Members in Action
If I Didn’t Have This Job
January 1, 2017
Sometimes we get caught up in the goals, strategies, and duties of our jobs and forget our real purpose. There are some who are called to quit their jobs and go into full-time ministry, but what about those of us who feel the burdens of both work and ministry? We find ourselves stuck between a rock and a hard place: “Let him labor…that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Ephesians 4:28) and “They ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:42).
For certain types of witnessing, we may think, “I could do that with time on my hands–if I didn’t have this job.” I, too, have caught myself thinking this. But what if God has a special job that those of us in the secular work fields are called to do? It’s a hard and at times an awkward one. One that, I think, is our duty as Christians. But what do I know? I’m 17. All I know is what I’ve found. Aquila and Priscilla were tentmakers; Lydia sold fine linen, and me? I’m a music artist. My job requires a lot of travel. I’ve found planes to be one of the best places to share about Christ (mainly because we’re all stuck there). I’ve had many interesting spiritual conversations with atheists, different types of Christians, and people who point-blank ask me what I believe and why I believe it. I’ve realized the need to be available for such opportunities, however inconvenient.
One of those instances was on a flight to Orlando. It had been a long day–especially for one of the stewards, by the look on his face. We made mental notes to stay out of his way. During the flight, a thunderstorm broke, so my mother and I went to sit in the empty back seats where it was most bumpy. (Why miss out on a roller-coaster ride, right?) The steward, now on break, started a conversation with me. After some small talk, I found he was definitely not “religious” nor particularly interested in spiritual things -–he didn’t even seem to have the patience for it.
But he asked what I did for a living. “What kind of music?” Like any good mother, mine piped up, “Oh, I have some here on my phone. Would you like to listen?” As he reached for his earbuds, we quietly discussed, “This might be our only chance to witness to him. What song do we play?”
Immediately the impression came. He plugged in his earbuds. Who knows what type of music he was expecting to hear, because when the words, “What a Friend we have in Jesus, /All our sins and griefs to bear…” rang through his ears, his face became sullen; perturbed, as if memories and feelings once buried were all rushing back again. I shifted tensely in my seat, keenly aware of his unsettled presence behind me. Taken aback as he was, he kept listening. “Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” When the song was over, he removed his earbuds gently; his countenance, peaceful. “That was beautiful,” he murmured almost reverently. The plane landed and we had to part. I still think of him and wonder. What must he have experienced to darken at the mention of God’s name? What compelled him to listen on? He seemed at peace when it was over. I wonder what the struggle was that went on inside his head. Will that simple song have made an impact on his eternal destiny? I may never know. I just know that God used me in my line of work to do His work, reaching people that I otherwise may not have even come in contact with if I didn’t have this job.
I’m realizing the importance of seeing ministry and work-life as two entities working hand in hand. Our places of employment are our mission fields; our hard work and accomplishments are tools, used according to the ability of our character, shaped through our communion with God to influence the hearts and minds of those around us.
We all have a unique role to play in our different situations. Though we may feel we have little influence with our colleagues, customers, or superiors, God has placed us in the very spot He needs to shine. He promises that all things work together for good to those that love God and are called according to His purpose, for He has chosen us in our current sphere of influence to “be an example of the believers,” “a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.”