I was born in Chennai. I studied at Bain School and had a very good Christian background. My PUC was from Pachaiyappas and my degree was from New College. In Tamil Nadu, we have this Avial dish – everything together. A little bit of Arabic, little bit of Urdu, and a little bit of Hindu shlokas. I was born in a Christian family and got involved in the College Union and was a President of the Youth Fellowship. You can be a President of the Youth Fellowship without having a personal experience with Jesus Christ. I was there for many years and I was part of a singing team. My brothers were known, but they were good – they were born saints. They were very good, and I was part of this group.
If you are a disciple of Jesus Christ and you want to make an impact in society, you need to remember something: action speaks louder than words.
I had a lot of fun with the auto driver, especially when the auto driver said, “If I take an auto from Pachaiyappas College, he dare not play with me.” Also, when the auto driver said, “Rs. 10 above the metre,” I would literally leave Rs. 10 above the metre and get down. Once, I was at the Emmanuel Methodist Church and made an announcement in the Youth Fellowship. One Bible teacher who was sitting there told me after the service, “You will be a pastor one day.” I looked at him and said, “Wrong number!” because I was called to be in marketing, and marketing is my passion. I can sell even a broken chair, and I can sell it to anyone today, but that’s my passion. I started doing very well in May to beard cell and when they called me for an interview, I got stuck. They said, “Why did you take your exam in September? All exams are in March.” I said, ‘No I had typhoid,’ Lies are very useful. Remember, those Bible words- lie is a very present help in trouble. So, I told a lie, and I said I did it because of typhoid. I had a friend, Michael, with me. We were part of a group, Genesis. He will confidently tell people when they ask him, “What are you doing?” He said, “M.Sc” I looked at Michael and said, “You haven’t finished B.Sc, man.” He said, “No it’s not a lie, that means March – September continued.” I picked that up, and I told them, “No, I had typhoid.” They interviewed me, and they said, “Ok, you can go.” I knew that I was not going to get the second call. However, on the second call, they called me. Even before they could stop, I said, “See, I must confess. The first time when you called me, I told a lie. I didn’t complete it. I had one arrear.” They said, “Okay you can go.” I came home and I told my parents, “I’m not getting this. It’s over.” However, they called me and gave me a job. I was surprised. The job was not just for Chennai, but for the entire state of Tamil Nadu, and it was being handled by a new recruit. I asked him, “Why are you giving me this post?” They said, “You know what? This company works on integrity, and because you came and told us even before we could start that interview that you told a lie, we want to give you this post.” I worked in Maitre D’ itself for many years.Young people, authenticity is the genuineness of your Christian commitment.- Rev. CA Benjamin Click To Tweet
While being posted in Madurai, I felt very lonely reading the Bible. The Bible went on speaking to me. Then I thought, maybe my loneliness is because I’m not married, so I got married. It’s easier! I got married, but before marriage, I told her, “I am interested. I want to marry you.” I gave some spiritual jargon: ‘I’ll keep praying and let you know.” It’s not right that for some people God answers immediately, but for me, He kept me waiting for six months. I’ve been told to pray for God’s will, and I prayed, “Lord, let Your will be done, and let us say yes.” My Dad loves Tamil songs, and I wondered how to tell him that this is the girl I’m marrying. We sat in Emmanuel Methodist Church. Kamala came to the front, and she sang, ‘Magizhvom, Magizhvom’. I told my dad, “You like the song?” He said, “Yeah, I like the song.” I said, “Daddy, just imagine if she sings this song in the house every day.” I moved away quietly. Tips on how to fall in love!
How do my children look at my life? Is there consistency in character and purpose? Do I have the same purpose? Is my purpose to make money? I always say this: there is a difference between a child of God and others. Others can be rich, but only a child of God can be wealthy.
Be careful when you write a letter; she wrote one letter to me, and my Daddy opened it. She said, “I sent a letter.” I said, “No, I have not received it.” The problem is that my Dad’s name and mine are the same—Benjamin Christian. I’m sure he could only read two lines, and after that he would have stopped.
There are two things on which my parents insisted: church and family prayer. We prayed – four of us in the family. God led four of us into the ministry. One fine day, when I was doing extremely well in my marketing career and in the history of that office I was the only one who got such a high allowance for the maximum sales, I had to quit. I said, “I have to go. The Lord is calling me.” My Managing Director said, “Benjamin, it’s all the same. Here you sell a product, and there you sell Jesus.” I said, “Yeah, but I want to go.” I went as a Pastor in the Methodist Church, and the Lord took me on this journey.
I want to place four things before you—remember ACTS, taken from Acts 20. First of all, if you are a disciple of Jesus Christ and you want to make an impact in society, you need to remember something: action speaks louder than words. You can say you’re a Christian, but remember, in the office, they are watching you. The first letter A stands for Authenticity. Paul says, “You yourselves know how I lived.” We don’t wear a badge that says” Benjamin, Saved, and a Believer.” No, it’s my lifestyle. In your office, do you have a lifestyle as a Christian where you enter and exit at the right time? Or are you playing hide-and-seek? Your testimony is gone! Paul says, “You yourselves know how I live, be it in the synagogue, be it in the marketplace, or be it outside.” Those who live in Bangalore will be familiar with this. When you get down in Bangalore, the auto drivers wait as if they’d been waiting only for you. They’ll take your suitcase, keep it inside, and then they’ll say, “Rs. 75.” Once, at 5:30 in the morning, I kept it outside and said, “Rs.60.” He kept it inside and he said, “Rs.70”. I kept it outside; I said, “Rs. 60,” and it went on, and I lost my cool. The best time for you to lose your cool is early in the morning because nobody’s watching. I lost my cool. I said, “Don’t touch my suitcase.” We agreed, and throughout the journey we were shouting at each other. I said, “Because of people like you, India is like this.” He said, “Because of you alone, poor people like us are suffering.” He shouted, and then I shouted back. Then I said, “Turn left,” and he stopped in front of the Church. I said, “Go inside,” and he asked me why. I said, “Because I stay there.” He said, “Why are you staying there?” I said, “Because my house is there.” He said, “Why have they given you a house?” I said, “Because I’m working.” He said, “What are you working as?” I said, “I’m the pastor.” He said, “Namaskara! My name is Joseph.” That is why we are like this, nobody knows who we are. What a shame! We have lost our testimony in the companies where you have worked for 10-15 years. Young people, authenticity is the genuineness of your Christian commitment.Today, you are accountable if your colleague sitting next to you or your boss, who is very close to you, dies without even seeing Christ in you.- Rev. CA Benjamin Click To Tweet
The second letter is the letter C, Consistency. Paul says in Acts 20: “I have not coveted anybody’s gold. I have not shrunk from this responsibility of going from house to house.” He had consistency in purpose and consistency in character. You and I cannot compromise. If you are a Christian, in that place, if you’re a disciple whatever you do, do it in the best way. I believe that the work that you and I do is the method of evangelism. It’s not the Government of India that’s paying us money to do the work and then have pending files and go and talk about Jesus Christ. We need to complete the work that the Lord has given us. Three boys were arguing among themselves. One boy said, “My Daddy is very fast. He shoots an arrow and before the arrow could go, my father catches it.” The other boy said, “My Daddy is the fastest. He runs to the bus. Before the bus could go, my Daddy’s in the bus stop.” The third boy said, “My Daddy is the fastest. His office finishes at 5:30 and he’s in the house at 3:30 itself.”
How do my children look at my life? Is there consistency in character and purpose? Do I have the same purpose? Is my purpose to make money? I always say this: there is a difference between a child of God and others. Others can be rich, but only a child of God can be wealthy. I have no regrets! I look back and have nothing to complain about because He is Jehovah Jireh. He is the provider, but He wants us to give our best.
The third one is Tirelessness. Paul says, “I went house-to-house. I went through tears, I through trials.” Remember these four T’s in your discipleship – all of us will go through them: Tears, Trials, Temptation, and Triumph. We will go through it. You will have a tough boss at work. Think of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. When people don’t get it, they say, “My shack, your shack, and a bungalow.” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were put in the furnace. The Lord did not stop them; they went in. Some of us have to go through the furnace in order to be a powerful testimony. Some of us have to come out of it to be witnesses, but remember what Paul is saying: “I was willing to lay down my life.” God is calling us to go the second mile.
Am I willing to give myself? Am I willing to go the extra mile? I do not know how long I’m going to stay in this company. I do not know how long, but as long as I’m there, I’m called to impact people. I’m going to touch the lives of people.
I will never forget this, but I was pastoring the Indo-Naga Methodist Church. A foreigner who was part of the worship service came and told me, “My neighbour is suffering from cancer. He is not a Christian. Would you please come and pray? He reads the Bible; would you please come and pray?” I said, “I will.” I thought of going on Monday, but on Sunday night the first death in my church occurred—a 42-year-old lady passed away. All of us got involved, and the funeral was on Tuesday. On Wednesday, I couldn’t even get up from my bed because of my back pain. On Thursday, when I went to leave my daughter at school, something told me to go to their house. I went straight to the house and knocked on the lady’s door. She wasn’t there, but I recall her telling me that her neighbour was sick. So I went to the next-door neighbour’s house and knocked. A Brahmin lady opened the door, and she looked at me. I didn’t know how to introduce myself. I said, “Amma, I am the priest of your neighbour. She informed me that someone was ill. I came to pray.” She looked at me and said, “Too late. He passed away on Tuesday.” She didn’t stop there, she went one more step and said, “My husband kept the Bible under the pillow and said, “Read Chapter 17,” but I didn’t know. Too late.” I have never cried in the pastoral ministry like I did that day. I said, “Lord, it’s gone.” One of the most painful things that I have gone through is that I used to bury many young people and children. I’m still crying. Today, you are accountable if your colleague sitting next to you or your boss, who is very close to you, dies without even seeing Christ in you. You need to make an impact. Why has God placed you there? For what? To build a house? To get married? No, I think there’s a greater purpose. When you’re tireless and very tired, that’s when God calls you. Many of us, regardless of our positions, have gone through various struggles that they have expressed. It’s painful sometimes when you go in and see your mother in the ICU. Nothing comes to mind, even though the four children are in the ministry. Nothing registers in your mind other than, ‘Jesus loves me, this I know’. Lord, why did she have to be in the ICU four days before her 60th birthday? Young people, you need to be people of courage. Take a stand for the Lord! Take a stand for authenticity, consistency, tirelessness, and fourthly, the letter S, which stands for selflessness.
Paul says, “I do not count my life. The Holy Spirit prompts me not to go there.” The Holy Spirit tells me what is waiting for me is affliction and pain. Then he goes on, and he says that he’s going. That was Paul’s farewell address! Am I willing to give myself? Am I willing to go the extra mile? I do not know how long I’m going to stay in this company. I do not know how long, but as long as I’m there, I’m called to impact people. I’m going to touch the lives of people.It is not our name or degree that is important, but Jesus Christ—the common reason.- Rev. CA Benjamin Click To Tweet
Here is this man as a businessman, flying in business class. The steward came with drinks, and the man said, “Sorry, thank you so much.” She insisted, and he said, “Thank you so much.” She went and brought the head steward, and he decorated the tray with the drink. She came and gave it to him in the business class and said, “Please have it.” He said, “Sorry, thank you so much.” The steward went on insisting, and then the businessman said, “Why don’t you give to the pilot first? Then I will. “He said, “No, the pilot is on duty.” “I am also on duty 24/7 as a Christian,” said this man. Is it possible for us to take a stand? The apostles’ selfless acts – all of them – contributed to that authenticity and genuineness in their commitment, consistency in their office and outside the office, in the home and outside the home, and tirelessness until I served Him, and with selflessness I will go until the end.
It was Christmas Eve, and this bakery is famous for pastries and cakes. There was this boy who was not properly dressed, and he pushed his face against these glass windows; his mouth was watering looking at these beautiful pastries and cakes. People got out of their cars and went and bought packets and boxes of cakes. When they went, they saw this boy whose mouth was watering and who had no money to buy the cakes. When one lady saw this, she got out of her car, went shopping for cakes, came out, and gave this boy a box. When she was about to get into her car, suddenly she felt somebody pulling her. She looked back, and it was the same boy. She looked at him and said, “What do you want, son?” The boy looked at her and said, “Auntie, are you related to Jesus?” Are you related to Jesus? Nothing in our hands we bring O Lord, ordinary to the cross we cling. It is not our name or degree that is important, but Jesus Christ—the common reason. You and I need to have the courage to stand up and say, “Lord, I’m taking the stand today,” and I want everybody to know that I will make a difference where You place me. Is it possible