Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Called to joy

I really appreciated the sermon this week at church. Our rockin' family pastor, Ben Forbes, shared about how being faithful in the role God has given you now is how we will win folks to Christ. So many times we assume that the only people who are "called" to ministry are those who are in full time positions as vocational pastors or missionaries. But this is a false dichotomy. The Hebrews and Greeks had no such delineation between the secular and sacred. The truth is, all of us who have been saved by Christ are called to be a faithful minister wherever we are. Even if we cannot use our words to preach our faith, we can still make a powerful witness just be doing our job with cheerfulness, industry and integrity. This makes a statement as it is contrary to the world's work standard: whining, slacking and lying.

A few months ago I walked into work, humming a bit of praise and worship I'd been listening to in the car. As I strolled down the hall, my charge nurse stopped me and said, "I'm so glad you are here today. I know I can count on you to not whine and to be cheerful. Everyone else is such a complainer, it really brings me down." And just like that I had an opportunity to share Him - the One who gives me grace and joy to not whine. The One who puts a spring in my step and gives me a light heart.

I remember back in high school when I went on a missions trip to Venezuela. During our commisioning service the leaders prayed over each of us and had a word of prophecy for some folks. I was all excited, waiting my turn, wondering what thrilling thing the Lord would say to me. When they got to me, Susan (whom we named our daughter afer) laid put her hands on my shoulders, looked me straight in the eye and said, "Your joy will be your gift to the people of Venezuela and the world." I was so disappointed. Joy? Seriously? That was it?

But as I have grown older (no wise cracks here), I have realized that this really is a gift. Our world is not joyful. We are entertained and amused, but rarely do we find that deep-in-the-soul joy that springs from true life in Him. So when my friends see that there is something different here, a joy that springs from the indwelling Christ, instead of the fleeting amusement of the moment, their interest is piqued.

I think this is the essence of the Christian calling. Some are called to work in a Christian vocation. But all are called to the ministry of countercultural living, where we live as lights and stand ready to give an answer for our hope.


Lorie said...

You go girl...spread your Joy everywhere! We are about to start a study on Spiritual Gifts in my ladies Bible study and I just cannot wait to see what these ladies find out about themselves!