Selling Mattresses as Ministry

“This is one of the sleaziest industries in the world,” says business owner Ethan Rietema. “Customers are treated so poorly. Stores beat you up, trying to get as much money as they can, but they couldn’t care less if you get the right bed.” Rietema and Steve Van Diest, both former campus ministers, are bringing rest—and integrity—back to a business largely devoid of it. Four years ago, a Christian entrepreneur invited the Colorado natives to begin deploying their relational abilities in strip malls rather than on college campuses. They now co-own three Urban Mattress stores in Denver and have franchised four more. And, they argue, their current work is just as important as their former ministry. – Christianity Today, 11/12/12   Two guys with a vision to live out their commitment to Christ in the world are seeing results. Without pushing literature about the Gospel or preaching sermons, they are making Him known in their shops.  They see no problem with a profit motive. These stores are about creating an income, but profit does not come at the expense of integrity. Providing a service at a fair price, with the goal of honoring the Lord, takes priority over making money.


The Bible says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-25, NIV) Ethan and Steve are doing this, are you?  Do you ‘take Jesus to work with you’ or do you leave Him home?  Every Christian is directed to ‘go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation.’ (Mark 16)  How do we do that?  Less by overtly religious actions or activities related to church and more by bringing Christ’s love and integrity with us into the gritty reality of our bank, real estate office, factory floor, or construction site!  I am not naïve about this. Nice guys do often finish last! If we commit ourselves to living honestly, if we won’t join the political games, if we put people over profit – it might cost us a promotion. It certainly will cause some, at least, to see us as weak.  However, isn’t His approval more important?
It isn’t just these two guys selling mattresses who have caught the vision.  David Green, CEO of Hobby Lobby, a vastly profitable chain of stores across the United States, says “It’s not always about money – it’s principles. God will bless us if we continue to run our business on Christian principles. Our Heavenly Father is pleased when we don’t compromise our faith and principles in times of desperation.”
I hope that you are thinking, every day, about how to be Christ’s representative in your ‘secular’ world. As you drive to work, take time to talk to the Lord about those with whom you will spend the day. Commit yourself to the Spirit, inviting Him to influence through you.  Don’t slip into offensive piety!  We all know those people who mistakenly think they are preaching the Gospel by playing a Christian station so everybody has to ‘enjoy’ it, or by rebuking the guy who tells a ribald joke, or by praying loudly over lunch. They think that the rejection that comes their way is suffering for the sake of Jesus. Actually, they are just being socially inept!  Live it. Love others. Work hard. Pick up the slack. Say less, do more!
Here’s the word from the Word – “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”  (Matthew 5:13-16, NIV)
Lord, Be Glorified
In my life, Lord,
Be glorified, be glorified!
In my life, Lord,
Be glorified today.
In our home, Lord,
Be glorified, be glorified.
In our home, Lord,
Be glorified today.
Bob Kilpatrick
© 1978 Bob Kilpatrick Ministries (Assigned to Lorenz Publishing Company – 1998)
CCLI License # 810055

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