Work edited

As an Arts graduate, Grace Tan (centre) did not expect to go into the financial industry. But the God-led job is where she has been best able to share the Gospel. All photos courtesy of Grace Tan.

When Grace Tan was about to graduate from university 10 years ago, she asked God for a job that would meet two criteria.

“I wanted a job that would allow me flexible time so I could go on mission trips with my church when I wanted.

“I also needed a job that would pay well enough so I could pay for the mission trips on my own. Each trip can come up to a few thousand dollars.”

She would eventually land a job that was everything she wanted, but not quite what she had expected.

Bearing fruit

The first interview Grace got called to was with a financial group under a bank.

At the interview, she found out that the job had to do with selling insurance. It was a huge coincidence because her father and older brother are both financial advisors.

Pentecostal Summit 2023

Grace (standing, left) with her family. Her father and older brother (seated, right) are both financial advisors.

“On the way home, I prayed, ‘God, this is the first time I see You leading in this way.’ But my whole family knows that I’m not keen on business, finance or anything Math-related.”

Yet when she got home, her brother sat next to her and, not knowing about her job offer, suddenly asked: “Why don’t you join me at my job?”

“There is a lot of joy when I meet people. I get to share Christ with them.” 

Her mother immediately looked at her and confirmed: “Why don’t you join kor kor (older brother)?”

Her mother often moves in the prophetic but her comment surprised Grace because she had always advised Grace against going into the same line of work as her father and brother. Yet here she was encouraging Grace to do so now.

“I took that to be a confirmation. I felt God just put peace in my heart and open my mind to accepting a job in insurance.”

Grace joined her brother’s company, ending up in his team. With “zero knowledge and zero expertise” in financial matters, she managed to clear all six papers needed to be certified in just two months.

“I passed everything at the first try, which is rare. 

“It was like God’s way of telling me, ‘This is it. This is where I want you to be. This is your answered prayer.’”

As she had hoped, the job was lucrative. In her first year, she managed to pay off the student loan she had taken to finance her university education.

Despite having “zero knowledge and zero expertise” in finance, Grace cleared all six papers needed to be certified as a financial advisor in just two months.

“I always tell myself that the guiding principle as to whether I am where God wants me to be is that there must be fruit (of the Spirit).

“The fruit wasn’t just the money. There is a lot of joy when I meet people. I get to share Christ with them. I know clearly that this is where God wants me to be.”

Gospel doors open wide

Once Grace, now 32, was at a clothing store buying a birthday present for a client when she met a young cashier. She gave him her business card and asked if he would like to talk about financial planning.

The teenager, who was just 16, agreed to meet her. In the course of their conversation, she discovered that he had a blood condition – alpha thalassemia. The blood disorder reduces the production of the protein haemoglobin which carries oxygen to cells throughout the body. In severe cases, it can result in heart failure and death.

“He had been living in fear because doctors had told him that he would not live past a certain age.

“He was trying out different religions to find peace. I felt a nudge in my heart to share the Gospel with him. I told him how Jesus came to die for us and how He can heal.”

“I shared the Gospel with her and invited her to church where she dedicated her life to Jesus.”

The teenager did not receive Jesus Christ that day but agreed to go to Grace’s church. 

“I told him, ‘You have nothing to lose but everything to gain.’ The church prayed for him.”

A year later, he had to go for a medical check-up as required by his insurance policy. Grace went with him.

“At the doctor’s room, the doctor said his condition was very mild. There were only a few irregular cells in his blood. I told him, ‘I thought you said that your condition was very serious? I think God has healed you.’ He was very shocked.”

More recently, Grace met another potential client.

“I always pray for Gospel doors to open before I meet people. As I was praying for her, God put in my heart the letter ‘C’. I was like, ‘What is this ‘C’?’

“God seemed to say, ‘I will tell you what it means later.’”

As Grace neared the end of her presentation with the woman, the woman revealed that she used to attend a church even though she was not a believer.

“I felt in my heart that this was the ‘C’. God wants her back to Christ. ‘C’ is for Christ. I shared the Gospel with her and invited her to church where she dedicated her life to Jesus.”

A cheerful giver

God was not done.

A few years ago, Grace found herself at a career low. The clients just did not seem to be coming in fast enough and she found herself with just $5 to her name. Her husband had barely started a new job and they had two daughters to raise.

Grace and her husband, David Cheng.

It was at that time that she was invited to join another financial company.

“I was praying about it when I chanced upon a sermon online that taught me that my money is not mine to begin with.

“Through that sermon, God was teaching me about my concept of riches, that I shouldn’t horde it.”

That coincided with her Quiet Time passage about how Jesus multiplied five loaves and two fishes (John 6:1-14). The account resonated with Grace who “really only had $5”.

But she knew of a couple she was very close to who was in need of a five-figure sum.

“I didn’t even have two digits financially, but I wanted to bless them. So I told God, this is my five loaves. I prayed out of my nothing and, to be honest, didn’t really think God would do anything with it.”

“I have seen for myself how God makes things happen. No sum is too big for Him.”

Soon after, she accepted the offer to join the other financial company. As part of the incentive, she was given a sum of money. It was the exact amount her couple friend needed.

“I thought: Wah, I just had to leave my company and then I can be Your vessel with this money to bless my friends.

“But I wanted one more confirmation. So I asked God for one. When I tried to contact the head of the new team I was to join, I saw her WhatsApp profile status and it said ‘Five loaves, two fishes’.

“I was like, ‘Okay God, I know what You are saying.’”

Grace took up the new job and gave the lump-sum package to her friends.

And God did not leave her in the lurch.

“Money for my family started to come in. People would bless us with money even though we made it a point not to mention we had no money. These people came to us and said, ‘God put it in my heart to give you this amount.’

“God was teaching me that when I give, He will also take care of me. I felt so blessed to know that God was taking care of us.

“Ever since then, I have never been afraid I wouldn’t have enough money. I have seen for myself how God makes things happen. No sum is too big for Him.”

Shepherd of the people

Since joining the new company, Grace has learnt much from her director who is also a believer.

“God was telling me that work as a calling is as simple as me sowing and God providing.” 

“She told us that we need to see our work as a calling more than the sales target. She advocates that.

“At the end of last year, I finally caught it in my spirit and understood what that really meant.

“During my year-end personal retreat, as I was seeking God for a direction for the year, He gave me two words: Sacrifice and shepherd. When He said ‘shepherd’, my mind opened up and I understood that I was to be a shepherd to my clients like God is my Shepherd.”

That paradigm shift now marks how Grace works and lives.

“I used to be very grumbly. But since the start of the year, I’m like, ‘You need help in this? Let me help you.’ The frequency of my complaints lessened.

Grace with her older brother, Robin Tan, who also works in the same company.

“God was telling me that work as a calling is as simple as me sowing and God providing. I used to think it was based on my own effort. But He has shown me that He would provide for me. It is not my clients giving me money.”

As Grace started to see work as a calling from God, she also saw herself closing huge accounts “not from my effort or because I spoke well”.

“The lesson is in sowing where God wants me to sow and reaping where He wants me to reap, in His time.”


“We want to help people find the joy in work”: One man’s mission to transform work as we see it

“Money was never enough … but life was still meaningful and rich”: Couples share how they manage money in little and in plenty

“We are to be faithful with, not just 10%, but 100%”: A challenge to rethink biblical giving

About the author

Christine Leow

Christine believes there is always a story waiting to be told, which led to a career in MediaCorp News. Her idea of a perfect day involves a big mug of tea, a bigger muffin and a good book.