Those Who Provide
Pursuing business with excellence is an
important and biblical calling.
us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; . . . if it is to encourage, then give
encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously;
if it is to lead, do it diligently….” (Romans 12: 4-6,8a)
Some NIV translations note the phrase “to lead” could be
rendered “to provide for others.” When you see a verse being
translated in different ways, it usually means two things: the
Greek term is rare, and the cultural concept may not have
a direct equivalent in our modern language. Sure enough,
in the case of Roman 12: 8, the relevant word proistamenos
(the one who provides) occurs only a few times in the New
Testament. So what of the cultural difficulty? I believe this gift
named in Romans 12: 8 refers to the work of business people.
First-century speakers did not refer to business people
as a group. Rather, they described them by what they did.
For example, there’s Lydia, “the seller of purple cloth”
in Acts 16, or Paul, sometimes described in Acts as a
“tentmaker.” If you wanted to refer to
this entire class of people, the phrase
“those who provide for others” covered
it. The same term appears in Titus 3: 14,
translated as “those who provide for
This phrase should be a point of en-
couragement to business leaders today.
If you lead a business and provide the
necessities of life for employees and
others, you are mentioned in Paul’s lists
of gifts given to the Church.
As you follow your giftedness, do so
in the knowledge you follow a high calling from God essential to His plan for humanity. As you engage in business, do so with diligence – and the confidence you are
following your God-given giftedness and calling.
As I share this verse within Corpath, I have been delighted to see the motivation and encouragement it brings.
Corpath’s goal is to help our business leaders pursue excellence in business, personal and family life, and in their
spiritual walk with God. I believe this excellence cannot be
achieved alone. One of our theme verses is Proverbs 27:17:
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
If you are a business leader and have been saying to yourself, “I really need to get serious about joining a marketplace
ministry forum to learn from and be encouraged by my business peers,” may I suggest you put a red star beside that item
on your to-do list? One of the comments I hear a lot from
Corpath members is they wish they had joined earlier. FT
Some time ago Billy Graham stated, “I believe one of the next great movements of God is going to be through the believers in the workplace.” He went
on to encourage those at the conference where he was
speaking to go home and start marketplace ministries.
Corpath Business Forums, the marketplace ministry I
serve, was born of that challenge.
For many years Corpath existed as an arm of the Christian Business Ministries of Canada. In 2010 when I joined
– apparently Graham was right!
But as we examined how Corpath fit
into the mix, we realized the upper level of
business leaders was being underserved
– CEOs, vice-presidents, managing directors and entrepreneurial business owners
with ten employees or more.
That realization prompted us to take
action. Corpath launched into independence from CBMC, sharpened our established four-hour monthly Forum meeting process, and narrowed our focus to serve this unique subgroup of leaders.
As I visit our Corpath members today, I am struck by
a common theme. Many rightly see their businesses as a
calling from God whereby they minister to employees, suppliers and customers, and provide goods and services to the
community. But they struggle with the feeling their calling
is not viewed by traditional church people as equivalent to
a teaching or preaching ministry.
They feel diminished when church leaders, rather than
honouring their unique kingdom ministry, only engage
them on the level of supplying money for the “real ministry”
of the institutional church or traditional missionary activity.
As I reflected on this gap in understanding, I gained
insight from Romans 12.
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same
function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body,
and each member belongs to all the others. We have
different gifts, according to the grace given to each of
As you engage
in business, do
so with diligence –
and the confidence
you are following
giftedness and calling.
JoHn WISeMan of Calgary is president of Corpath