An interesting article just came out on the Resurgence website by Sutton Turner called It’s Not a Job When It’s Ministry. It is a good article addressing the move from the secular world to a ministry position in a church. What caught my eye however, was not so much what Turner had to say about the way one approaches their work in the church, but on his basic presupposition:
At the time, I was president of a successful company that was a piece of cake to manage. My life was quiet, comfortable, and easy. I wasn’t looking for a change. Why give up CEO status to be an executive pastor at a church?
For me, the answer was simple (if not easy): God called me out of a job and into ministry. (my emphasis)
For most Christians, work in the secular world is generally not treated as ministry, but as “a job”. If we are faithful to the idea of God having a calling in each and every one of our lives however, should we not treat our job (secular or sacred) as our ministry? Surely God did not call us all into vocational ministry. Does that mean we have to wait until the end of the work day in a secular job before we can down to the business of doing our ministry?
God created Adam to work the Garden and not run a church. While the first Adam’s disobedience resulted in the ground becoming hardened and the work becoming more difficult, it was not originally intended that way. Has not the second Adam opened up the opportunity to use that work to his glory?
This is in no way meant to diminish the importance of vocational ministers. Many would argue that the position of pastor is the highest calling a man can have. In many ways I would agree, but most of us are not called into that position. As Christians, we should see our secular occupations as part of our sacred calling. We have opportunities to glorify God through the way we conduct our business, through our attitudes toward difficult times, and maybe most importantly, through the relationships we cultivate with our staff, colleagues, and clients.
This is particularly important in light of the Great Commission. We are called to go and make disciples of the nations. Is not secular employment and business a great way to do this? Think of how many opportunities the average secular worker has to interact and share the gospel with those around him or her.
Remember that regardless if your work is in a secular environment or a sacred one, your job is your ministry. “So, whether you eat or drink, or uwhatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31 ESV)