That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life...
Philippians 2:15-16a

Monday, October 24, 2011

Just Being a Christian

So... what's new with you?

I ask this question to pretty well EVERY student EVERY week when they come to their lesson.  The usual response... nothing.  Some students that I've taught for several years now just roll their eyes when I ask them what's new.  As if I seriously just asked them that question AGAIN!  After all, they've been saying "nothing" for 3 years now, you'd think I'd give up asking!  But, I don't.  It's not because it's just something to say.  What's new?  I do genuinely care what's going on in their lives.  I find as a teacher, you get a better response when the students know you care about them more than just how they are going to behave in the next 29 minutes of their music lesson.  I like to know what my students are doing.  What their hobbies are.  What activities they like.  What they learned in school.  I often MAKE them tell me something they did during the week, even if their first answer is "nothing." :) And you never know, that simple question may open a door to tell them a bit about Christ.  It has before.

That was just a little story that really has nothing to do with anything.  I enjoy my work greatly.  I am blessed to be able to have a job that I can use as more than just a job.  See, my job is ministry too.  I used to work in a church full-time.  As in, I actually got paid to work in a church.  Some people call it full-time ministry.  The funny thing is, I feel like I spent very little time in "ministry" when I worked at that church compared to what I spend now!  To me the first ministry of every Christian should be to tell others about Christ. That's pretty hard to do when the only people you associate with all week are already Christians.   I realize that's there's other Christian ministry besides witnessing, but aren't we told over and over again that our main purpose as Christians is to lead others to Christ?  I'm not discounting ministry to Christians, but this is the reason why I say I spent very little time in "ministry" when I was working in what many considered full-time ministry.

Now, I spend my days associating with unsaved people.  I've found that this makes me more diligent about my actions, words, and attitudes.  When I was around Christians it didn't seem to matter so much.  Not that I behaved badly, but I didn't have the pressure of my testimony being the difference in someone's eternity either.  I believe it's much easier to become slack with our testimonies when we're around Christians all the time.  It shouldn't be that way, but I've seen it happen, and I've even noticed it in my own life.  It's a sobering thought to realize that in my workplace, I may be the only Christian some people ever meet.  Will my life lead them closer to Christ?  Or, will it just cause them to say Christians are nothing but a bunch of hypocrites?  I really don't want it to be the latter.

I used to think that I had to work in a church to be in full-time ministry.  I discovered that's not really true.  I Corinthians 10:31 says, Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.  Titus 2:7 says, In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works... Full-time ministry does not mean you have to be a pastor, church worker, or missionary.  It means that you do whatever you do for God's glory.  Whether that's being a teacher, doctor, mom, secretary, or whatever, it doesn't matter.  Every Christian is in full-time ministry.  Unfortunately, my thinking that you had to work in a church full-time in order to be in full-time ministry robbed me of many blessings and opportunities.  Thankfully, I've learned better now, and that's a good thing.  Don't let someone discount your testimony for Christ just because you choose secular employment, or because you're not a pastor or missionary.  The local church is the Body of Christ, and each and every member of that body has a God-given role and ministry.  Find yours and do it to the glory of God, knowing that's what He has given you to do!

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