Whether You Work At McDonalds Or In The Missionary Field…

20 Dec

…You Can Glorify God.

I’ve recently had several conversations with Christians who felt as though they were failing to live for God.  Was it sin in their lives?   Was the Holy Spirit convicting them of their laziness and lack of pursuit for holiness to God’s glory and their joy?

No.  Rather, they felt they weren’t living for God because of their occupation.  A salesman, a delivery-man, and a construction worker.  If only I were a pastor.  If only I were a missionary.  If only I was on staff with an international ministry.  

Oftentimes, we feel as though the only people who are living according to the will of God are pastors, teachers, evangelists and missionaries.  The rest of us are coming up short working at a fast-food chain, the auto shop, or office building.  Yet, in thinking this way, we set up a false dichotomy between the sacred and the secular.  We set up vocational ministry as the sacred, and all other vocations as secular.

This is an unhealthy, and I believe an unbiblical, way of looking at the world, occupations and our individual roles in God’s redemptive plan.  If we are to recognize God’s sovereign reign over all people, and all things (including your occupation), then we have to acknowledge that perhaps He has placed us in the job/career in which He wants us.  “For we [Christians] are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:10)”

So, in light of this, I want to highlight three important ideas that, I hope, will spur you on to glorify God in whatever occupation He has you:

1. God Gifts People To Be Pastors, Teachers and Missionaries
God calls and gifts certain individuals to be pastors, teachers and missionaries (1 Cor. 12:27-31). Vocational ministry is not what all people are called to do.  So while it is good to pray and consider if this is where God would have us go, we should not idolize these callings as supreme, demeaning the ones which we have been given.  To do so is to, in effect, say, “God, you put me in the wrong place and gave me the wrong calling. I would be so better off and you would be glorified so much more if I were a preacher.”  God has you where He wants you. The question is finding out what He wants you to do in the position He has put you.

2. All Things To The Glory of God
The oft-cited text of 1 Corinthians 10:31 is a necessary component to seeing that all jobs, all occupations, can bring glory to God.    Before being drawn to God and the Gospel, we lived for ourselves; our glory, our paycheck, etc.  Yet now we serve King Jesus and are called to live lives for His glory and renown. So remember, then, that all aspects of life serve to honor Him.

3. Renewed Motives, Methods and Performance
So the question now becomes: How do I glorify God as a delivery-man?  Salesman? Construction worker? Fast-food employee? Student?  The answer, in part, lies in 2 Thessalonians 3:12, “Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.”  Paul here is speaking of Christians who are idly waiting for the return of Christ.  What does he say to them? Work.  Their motivation is service to the King. The method is to work hard, honestly and to the best of one’s abilities.  There are numerous passages in Proverbs dealing with working hard and dealing honestly with others (Prov. 12:14, 18:9, 22:29) .  These should be marks of our work.  And in performing to the best of our abilities, creating goods and products according to our talents, glory is given to God.

So take heart, and do not fear that you are missing out, or failing because you are not in vocational ministry. There is a wealth of ministry to be done in the place in which God has you, and there is much glory to be brought to the name of Jesus right where you are.

For a great (and brief) articulation of some of these same ideas, check out “Your Free To Stay Put” by Pastor Tullian Tchividjian.

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