Monday, October 5, 2009

My Job, Our Calling

I am paid to be a minister or pastor or preacher or whatever you want to call it. Since I've started down this path one of my big fears has been that this occupation would become just another job - that I would start to dread going into work like I did in the secular world. I've given a great deal of thought to what my job is and what my calling is and what the difference is between those two.

In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul seems to be having a tangentially similar struggle. People are questioning if he should be paid for his missionary work. Is what he was doing a job? He goes into a bit of a rant about how he deserves his wages and that he is proud to be able to preach without need of them.

The thing that makes the differentiation difficult is not what the Bible says about the work of the clergy, the thing that makes keeping what I spend my days doing from becoming just a job is history. For years we've seen the minister's job as one of going out and rounding up people - of "evangelizing" and "leading people to Christ." I shudder at the thought of this becoming just a job for me. Thankfully, that's not my job.

That calling belongs to all of us.

My job, which Paul describes in Ephesians 4:12 is "to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ can be built up." According to Paul, the main focus of my workday isn't to share Jesus with people - it is to prepare others to share Jesus with people. It is to create the environments where life change can happen. It is to teach people how relationship matters. It is to help people find their next step and to help them help others find their next step. It is to take a background, supporting role and empower others to fight on the front lines. It is to bandage wounds and re-arm those who've been taken out of the fight. It is not so much to love as to prepare others to love.

Loving isn't my job - that's my calling. I'm called to fight and to be on the front lines and to get wounded and hurt as well - but thankfully I share that calling with everyone else.

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