I’ve been thinking through this quite a bit lately, with my impending re-entrance into the marketplace.
For the last 10 years, I have been in “full-time” Christian ministry. What that means for those of you unfamiliar with that term is that I have worked at a church and received my complete salary from that job. For most Christians, “full-time” ministry is the dream. I mean, what could be better than getting to work around other Christians who are pouring their lives out to make a difference for eternity? As a kid, it was always a big deal when someone was “called into full-time ministry.” While it is so true that many in “full-time” ministry have made great sacrifices financially to serve in that capacity, somehow, I feel like we’ve diminished the value of working a “real” job, and “just” volunteering, or “just” hosting a small group. It’s part of my dream to help correct that perspective in some small way.
I believe with all my being that God has placed each of us in our jobs, families, and communities, to serve as agents of mercy for God Himself. Your job is not separate from your identity as a follower of Jesus Christ. It’s not as if you are one person on Monday morning, and a different, more spiritual person during the weekend service. Well, we all know people that this certainly seems to be the case, but that’s not supposed to be the rule. Did you know that God created work and he designed us to do it well? He even says that we are to work with our whole hearts not like it’s for our boss, but that it’s for God Himself! That’s pretty awesome! Why is that, though? What difference does it make how we perform our work?
This is where you can develop an entirely new, eternal and spiritual perspective of your J-O-B. God has intentionally placed you with people that need to see what it’s like to have a life changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Those people at work know you better than anyone besides your family, most likely. They see how you deal with frustration, disappointment, being wronged, and being celebrated. And in all of these situations, God is preparing you to be a bridge that people can walk across to faith in Jesus Christ. Sometime, I’ll talk about what that means in eternity, but it’s enough for now, to say that it’s an awesome opportunity! As we live this way, work transitions from being a necessity, to being worship!
Sure, “full-time” ministry is great, but honestly, it’s really easy to become isolated “Christian Islands” and forget that there are people all around us who are watching us and desperately want to know that there is SOMEONE out there who has hope. Sometimes, a whole week can go by and I haven’t had the chance to have even a simple conversation with ONE person who isn’t a Christian. That’s not cool. How am I going to be a help to those who don’t yet know Christ if I don’t even reach out to them?
So, now as I look for a job, the pay is not my primary focus, it’s simply about where God wants to drop me so I can represent Him well. And, I’m pretty eager to see where that is.