Does God care what you do for a living? Are some jobs more spiritual than others? Or more significant?
I think many of us subconsciously assume that “full time ministry” jobs are God’s favorites. After all, he called some fisherman and changed them into evangelists. He called one shepherd and asked him to free his people from slavery in Egypt, and another to become king of Israel.
But how many people does God ask to remain fishermen or shepherds? Is that a calling? Is working in a factory, writing software, or selling appliances something God wants us to do?
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
How many times were we asked that as kids? And how many kids announce that they want to be a “nobody” when they become adults? We want to be astronauts, firefighters and doctors, or perhaps president. In many Christian families, the goal is more spiritual: pastor or missionary. The bottom line is, everyone wants to be significant.
I was raised with the message that “I could be anything I wanted” when I grew up. Of course that’s ridiculous. I’m such a klutz, I fell off my stool in art class in 8th grade (and the social fail of it obviously scarred me for life). Clearly, I wasn’t going to be a professional athlete… or a whole host of other things.
Karin at elephant god temple in Nepal
Dear Friends and Family,
- Would you contribute to my ministry trip? I’m going to the Philippines this summer.
- I need to raise $1500 to go to Afghanistan.
- My church is sending a team to the Dominican Republic to build a church building—can you help?
Yup, the letters are arriving right on schedule, as both teens and older adults are making their plans and raising prayer and financial support. We always set some money aside in our giving budget to support these short term mission efforts, partly because we believe they will make a difference in the area where they will be working, and largely because it is a life-changing experience for the fledgling missionary. There is a vast gap between hearing about the world and seeing it with your own eyes.
“It’s all about widows and orphans!” Our pastor spoke with passion as he introduced the new direction our church would be taking. “The Bible makes it clear in James 1:27 that ministry to widows and orphans is the closest to God’s heart, so that’s what we’ll be doing.”
“May God judge those who have the Bible in their own languages or who have the same in their own houses if they do not obey the commandment of Jesus Christ and if they do not help those who have no Bibles either in their houses or in their own languages!” These strong words were taken verbatim from the website of a ministry dedicated to providing Bibles in the native tongues of India. Clearly, they believe every Christian should be involved in Bible translation.
“I don’t mean to offend you,” my friend explained, “I know you’re involved in world missions, but I truly believe my ministry is more important. Before these babies can come to Christ, they have to be born. I’m sure that the Pro-life movement is God’s number one priority!”
I agree wholeheartedly that these are all important ministries. We, as the body of Christ, should be involved in all of these things, and many more besides. But are any of these the most important? Does God really have a hierarchy of ministries? Are some of the ways we serve more important, more strategic, than others? And if they are, can we, as mere mortals, determine which is which?