I had a great visit with a church member recently. In our discussion, he hit on a point that I believe many Christians have a burden for. Essentially, he was concerned with intentionally integrating Christ in all that he does, in particular his work environment.
In one sense, I as a pastor want to tell people exactly what to do, and in another sense, I do not.
From the standpoint of his thoughts, he needs to think in terms of one who has been given work to do and a mind to do it. Work is not part of the curse but is a blessing from God. As Christians, we should endeavor to be the best employee and team member in the office. This we do not for self-exaltation or merely for financial gain, but because “…you serve the Lord Christ.” (Col. 3:24)
On the other hand, I don’t want to tell him what to do. Instead, I want to ask him what to do. What would change if you did your current job as a missionary to Europe? What changes would you make if you had been sent to a foreign country, given a job, a house, and the mandate to be a missionary and reach those people? How would you spend your time? How would you pray? What types of relationships would you pursue? How would your read the news? What would you think of your neighbors? How would you talk to the cashiers? What would you be listening for in your community?
As Christians, we know this is the reality. God is a missionary God who sent his Son to accomplish redemption for his people and then he sent his Spirit to apply the work of Christ to his people (Gal. 4:4-6). Jesus himself pushes off against this glorious theological truth as he articulates that we, his people, are sent into the world as missionaries:
“As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:18)
As Christians, we often need a reorientation in our thinking back to our basic identity and calling. “What if you were a missionary…” is not a hypothetical question. We are missionaries sent by a missionary God. This reality must give shape to our thinking, planning, and action. I love that my friend is asking and thinking about these things.