Tuesday, November 07, 2006
a mini-exodus of sorts is happening among the young people of our church, specifically the college students. Some of these young people -- dear friends of ours -- have moved to a student-oriented church, letting go of ministries and without really meaning to, hurting some of the people they have left, and raising confusion among the youth still with us.
I get why they leave -- this 'new' church's main focus is missions and the call of adventure, the very thought of being personally called (me! he called my name!), stirs a passion and bestows a sense of purpose and direction that the youth craves. It is no coincidence, after all, that most conversions happen in college -- this is the time when one decides the kind of person he will be for the rest of his life. This is the time when we ask ourselves the most about our purpose in life and where we want to go.
This 'new' church issues a clear call and provides direction to all those willing to take it -- and it is undoubtedly a worthy calling. To spread the Word of God is a privilege and a duty commissioned to ALL believers. For the love of their God, they are trained to the high calling of becoming his speakers and church builders where worship of the Christ is nonexistent.
For a young man who looks desperately at the huge cosmos and asks himself what it all means and wonders where his place is in this vast mystery, the clear and unequivocal calling of missions is like a blazing lighthouse in the middle of a dark, stormy sea. Here is a clear-cut direction. Here is an evident purpose. In the tempest of confusion that we call life, an unambiguous course -- a clear vision -- is a lifeline we all search for.
Frankly, in the list of options a confused young man can choose in his life, devoting oneself to missions is one of the better calls he could answer.
My church, however, focuses on a more vague, less clear-cut vocation: the high calling of everyday living. We are charged to shine as christians regardless of who we are or where we're placed -- no matter how seemingly ordinary it is. On our jobs, our families, our duties, ourselves. Our task is to sweep the floor, teach children, sell our goods, pray faithfully, be a gentle boss, a father-friend, an honest officer, a cheerful fisherman, a good friend, a diligent student, a law-abiding everyday man -- all done in the way that Jesus would want us to do.
It is a far less... flamboyant vocation. Unlike in missions where the harvest is readily apparent, the fruits of everyday living for Christ is harder to determine. Not a month would pass when a 9-to-5 guy would ask himself if the small cubicle in his flourescent-riddled office is where he's really meant to be and if the stack of papers in his desk really glorifies his God. To the overwhelmed mother who has to change the diapers of her baby while cooking for her three other children, everyday living can seem more of a burden than a godly calling.
And yet, the Bible says that eternal life is given to every believer regardless of their post. Whether you're a pastor or a barber, you have the same calling -- to worship the Lord with your life. There is no 'higher calling' simply because you are already called to do the utmost: to live for your God.
I get why some of our youth left our church -- heck, i get the same heart pounding desire to drop everything and join missions like they do. I just hope that in time, they realize while it is a worthy endeavor, it is not the only thing they can do for their God. There are no hierarchies here, no question on which vocation is more favored. The command is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all of yourself -- wherever you happen to be.
(*photos from shutterstock)