Having guilt feelings that you are in the marketplace – and not in ministry?
Sometimes believers feel that being in the marketplace carries little weight in God’s eyes. They think being in the world out there is “second-class” in God’s eyes – and being in ministry is “first-class”.
Those in “full-time” ministry may have a collar or a title before or after their name, all of which tend to confer an aura of respectability.
However, this unwarranted guilt trip will be corrected once we reframe our mindset.
First, we need to understand the concept of spheres of influence.
Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth with a Mission (YWAM), shares what he calls the “Seven Mountains of Culture” – Family, Church, Education, Media, Arts and Entertainment, Business and Government – that believers can make a difference in.
Linking it to Jesus’ concept of the kingdom (Luke 17:21), he points out: “The kingdom is in your heart; it’s within you. Whenever Jesus is on the throne of your heart, the kingdom has come. And when you go into a sphere, the kingdom has come into that sphere.”
Now why mountains? It is based on what Caleb said in Joshua 14:12: “Now give me this mountain …” Like Caleb, believers should claim these spheres of influence as their inheritance.
Paul, the greatest apostle, sets us an example. He was a self-supported tentmaker who delivered the Gospel without cost to the hearers. We can find no trace of a secular-spiritual divide in his life.
Indeed, there shouldn’t be an artificial divide between the laity and clergy as both are actually “full-time” for God, not just the latter. Honest work, be it secular or spiritual, is held in esteem in God’s eyes.
A missionary is one sent by God on a mission. Whether you’re a school teacher or a missionary who goes to a foreign land to witness, you are sent by God. Whatever you’re called to is holy, be it “secular” or “spiritual”.
Second, believers need to understand the theology of the priesthood of believers. The apostle Peter affirms that we are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). We need to reclaim our positions as “priests” and “kings”. We are able to minister to others because our competence is from God (2 Corinthians 3:5, 6). The Holy Spirit guides us with wisdom and empowers us to perform the task God has called us to do.
If we are competent “priests” empowered by the Spirit, then we should be able to serve God wherever we are placed – even if it’s outside the four walls of the church. However, we still need to submit to the spiritual authority of our church leaders and recognise the special offices that God has appointed (Ephesians 4:11, 12).
* But the question is how do we determine our calling? Is it to become a “full-time worker” or a marketplace minister?
Believers need not fret when this issue arises. Missionary Norman Grubb has this bit of practical advice:
Do not give a thought about how you should become a transformed Christian and serve your community. Walk with God, not ahead or behind but beside Him … accept yourself, be yourself, love yourself! He has mapped out His plan for you even before you were born. So start by appreciating that you are a special person and specially gifted by God. For what purpose? That is not your business. That is God’s business. Get on with your daily occupation and put all your heart into them … “Be still and know that I am God” … So be still; have faith in God and enjoy Him until He opens the door where you are to serve Him.
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