“Is it bad that I love my job?”
My husband asked this just a few months after getting on at one of the highest paying factories in our area. While the job was extremely physical and the factory wasn’t air conditioned, he took a lot of pride in getting up early each day to provide for his family. He was grateful for the opportunity, especially after many years in a printing factory where he made very little. ($11/hr and yes, it’s a fish and two loaves kind of story.)
“Seriously. Am I wrong because I love my job?”
Just a few years earlier, his childhood pastor told him he would have to choose between secular work and vocational ministry. A missionary friend told him that if he was truly called to the ministry, he wouldn’t have the desire to do anything else. And his pastor at that time made it clear that he couldn’t truly be faithful to the ministry if he was working this job.
I watched him wrestle with this, because he wanted to “go big for God,” but his obligation to support his family and work came first. He was sick over it, because he felt he was failing his calling.
We were in a world where the ministry was everything. Church all day on Sunday, Bible studies through the week, church on Wednesday, soul winning on Thursday. It was everything. But he was in a place where he had to say no sometimes in order to do his secular job well. Sometimes he had to work Sundays. *gasp* Sometimes, much to my dismay, he led the singing in work clothes rather than a dress shirt and tie.
We constantly talked about the future, wondering what “God was going to do.” We were living in a fantasy of expectation that eventually we would come to full realization of God’s true will for us. We just needed to work harder and prove ourselves more.
But we were missing the beauty in front of us. God provided a good paying job, children to raise in nurture and admonition, and a life to live to His glory.
I share this story, because it’s been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve been wondering what Christian service looks like now that I’m not in the IFB. I’ve been terrified to even do anything at all, because I know my temptation to be the “yes girl.” I know my temptation to be what everyone needs me to be so that I can belong and cancel out any noise of insecurity or doubt.
I’ve also been thinking a lot about how we often viewed “the ministry” as what is seen. The preacher in the pulpit, the missionary on the field, the musicians on the worship team, the teachers, the evangelists. I would’ve been at the church every day of the week, because I wanted to be fully sold out for Jesus. Radical. Going big for God.
A lot of the time, we enter this escapist mindset of what God’s supposed “hidden will” might be rather than being faithful in our current reality. We think somehow God has slighted us by not giving us more or perhaps we put ourselves on a treadmill of performance to prove we can handle more.
But what about the ordinary? What about the faithful obedience of Christians as they raise their families? They work their job, love their neighbors, serve their local church, and faithfully pursue Christ through the study of the Word. What about pursuing God through the seemingly unimpressive and mundane? What about being a light in an ever darkening world that needs Christian doctors, nurses, teachers, factory workers, mechanics, etc? What about sharing the gospel wherever you are?
We are given the incredible gift of pastors and teachers who teach us the Word, as well as teaching us how to study ourselves. What a precious gift to the saints this is! However, the purpose of this is not to build kingdoms and cults, but to scatter into our communities, families, and jobs to reach others with the Gospel. The assembling of the saints is commanded and necessary, but so is the great commission of scattering and proclaiming. It is living out whatever purpose God has given us through faithful obedience.
God has me right where He wants me. My story isn’t yours and yours isn’t mine. I’m a wife, mom, and a homeschool teacher. How can I faithfully pursue God’s will here? How can I please God with my life here? After all, that’s what He wants. What He doesn’t want is bitter discontentment that feels like His will isn’t here yet.
I have a lot of regret about spending so many years “waiting on God’s will.” I missed out on moments with my kids, because I knew I’d be happier if I was *just* where He wanted me. I used “His will” as an excuse for discontentment and maybe even laziness in my day to day. I condemned myself over what ways I might be failing and keeping God from using me. I missed out on relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ, because I had myself elevated to a special kind of Christian. (Go on and puke. It’s cool.)
But today, I’ve never felt more free to live out God’s purpose in my life. Rather than agonizing over what might be, I’m just trying to live for His glory right here. I have no idea where that will lead, but His sovereignty reminds me that I don’t have to stress over it.
Resting in God’s grace is good.