Doing God’s Business
R. Paul Stevens. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2006. 239 pages.
R. Paul Stevens is the David J. Brown Family Professor Emeritus of Marketplace Theology and Leadership at Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia. In Doing God’s Business, Stevens does an excellent job of presenting the view that a Christian called to serve God in the business world is just as much a part of God’s work as are those called to be a pastor or missionary. According to Stevens, being a Christian business person should be viewed as full-time ministry.
Stevens spends several chapters discussing how the marketplace as a place of God’s work in the world has been separated from “full-time ministry” by the church historically. He also makes the case for returning the Monday-through-Saturday church member who is involved in business to the ranks of fully-called participants in extending the kingdom of God which includes their Sunday morning pastor or the overseas missionary. He even goes so far as to suggest that in order to offer a correct perspective on full-time ministry, a church might choose to disallow any traditional missionaries to speak at that church for one year and instead spend five minutes per Sunday interviewing lay members of the congregation about their “mission work” where they work and live. Stevens says that business people in the church are more than “walking checkbooks” for the real mission of the church. They are full participants in the work and mission of God in the world in what they do each day in the marketplace and how they do it.
Stevens writes about extending God’s call to Christians beyond the Great Commission. “God is interested in saving not only souls but also bodies, systems, and even the entire creation” (25). Stevens goes on to say that Adam and Eve were given three jobs: to live in communion with God, to be community builders, and to be cocreators (27). He then details how that first commission of Adam and Eve works hand in hand with the Great Commission in faithfully living one’s life in the world today. The book concludes with a number of very practical suggestions about how we should look at careers, money, corporations, business ethics, capitalism, globalization, etc., from the perspective of the fully-called business professional.
Doing God’s Business is excellent reading for all Christian business people and could be extended to anyone who is not currently in “full-time” ministry as defined by our religious culture today. There are discussion questions at the end of each chapter that could be used in a Sunday school class, Bible study, or other group settings.
I found R. Paul Stevens’ book to be refreshing and encouraging to me as a college business professor and sports coach because it validated through Scripture and other research that I am “called,” not only to spread the gospel, but to do that work which God has called me to do in this world in a way that fulfills God’s mission here on earth.