Ken Costa is a man of immense influence with over 40 years of investment banking experience. He is a renowned businessman, lecturer, author, and above all, a lover of God and people. With strong roots in South Africa, Ken’s ministry and work has taken on global appeal and continues to impact people from across the world. I had the opportunity earlier this year to interview Ken about his newest book release, Strange Kingdom. Here’s what he had to say… By Tamsyn Cornelius
A few years ago, you put together a video series of 10-minute meditations on the subject of ‘Strange Kingdom’. You are now releasing a book by the same title. Tell us more.
“Our world is broken, what it really needs to know is God’s love. There is a way ahead, it’s through encountering the sacrificial love of Jesus on the Cross. But I know we can all struggle with how this radical power of love affects our day to day lives. I have puzzled over these issues for over 40 years. ‘Strange Kingdom’ gave me an opportunity to share some of my reflections on these issues in a practical way.
Strange Kingdom started as a series of Good Friday reflections, which my friends encouraged me to publish. First came the videos and after much hesitation the book. I have written Strange Kingdom; Meditations of the Cross as a practical help to those who long to live changed lives, if you’ve seen the films you will find new and fresh materials in the book. My prayer is that people are drawn through the Cross into an irresistible encounter with the risen Christ to experience the liberating freedom from their pasts, peace in the present and hope for the future.”
Why do you think it is essential for Christians to have a deeper understanding of the Cross in order to live and work effectively in our modern society?
“One of the signs of our times is that addressing the wider world with the Christian message is strange, difficult, and contentious. If we are to do so effectively in this fast-moving digital age, we are advised by most not to start with, or focus on the meaning of the cross. But if we zoom out and take a panoramic picture of the prevailing landscape of our contemporary world, can’t we see a society that desperately needs God? Love as shown by Jesus, seeking to put others before ourselves and our interests, is a foreign idea to most of our world. And what about our understanding and our definition of love? The cross is our sign of hope for every human being. Christians need this deeper understanding of the cross to be able to live out Christ’s values and to draw our world to Him.”
“The cross is our sign of hope for every human being.”
The world today often calls for logic, reason and science as the key components for successful living. Christianity, on the other hand, seems to debunk these notions completely. How are we then to live, if the very thing we believe in seems ‘Upside Down’?
“We must live according to our Christian values in every area of our lives. Bringing Christ’s love to the world is the key inheritance of faith and the missing jewel of happiness in our world and in our workplaces. Outward acts of love, are ‘upside down’ in our world and a form of worship. Perhaps that means giving glory to God through acts of service, even if it’s just washing up everyone else’s mugs in the office kitchen in addition to doing our jobs to the best of our God-given abilities. It means performing our day-to-day work with honesty and integrity, not to gain the praise of our superiors, but to honour God in everything we do. Such offerings are a powerful way of worshipping, and they help shape our hearts to be more like that of Christ. In worship we acknowledge that He is sovereign over every part of our lives; we take time to worship to affirm our complete dependence on Him. Through worship we lay down even our callings to ensure that we remain submissive to His will.”
As a South African born academic and internationally respected businessman, how would you encourage our local believers in the way they operate their businesses or simply function at work daily?
“Remember that our work matters to God and He calls us to the work we do, and our careers should praise and glorify God. He’s interested not only in what we do, but how we do it. As Paul urges us, “Whatever you do, work at it will all your heart, as working for the Lord,” (Colossians 3.23). Work is a form of worship, and daily I remind myself that my workstation is my worship station. It’s not easy, but I encourage you to do the same.
Find time to pray at work, however imperfect these times may be, they equip us for our work and remind us of our dependence on God. Demonstrate God’s love, compassion, gentleness, and truth, as this has the power to transform the atmosphere around us. We change the ethos by making the working environment more human and more attentive to people’s needs, by establishing appropriate time for rest, and by ensuring that demands are reasonable and reporting lines are clear. That is how we fulfil Christ’s calling, wherever and at whatever level we work.”
Find out more about Ken Costa here.
- This article first appeared in the April 2018 issue of The Christian Lifestyle Magazine.