Modern Christianity has this idea that there is a hierarchy of vocations in the world. There are missionaries, ministers and the rest of us. It’s a shame because you don’t see that in the bible. God calls all sorts of people to do all sorts of things and doesn’t say one is more valuable than the other. I think it leads to guilt in people who aren’t missionaries or ministers that maybe we are second rate Christians or not doing enough for God or maybe we are ignoring God’s calling on our lives. It’s so untrue. God places each one of us in certain situations and places in life for His purpose and we cannot know what that is most of the time. I think it also leads to everyone who is not called to be a missionary or minister to feel as though they are off the hook for ministering to God’s people which is also not true. God has something for each of us to do. It might be something we humans see as “big” like starting a worldwide ministry or “small” like cleaning toilets but God doesn’t see things in these categories, that’s a made up human thing. We are all needed in the body of Christ whether you have a very public “seen” job or a “unseen” job. None could function without the others. We gotta stop categorizing jobs and callings in Christianity. Let me tell you about my own life as an example.
Growing up I always felt like I would be a counselor. I went to school and got a degree in psychology and met my husband who was getting a degree in Spanish. His direction in life, he felt at the time, was to be a missionary in Mexico so studying Spanish seemed logical. When we met I knew we were called to be together and he was my person but the calling of missionary wasn’t something I had ever considered. I prayed and God assured me He had a plan and just to trust. We both graduated and continued working at our families florist. We knew he needed to make more money to support us as we pursued missionary training and he needed summers off so we decided he would go get his teaching certificate to teach Spanish. Before I made my application to graduate school to pursue counseling we found out we were expecting our first baby. Shortly before I had Sam we met with the elders and ministers at our church to discuss our desire to go on the mission field that summer. It was then we got an answer we didn’t expect. No. They felt like it wasn’t the right time for us. We were shocked by that but we spent a long time in prayer and discovered it was what God was saying. They asked Glenn if he could do anything else what would it be and he said to get his masters degree and teach Spanish in college. So, he applied to grad school while we tried to figure out what God was up to.
Having to tell people around us that we decided not to pursue being missionaries was very difficult. It wasn’t well received. We felt shame and guilt over what people thought because we believed and had been taught that not being a missionary was somehow less valuable to God. Maybe He didn’t think we were ready or able to do it so maybe He had demoted us. Now I was “just” a stay at home mom and Glenn was “just” a Spanish teacher who was pursuing a secular masters degree (horrors). We felt judged and it wasn’t comfortable. We judged ourselves as well. Were we taking the easy way out? We felt certain we were doing what God was leading us to but how could He lead you away from being a missionary? Wasn’t that the calling for all good Christians?
Years went by and now we find ourselves looking back on things. Since that time we can see where God was leading us each step to where we are. There have certainly been hard times and God has led us through and continues to, but I can see that our life here, doing what we are doing is what we are called to and what God has for us in this moment. We have had seven beautiful boys and I have had the privilege to be at home with. Glenn has gone from being a teacher to an administrator to now, as of a few months ago, being an executive director at his school. That’s not a place we would have ever expected. We have done various ministries at our church from youth pastors, to prayer team to nursery. We have adopted two special needs kids. What I know now is that every single thing we have done has been what God has called us to. All of it. And all of it is important and none greater than the rest. Glenn has such a mission to those families and teachers he serves at his school. I can’t imagine a larger platform for people to see God through someone than his job. I joke and say he’s a secular pastor because it’s his responsibility to care for those people at his school every day and their families and he takes that calling very seriously.
I have no idea what the future holds. We are praying about many things and what God would have us to do next but whatever it is, it is important whether big or small. Please, please hear that whatever you are doing and wherever you are, if you are listening and obeying God, you are on a mission. You are where God wants you to be, doing something really important for him. There are no top tier jobs in God’s kingdom. If God calls you to something unexpected that isn’t what others deem valuable, ignore them. They aren’t God. Only He can say what is your calling. Be brave and step out into whatever He is calling you to.
“In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.
6-8 If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.”
I love this passage in Romans about us all being part of one body. Don’t try to be something you aren’t.