I serve as an administrative assistant for a counseling office. I answer phones, scan files, sort paperwork and handle insurance benefits. I often spend my days at work without the opportunity to mention Christ to the hopeless people coming through our doors or to my co-workers.
I’m not alone. So many of us have jobs that just don’t seem relevant to our walk as Christians. We work as teachers, secretaries, small business owners, wait staff, students, stay-at-home moms or soldiers. We want to serve Christ, but we feel we must relegate our service to Sunday mornings or Wednesday nights. Those on the stages at our churches and out on the mission field do the real spiritual heavy lifting, we think. Is this what God has for us?
While reading Wayne McDill’s Moment of Truth, I stumbled upon a line that revealed this far too common thought pattern. In describing his call to become a pastor, he said,
I was to be a man of God. This was a sacred calling and carried with it the promise of God that He would lead me and empower me for the work.
While not explicitly stated, his words can lead readers to believe that his calling is unique in the respects he mentioned. To be called to be a pastor is a calling to be a man of God, the one calling for which God will provide support. I am not picking on McDill; many books speaking to and about ministry have a similar ring to them. They often encourage the idea that the best and most important form of ministry is pastoral leadership or missions work; those are the Christians really doing the work of God.
When we read the Bible, though, we see various passages that explicitly contradict this line of thinking. We are each called to be men and women of God, serving Him in the ways He has prepared us for (cf. 1 Peter 4:10, Matthew 25:15, Romans 12:3-11, Exodus 35:10). 1 Corinthians 12 goes into a thorough explanation of how God grants each member of His body different talents and how all are necessary.
Don’t misunderstand me: Preachers and missionaries are absolutely vital to the body of Christ. But so are many other parts of the body. Without them, the work of preachers and missionaries can often fall flat. In fact, many Christians’ failure to bring their faith to bear on their careers, friendships and personal lives has lead some nonbelievers to disregard the words of preachers and missionaries.
For example, when I told my co-workers I was a Christian, I could sense their misgivings. They had good reason to be skeptical; we have been failing our orders to be light in this world, and the world has noticed. These co-workers had met Christians before. Christians had let them down, and they assumed I would do the same. If the greatest preacher in the world preached a sermon just for them, they would have ignored it. Their hearts were hardened against God’s Word because of past experience.
That’s where the other parts of Christ’s body come into play. By going the extra mile and offering to help my co-workers and our clients over the course of months and years, their perception of Christianity has begun to change. I have had opportunities to share the Gospel, and some have even asked me to pray for them during hard times. While I have not had the privilege of seeing any of them come to Christ, I pray that if they now heard that sermon from the greatest preacher in the world, their hearts would be a little bit softer and they just might listen.
Whether in an office, a classroom, at home, on the mission field or elsewhere, God has placed you there to be of use to Him, to bring Him glory. 1 Corinthians 12:18 says, “But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.” God arranged things so that you are where He chose you to be. You may not have had a moment where the heavens opened and God called you to your current occupation, but it doesn’t matter one bit. By doing your job excellently and being full of integrity, the interactions you have with people will have an impact on them and bring God glory. If you are faithful to your ministry wherever God has placed you, you can bring God as much glory as any preacher or missionary.
Tami Gomez is a part of the Center for Faith and Culture’s mentorship program.