February 1, 2010
When Sealy Yates was 15 years old, he responded to an altar call at his church. “I wanted to live for God,” he said later, “and the only frame of reference I had said that meant full-time Christian work.” But when Sealy talked to a school counselor later, he was told he should become an attorney. Sealy was shocked. No one in his family had ever gone to college, much less to law school. He worked hard, studied, prayed a lot, and he made it. Flash forward to his 25th year, where Sealy is working as a young lawyer in a successful firm and married to a wonderful woman with whom he is busy raising their first child. There is only one problem. Sealy is miserable, even profoundly depressed. He is tortured in his mind with questions such as, “Is this all there is? Is this what I should do with my life?” In Sealy’s Christian upbringing, there had never been any training on worldview. He had never even heard that someone could serve God with all his heart and not be in full-time ministry. The idea of integrating his faith with his profession had never occurred to him, and it certainly wasn’t a class offered in law school. When he discovered a Christian study program that teaches law professionals how to address their clients’ spiritual lives, Sealy’s life was radically changed. He found out that he was already in the ministry. “People typically come to lawyers when they are in a crisis,” he said. “It’s a phenomenal opportunity to help them do what’s right.” A lawyer with a biblical worldview and a heart for people can be a powerful tool in the hand of God. So can a college professor, a policeman, a contractor, a plumber, or a housewife.
Even a politician can be used by God. A congressional chief of staff said many Christian young people who come to Washington feel guilty about their interest in politics. “They feel if they were really committed to God,” he said, “they’d be in the ministry.” One top Washington official said most Christians simply don’t have a sense of calling in their jobs, and therefore “fail to treat it as front-line work for the Kingdom.” He spoke of one doctor who stopped practicing medicine to join the staff of a Christian organization. The Washington official challenged the man by telling him, “Your medical practice was a ministry, just as much as what you are doing now.” The doctor admitted that he had never thought of it that way before. (from “Total Truth,” by Nancy Pearcy).
What if King David had decided to leave his job to “be a full-time minister?” He was a minister, used mightily by God to lead a nation. You do not need to work for a church to be a minister of the Gospel. You can and should be a minister of the Gospel in whatever profession God has called you to. One way you will minister is through your excellence in your chosen field. Martin Luther King said, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
How should we then live? Serve God where we are. As Paul said, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
February 1, 2010