (being seventh in a family of nine children). I expanded my business to reclaim the seven mountains in culture; I went through seven days of death experience in 2008 due to the financial crisis. God gave me a great vision that I will reach 70 million people in the marketplace, and be a mentor to 70,000 business leaders around the globe.”
Business is rife with betrayal, said Tay, the tare will grow with the weed. He had trusted a Christian friend with tens of millions of dollars, and he never saw that money again.
“Judas’ test was graduate-level spirituality indeed,” he pointed out. “We must learn to leave wrath to God and not to take things in our own hands. Betrayal and slander is the hardest test, and those who fail become bitter, and the bitterness will consume their whole life.”
The seven days of tribulation Tay went through was not the first time he was betrayed. “In 1991, I nearly went bankrupt; my accountant and partners in a construction company forged my signature and cheated me of money. The Lord miraculously turned a disaster into a tremendous blessing by restoring all what we have lost by a hundredfold. It was a very important lesson to me: we need to stick close to the Lord in our darkest hours, for He is a God of impossibility.”
Tay came from a humble family background, growing up in Kuching in Sarawak, Malaysia. He worked to support himself through Melbourne University in Australia, graduating top of his class. In early 1988 he was offered a job in New Zealand, and moved there—only to lose his job on his first day of work due to a world market collapse. He worked at an architecture firm before venturing out on his own.
Before he became a Christian, Tay was a tough atheist who persecuted believers. He came to know Jesus through Bible study with the Navigators on campus in 1983.
“It was such a drastic conversion—I suddenly became so passionate about the gospel of Jesus all the way to today. It is my sincere prayer that this fire will never die out until I am with the Lord. It is my dream and passion to preach and teach the Word until I drop at the pulpit!”
Tay, 49, is happily married to Selina, 48, and they have three daughters, Jessica, 20, Alicia, 18, and Esther, 16. They serve the Lord together as a family. Tay says they have so much laughter and joy at home that it is like heaven on earth.
His desire to fulfil the Cultural Mandate drove Tay to enter into a joint venture with the New Zealand government in the film studio that produced the Lord Of The Rings movie trilogy. “That joint venture fulfilled my dream to reclaim the mountains of politics and arts and entertainment,” he explained.
After his talk, Tay took questions from the audience. He was asked how he decides whether to take up an offer to sell his company. He replied that he uses the 4 CS’s of decision making: Commanding Scriptures or looking to the Word for answers; Compelling Spirit or experiencing the peace of God; Common Sense, and Counsel of the Saints, which is to seek the opinions of pastors and other believers.
To entrepreneurs, he advised: “Strive to practise your business in God’s zone all the time, so that you are building and not battling. Understand your GPS (God Positioning System) for your business and life purpose. Pray to be Freed Up, Fill Up and Fire Up for the Lord, as life is too short to go down a dead end street.”