The notion that labor for profit and worship of God are now, and always have been, worlds apart, is patently false. The Early Church founders were mostly community leaders and highly successful businesspeople. The writing of the Gospels was entrusted to Luke, a medical doctor; Matthew, a retired tax collector; Mark, the manager of a family trust; and John, a food supplier. Lydia was "a dealer in purple cloth." Dorcas was a clothes designer. In this expanded version of the bestselling Anointed for Business, Ed Silvoso focuses on the heart of our cities, which is the marketplace. Yet the perceived wall between commercial pursuit and service to God continues to be a barrier to advancing His kingdom. Silvoso shows Christians how to knock down that wall--and participate in an unparalleled marketplace transformation. Only then can we see God's kingdom invade every corner of our world. Readers will appreciate Silvoso's passionate call to men and women in the workplace to rise to their God-appointed positions.
The included study guide will enable the reader to put these revolutionary concepts into action.
|Publisher:||Baker Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Anointed for Business
By Ed Silvoso Regal Books
Copyright © 2006 Ed Silvoso
All right reserved.
Confessions of a Christian Businessman
"One day you will be the president of Argentina!" my grandpa announced for the umpteenth time. My uncles and aunts endorsed his prediction with enthusiastic applause and cheers.
Born and raised in Argentina, I am the first male child in an Italian-Spanish family. I have only one sibling-a sister-and my cousins on the Italian side are my juniors by 10 or more years. As the male heir to the family name I was the focus of exuberant affirmation by my grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts. To my elders I was il bambino di oro, "the golden boy." Everyone had grandiose dreams for me to fulfill. Some, led by my grandpa, repeatedly told me that I was destined to be the leader of Argentina. They reminded me that at the moment of my birth the attending physician had declared, "Behold the future president!" My father was in politics, so it seemed natural that I would emulate him. I was accustomed to watching him address crowds and rouse them with his booming voice as he spoke passionately about social issues. He led workers' marches that demanded free elections; elections that, once held, put Juan Peron in power. Subsequently he worked with Evita Peron to help the poor and to advance civilrights. Raised in such an environment, a political career was not a foreign idea to me. In fact, it was expected. On the other hand, the religious sector of my family proclaimed that I was destined for the papacy. They told me that even though I would have to start as a priest like everybody else, I should get on the fast track so that I could become the youngest and first Argentine-born pope in history. At the time, I was an altar boy and active in the Catholic Action Movement; thus, this option also fell within the realm of the possible. Then there were some kinfolk who insisted that I go into business. Someone would add, with a chuckle, "And when you become very rich, you can take care of all of us." I had a natural knack for numbers. I did well in school and I was very good at trading figuritas, the Argentine equivalent of baseball cards. This resulted in my having a large collection, which in the world of children was synonymous with wealth and success. Watching me wheel and deal, some of my elders predicted that I would surely advance to the major leagues of business and make it big.
At the time I did not know what I would become when I grew up, but I did know that eventually I would take up one of these three careers. Barely in my teens, I became a Christian in a Protestant church and the field was instantly narrowed to one option. Accepting Jesus as my Savior was the best decision of my life; but, it automatically eliminated the possibility of running for president because the Argentine Constitution, at the time, prohibited non-Catholics from rising to the highest political office in the land. Since a Protestant cannot become pope, that option was also gone, leaving me with just one: business. This is how, in my early 20s, I became the youngest hospital administrator in the region, in charge of a new facility served by 51 doctors. Given my lack of seasoned experience, due to my young age, I was painfully aware that I needed supernatural help. Therefore, prayer became the backbone of my business routine. The more I prayed, the more God's hand showed up at work. The more He intervened, the better each project turned out. After watching me successfully fend off a hostile business takeover, many of the doctors entrusted me with the management of their personal finances. We invested in a community bank and I was given a seat on its board. When more money found its way into our portfolio, we set up a lending company. Before long, I was wearing three business hats: hospital administrator, member of the board of a bank and CEO of a lending company. It was challenging, to say the least. Doing business always brings up the possibility of corruption, even more so in Argentina. Evading taxes, keeping a double set of books and violating labor laws were considered normal practices. However, I was unwavering about sticking to the right side of the road. At first my bosses were reluctant because they feared that they would lose the competitive advantage that came from avoiding taxes and taking questionable shortcuts. But as they saw how well we did when deals were done the ethical way, they began to trust me more. Eventually they gave me full freedom to act as I saw fit. As long as we made money, they did not mind my unusual standards.
The Jesus Chair
I thoroughly enjoyed dealing, buying, selling and hiring. The pressure was always on, but each time it approached the boiling point, I reached for what I called the Jesus chair. This was a chair I had purposely placed in my office. When things became unmanageable, I would close the door, kneel by the chair and ask for divine guidance. Repeatedly God provided it. Sometimes He did it in a quiet way. At other times He gave me specific directions. More than once He performed business miracles in answer to those prayers. It was so reassuring to know that Jesus was there and that He had anointed me for the job I had! In spite of the constant pressure when at work, I felt good about my job. However, when at church, that was not always the case-especially in meetings where the call to the ministry was discussed. Why? Because some well-meaning but misguided leaders looked down on my occupation. Time and again they would demand, "When are you going to go into the ministry? You don't live by faith but by sight. At work you hang around sinners, people who drink and smoke. You have a calling on your life. Do not be rebellious. Leave everything and go into the ministry." This criticism from my spiritual leaders was confusing and frustrating. It was confusing because deep down I knew that God was with me at work as much as He was with me in church. I experienced God's presence in both places. At work, my spiritual assignment was to make Christ known. At church I was to learn, worship and lead others into deeper relationships with God. The primary difference was that on the job I depended exclusively on works (such as business miracles). By this I mean that in order to fulfill the mission God had given me there, His guidance and supernatural intervention were essential. Besides, I could not afford to separate my job from spiritual things. I would not have lasted one day if it had not been for the constant power and presence of God at work. Another reason I felt compelled to stay on the job was that I was an informal pastor to my business associates. Quite often I found myself in smoke-filled rooms, praying with them, or at a party, ministering to members of their families-some of them received the Lord!. None of this was short of a miracle considering that most of them were staunch Catholics who were part of a social class far above that of most people in my church. How could all of this ministry on the job be so bad? I wondered. It was frustrating because I respected my elders; in my eyes not to follow their leading was tantamount to rebellion. I was also perplexed because when help was needed in matters involving the government, finances or employment, those same leaders did not hesitate to ask for my assistance. If I were so contaminated, why were my money and my services solicited so often?
In Ministry After All
I have a wonderful wife. Ruth and I have been married for 33 years. We have four children and six grandchildren. When we got married, we acknowledged that our lives and careers were the Lord's and that our highest aspiration was to serve Him fully. Eventually God led me to exchange my business career for church ministry. I vividly remember the day I submitted my resignation. My bosses did not want me to leave and kept pressuring me to name the price that would cause me to reconsider. After successfully turning down a string of very tempting salary-increase offers, Ruth and I left town to take a pastorate where the remuneration was 30 times less. The lower income did not bother us, even though our first child, Karina, had just been born and this meant increased expenses. We have never regretted taking that step, but in 1999 I unexpectedly came in touch with a very tender spot in my soul. Later in this book I will provide the details of how this came about, but its essence was the discovery that deep down, covered by a wall of human-made shame, lay buried the fact that God had anointed me for business with the same anointing I was so familiar with in church ministry. This discovery led me to understand that the day I tendered my resignation, I did not leave something bad to go into the ministry-I had been a minister all along! Once my eyes were opened, I was again able to get guiltlessly in touch with the joy I had when I was running three businesses. For the first time in more than three decades, it was good to feel no shame or worldiness about it. I felt like the prodigal son being embraced by the father and given new robes.
Anointed for Business?
The Holy Spirit has since illuminated Scriptures that clearly teach that there is a divine anointing for business. As a result, many portions of the Word have come to light to show that those called to make the marketplace their parish already have the fullness of the Holy Spirit and all of His gifts to take the kingdom of God to the heart of the city. In order to do this they are entitled and expected to use these gifts in the same fashion that professional ministers use them when they stand behind a pulpit. Practically, this means doing business in the power of the Holy Spirit and having "church" all over the city, just as the early Christians did (see Acts 2:42). Even though I was not able to express it so clearly in my youth, this was exactly what I used to do in my job because I had been anointed for business! To be anointed for business is to be set aside by God for service in the marketplace. Once anointed, we are to use our job as a ministry vehicle to transform the marketplace so that the gospel will be preached to, and heard by, every creature in our sphere of influence. The same principle applies in all areas of the marketplace: business, education and government.
Anointing in the Bible
Anointing is an important subject in the Scriptures that is often associated with oil, which symbolizes the Holy Spirit. Pouring, rubbing or smearing something or someone with oil was the biblical way to indicate that a person, item or place had been set aside for divine use (see Gen. 28:18). When a person was anointed, a large amount of oil was poured on the head to symbolize that the totality of the person was set aside. Such an anointing was done for full-time consecration. Kings, priests, prophets and places were set aside in toto for divine service. Part-time anointing, or anointing for part-time ministry, is not found in the Bible. In Psalms we are shown the picture of oil running down the head, the beard and eventually the robes of Aaron (see 133:1-3). The passage compares the anointing to the dew of Hermon, which comes down upon the mountains of Zion. Abundant, overflowing, enveloping, transforming anointing is what we see in this psalm. This level of anointing is precisely what God has in mind for people in the marketplace. He wants to anoint them with so much of His Holy Spirit that they will "open their eyes so that [sinners] will turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God" (Acts 26:18). This anointing is meant to transform people and their environment "that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in [God]" (Acts 26:18).
Gifts in the Marketplace
Jesus' promise that believers will be filled with the Holy Spirit, cast out demons, neutralize lurking threats (serpents), survive evil schemes (surreptitious poisonous drinks) and make sick things well (see Mark 16:17-18)primarily applies to ministry in the marketplace. There are two reasons for this. First, the context for Jesus' words is the command, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation" (Mark 16:15, emphasis added). The process described by Jesus is definitely centrifugal and expansive. The entire world, the totality of creation, must be the focus of the mission entrusted to us, not just a church building or a gathering of believers. Second, only demons with suicidal tendencies would dare hang around Spirit-led, Bible-centered church meetings. Most demons spend the bulk of their time in the command centers that still control unredeemed business, education and government circles in most cities. It is precisely there where God's power is desperately needed. And who is already strategically positioned in those places? Believers who are called to minister in the marketplace!
Strategies That Reach Cities
Since I wrote That None Should Perish and Prayer Evangelism, the ministry team at Harvest Evangelism (the organization that I lead) has been deeply involved in city-reaching thrusts all over the world. We come alongside pastors to help them motivate, train and mobilize members of their congregations so that every person in their cities will have someone praying for them each day. In the last 10 years we have seen significant progress: A number of prototypes have emerged, and there have been significant breakthroughs in many cities.
Yet these new insights concerning the marketplace have energized city-reaching thrusts like nothing else has. In places where the movement had stalled, bringing businesspeople, educators and government leaders on board has been like adding booster rockets to a sputtering airplane. But the most extraordinary benefit has been the renewal in the lives of Christians in the marketplace. These men and women have always had the desire to do something extraordinary for God, but they have been stopped by the limitations imposed upon them by the old paradigm.
Consequently, when it comes to assessing their roles in the marketplace, they have seen themselves as spiritual prisoners of war, desperately trying to survive with dignity in an evil environment. Because they were taught that the marketplace is off-limits to the fullness of the kingdom of God, they never felt empowered to embrace the possibility of seeing it transformed. The best they dared hope for was to be good witnesses and maybe lead someone to Christ.
Excerpted from Anointed for Business by Ed Silvoso Copyright © 2006 by Ed Silvoso. Excerpted by permission.
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