A few months ago I learned a little about faith in the chair of the dentists office. I also learned a little about a what I perceive to be a common mistake among those who really do want to “make a difference” in this world. The hygenist commented that Pastor “Buddy” (I made that name up because as I pastor I know we can be understood) asked people to think about that “one thing,” that they could be passionate about and make a difference.
Nothing wrong necessarily with that. But the problem that I see sometimes in folks is that they search for something far off on the horizon where they can make a big, noticeable, tangible, and possibly immediate difference in the world. Or perhaps at worst find a reason to justify their existence.
This woman was a single mother. She had a job as a hygenist. Of course she “justified” her job to me, trying to be as spiritual as possible, “by witnessing” to people. It was as though she had to witness every now and then (talk about one way conversation!) for her job to be important.
Now I applaud her boldness, but was simply saddened that she didn’t realize the “spiritual” nature of her business.
My teeth needed to be cleaned. I for one, recognized the worth of what she did!
One of the benefits of having a Reformed worldview is that we don’t see life as a division of spiritual and sacred. A banker, hygenist, stay-at-home mom, a salesman is as “spiritual” as a pastor (provided both are honoring God through their labors) and should be considered as important by God’s people.
Much has been written on this subject so I don’t need to add any more. Here is one such excerpt
God is delighted when you work unto him and find pleasure in your vocation. You are merely doing what he does, after all—working and laboring and creating….As you think and analyze and make things better, you’re showing who you are: a being made in the very image of almighty God.
Instead I’ll simply reflect upon the affect such a division can have: in looking for something spectacular like building a well in Africa, you ignore the “mundane” missional and discipleship opportunities in front of you.
Some (not named Oprah) people will do amazing things like build wells in Africa. And if you feel that is your calling, do it. I’m not advocating ignoring wells in Africa or anywhere. Please don’t misunderstand that! But you also have a calling as a parent, worker, church member as well. And sometimes in search for something “spectacular,” you miss the opportunities right in front of you. I feel that was the case with this gal.
And to be honest, isn’t working with integrity, friendliness, with excellence honoring to God? Isn’t He our primary audience (Col 3:23)? Isn’t that a way to follow the commandment, “Love your neighbor.” Mundane, I guess, but not all that ordinary. To love your work but not idolize it. That’s definitely not all that ordinary.
What about really discipling your kids and teaching them to live missionally, praying for and reaching out to their friends? What about playing sports for God’s glory and not theirs? What about saying no to sports when they intersect with church?
What about walking around your block and meeting neighbors in hopes that they would one day know Jesus? What about caring enough to bring lonely neighbors together or into your home?
I don’t think that any of those things are really all that ordinary.
As I often tell folks at Harbor Community Church, don’t add anything more to your schedule, just “look” intentionally wherever you live, work, and play. Opportunities abound even without finding that special unique opportunity. It is possible that some very mundane (but I would argue spectacular) things may be right in front of us. And while we are living and looking missionally, God may just share His heart for you to do something you never thought possible “way over there.” As you wait for your mission trip, fundraiser, or whatever, may you find joy as you share in the mundane missional work of God.