As a Christian, when you think about your church, what do you think of? Do you think of the place, the people, the singing, the preaching? Do you think about the activities, or the classes, retreats, “ministries?” (What is a ministry anyway?)
Do you think about the overseas or cross-cultural activities that members of your church community participate in? Maybe you think about a ministry to people in another country or people in your local area who are in prisons or hospitals or homeless shelters?
Or do you think about the kids, Sunday school, lesson plans or youth events? Do you think about people getting baptized or making changes in their lives? Do you think about people who leave their jobs, temporarily or permanently to “go into mission work?”
Some questions have come to me over and over in the 10 and a half years since 9/11. On September 11, 2001, I was busy in the pursuit of worldly success in a company that was trying to capture the wealth and potential of the telecommunications industry at that time. I had been a believing Christian for almost 14 years, but that day the eternal became much more real. There was much more going on in the world than just my job and my pursuit of money.
September 11 woke me to the idea that I had subordinated my dream to make a difference to my desire to improve my circumstances. I rationalized it by thoughts like “I can make a much bigger difference when I’m wealthy or when I’m the boss.” But in the weeks after 9/11, I realized that my time was short and if I was going to make a difference, it would be in my circumstances, within my present limitations. No more delaying until the time is right. “Now” is and always will be the right time to make a positive difference.
In my community, it seems few think of our jobs as a place where we can make a difference for eternity. We don’t see our jobs as where we go to serve others and proclaim the glory of Christ (my simple definition of a mission field). In my community, everyone acts pretty much like a Christian, so all of the really important work to make an eternal impact must be somewhere else. Generally, in my community, if you haven’t killed anyone or been jailed for anything, you’re probably a Christian so I don’t have to worry about you at all. Nope, I have to plan my next trip to wherever or go to the bake sale or fireworks store at my church to give my money to “missions.” There’s no significant work for me to do, unless I can take some time off work and go someplace else.
When I think of church, I think of the rest of us that go to work every day. We listen to the Pastor and we sing the songs, and we do the things we’re asked. I think of what we could do if we were organized and mobilized in our jobs. What if we went to work every day intent on giving our lives away in service to our co-workers just so they might see the love of Christ? I wonder what our world would look like if that group of people in every church were mobilized and equipped to show off Jesus in the workplace.
I’m convicted too, that I don’t do this very well. If you’ve ever worked with me you know it. That won’t keep me from trying again today. How about you? Let me know if I can help you in your mission field too. Here’s to action!