Many people have noble goals but fail to take the steps to achieve them. Why? Because of the myths they believe. B4T is not for dreamers. It is hard work. The first step in becoming a B4Ter is to consider God’s leading in your life. In understanding His leading, it is essential you discern your true motives for wanting to serve Him via business overseas. Why do you want to be a B4Ter? Fulfill the Great Commission? Money? Use your skills/education to serve God? Travel? Live a nice lifestyle? Help others? Take the Gospel to a particular place or people?
Different people are motivated for different reasons. Solomon reminds us, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12) If you do not have the right motivation – God’s motivation, you will not get far. It is important to be honest with yourself. Honestly ask yourself, “Why am I interested in being a B4Ter?”
Many people who have gone into business overseas have failed to accomplish their original objectives. They became a B4Ter because they did not wish to raise support, they wanted a better lifestyle, or they wanted to help poor people. Their reasons for becoming a B4Ter were focused more on their own happiness than the will of God. They sought to fulfill their own goals for living a nice, safe, Christian life overseas.
For believers and non-believers alike, it seems the primary motivation in life is to be happy. However, as good soldiers on active duty, our happiness should stem from pleasing our Commanding Officer, not ourselves (2 Timothy 2:4). We are not to choose the wide gate but the narrow one (Matthew 7:13-14). God’s glory, not our own happiness is to be the basis for the choices we make and the things we do. Many, dare I say most of us, pursue friends, spouses, education, or jobs, with one thing in mind – ourselves. Incredibly, many people even go into mission work to feel happy. But honestly, I do not care if you are happy. Why? Because we live in a radically un-Christian society with a value system that is practically the opposite of the one Jesus Christ teaches. Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” (Luke 9:23-25)
Business is not an excuse for keeping our worldly idols – including material wealth – and still serving God. Luke 9:25 is a good check on our motives for doing B4T. If we are seeking to gain the world, we need first to find Jesus. Each person’s motivation for doing business abroad needs to be nothing other than the glory of God. Jesus’ purpose on earth was to bring glory to the Father (John 17:4), and so our motivation should be the same. Everything we do is to glorify Him (Isaiah 43:7). Our decision to become a B4Ter or a traditional missionary should be characterized by a long term, significant commitment to Him.
PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.