Saturday, November 8, 2008

God Versus the Marketplace

Last night, Tom and I attended “Dinner with a Theme,” at the Golden Terrace Restaurant in Chinatown sponsored by the Winnipeg Chinese Christian Business and Professional Association and organized by Tom’s childhood friend, Clement Yeung. This is a semi-annual event in Winnipeg, but the first time we’ve attended. The event’s slogan is “Everything is in English except the food.” There was a fairly even mix of Chinese and Caucasians, with a few Filipino’s as well and the food was awesome.

Cathy and Winston Smith, owners of Hull’s Christian Bookstore—a fixture in downtown Winnipeg since 1919—were the keynote speakers, but John Maltman and Clara Au also spoke: Clara about her recent short term mission trip to China and John about his work in the Ukraine, trying to bring Jesus to a business world where treachery is honoured, jobs are given to those with the right connections instead of ability and at least some business leaders belong to the mafia. “What do you do when the Word of God collides with everyday life?” John asked.

Winston asked a relevant question, “As Christians, how should we distinguish ourselves in the marketplace or workplace?” His answer? “Seize any opportunity to be Christ’s ambassador to others,” not just in telling about Jesus but in acting on his behalf with truth, compassion, fortitude, faithfulness and more. Cathy spoke about dualism, which she defined as living two separate lives, where the spiritual is of highest value and the secular mundane. Too many Christians live like this, she said, but the divide is not biblical.

Clement followed with some thoughts of his own. He told the story of how he referred one of his patients to a cardiologist and added that the cardiologist always prays with his patients before surgery. The patient responded, “But is he a good cardiologist?” As the patient prepares for the knife, what matters most is the competence of the one who wields it. We are ambassadors for Christ. If we want to be good ambassadors, we must be competent at what we do. Our spirituality must be part of all we do. “We don’t believe in dualism but we believe in dual citizenship,” he declared. “Only those who are heavenly-minded are of any earthly good.” As John said, “The great things of destiny are made from the simple things”—one truth, one kind act, one forgiveness at a time.

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