I was sitting in my office when a plain-clothed policeman from Immigration knocked on the door. My heart started to beat a little faster because I knew who he was! He asked if I had time to chat…so we headed out to a local cafe.
Was my time up? What was the purpose of the visit?
Over the next hour the officer asked me questions about my business, employees and income. Then the conversation changed…
“We are not stupid!”
The policeman made the above statement when he started talking about other businesses in the city.
He said, “We know the people that are here to do real business and those who are just setting up fake companies so they can be missionaries.”
He then began to name different expats around the city explaining how little their business made and how much they paid for rent, schooling, new cars etc… He pronounced, “Those guys are missionaries. They say they are doing business, but they are just here to evangelize.”
A few days later I was sitting with my best friend at his shop and he started talking about people doing fake business. He had very little respect for those who were masquerading as businessmen with the sole purpose of evangelism.
Duplicity is the issue:
Since that time, I have been trying to understand the underlying meanings in the conversation.
I realize that the issue was not necessarily that these people had come for religious reasons, but the issue was their duplicity. They were saying one thing but doing something totally different.
My best friend thought it was hypocritical!
The key thing that I have learned is that we need to have a very strong true identity.
First and foremost, we need to identify with Christ! We must never shy away from being known as His followers.
Secondly, we must be who we say were are. If we say that we are businessmen, then we should do legitimate business. If we say we are NGO workers, we should do excellent NGO work. Our professional lives must also reflect the integrity of Christ!