Thursday, July 20, 2017

Romance, Influence, Job and Missions

Got a spouse? There’s your romance.

Got kids? There’s your influence.

Got extended family? There’s your mission field.

Got a job? Fulfillment and purpose are within reach in your current situation, regardless.

Yet, in spite of this, many people go about their day pining for—what?—romance, missions, purpose and fulfillment!

They miss the treasure, as the Uri Shulevitz story goes, right under their nose.

And the treasure is this:

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Colossians 3:23-24

Jesus Christ makes life real simple, and abundantly fulfilling, when we finally comprehend that:

Our romance, if married, is with our spouse.

Our influence, if we have children, is our children (nieces, nephews and grandchildren all count). 
Our kids belong to God, not us, and are our ministry, entrusted by God to us to raiseHis way, not our way, and for His glory, not ours.

Kind of enhances the level of respect and regard we hold for parenting in general and stay-at-home moms and dads specifically, doesn’t it?

In addition, our fulfillment and purpose, to be found in all of our Christian life, does not exclude work and place of employment. We live out Scripture there just as we do everywhere. And if we want to make a career change, we seek the Lord, testing our every motivation against His wisdom.

As for outreach, our mission, if we so choose to accept it—not impossibly, I might add—is to jump in right where God already has us.

Marriage. Family. Career. Mission.

We distract ourselves from all of it with nebulous—perhaps even stubbornly rebellious—self-defined “greater expectations.”

And in that, we distract ourselves from the Lord.

Take missions, for example.

It is disheartening to see Christians feeling “less than” simply because they are not “getting out of their comfort zone” and traveling to under-developed locales, or are not fundraising to evangelize the “98% unreached” people in exotic Spain or Italy.

I will never forget a Moody Bible professor who, when asked by a student to financially support their summer-break Australian beach Bible pamphlet ministry, responded with,

“Are you sharing the Gospel on the beaches of Chicago, where you already live?”

“No” said the student.

“Well,” he kindly and wisely responded, “After you have spent a summer sharing the Gospel here, perhaps I will support you sharing it over there.”

He’s right: our missionary journey begins right here at home, whether or not we ever leave its periphery.

And just as missionaries physically labor, listen quietly to people in pain, show up with food, or weed gardens—all without perhaps ever speaking the Gospel per se—we, too, can live the Word out locally.

In the same way, we no longer have to drive, bike or walk to work thinking:

“Is this all there is?”

“Another rote day at the office (sigh)”

“I despise this job”


“I can put up with such and such because I’m sure to get a promotion, at which point I know I’ll love my job.”

Instead, we can go to work every day with the single-minded purpose of serving the Lord.

Finally, honoring and respecting our marriages as a joy and children as a privilege (again, entrusted by God, not created by us) changes everything. 

We see those changes, even if only in our own countenance, patience and attitude, as soon as we begin to build on a Biblical, not worldly, foundation and when we operate from a place of God’s strength, not human weakness.  

This may be new for us; a spiritual paradigm shift.

But to ignore that shift and choose to merely continue on in the way we have been is to ask the question, 

“How’s that working for us?”

With Christ, we can experience a 180-epiphany, squeal to a stop and see, there in our headlights, an amazing gift: His equipping and positioning that allows us to willingly do everything as for Him, not man.

What a high calling that makes of all of life!

copyright Barb Harwood

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;” Proverbs 3:5-7a

Jesus said,

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:9-10

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