Each of us has this idea that our cities could and should be a better place, we wish we could build a city that was full of peace and prosperity. And this is the calling of Christians in Business, to follow the mandate given by the prophet Jeremiah to the people of Israel who were living in exile in the greatest city of their day, Babylon.
Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 19.7)
Here are the 3 options available to us as Christians, with 2 practical tips to help us get it right.
(1) RETREAT - instead of engaging with the city we can retreat and withdraw, seeing the city and the world of business as "evil and bad." However if you retreat, we become invisible to the city and will not be able to make a positive impact in Dublin.
(2) CAPITULATE - without forethought we jump in to everything that the city has to offer, not stopping to consider whether we are compromising our values. However if we "just do everything that everyone else does" and none of or Christians values shape the way we do business we again become invisible and will not be able to make a positive impact in dublin.
(3) SHINE - Jesus calls us to be a "city on hill" whose good deeds shine out and speak of him (Matthew 5). In giving is this identity and command Jesus is calling not to retreat from the city, not to capitulate from the city but to form an alternative community in the city (an alternative city!), which is radically engaged and yet radically distinct, fully engaged yet fully christian. We are fo form an alternate city within Dublin, working for the good of the Dublin by both encouraging all that is good and challenging all that is bad.
So how can we avoid the dangers of retreating and capitulation and ensure that form an alternative city that shines and makes a positive impact in Dublin? Here are two suggestions.
(a) Avoid the sacred/secular divide. Don't see your job as "unspiritual" and your "church commitments" as spiritual. Everything is spiritual to God, everything can be an act of worship if done for the right reasons and in the right way. Take your job seriously, pray for the flourishing of your workplace and colleagues and offer your work as an act of worship to God.
(b) Keep an equal footing in both work and church. Don't sacrifice your work for the sake of the church community and don't sacrifice your church community for the sake of work. Of course there are times when sacrifices will need to be made (on both sides) but with a long term view in mind find a ryhthmn by which you are able to keep a foot firmly in both camps and commit to both. This will enable you to listen to your workplace, understand the pains, needs, desires and hopes of the people and the company, in order that you can then bring these things to your church community and to God in prayer.