Monday, February 20, 2006

Not a Side Project (Part II)

The Glory of My Job

But let us become as specific as possible. Consider just your job, the work you do to make a living. This is one of clearest ways possible of focusing upon apprenticeship to Jesus. To be a disciple of Jesus is, crucially, to learning from Jesus how to do your job as Jesus himself would do it. New Testament language for this is to do it “in the name” of Jesus.

Once you stop to think about it, you can see that not to find your job to be a primary place of discipleship is to automatically exclude a major part, if not most, of your waking hours from life with him. It is to assume to run of the largest areas of your interest and concern on your own or under the direction and instruction of people other than Jesus. But this is right where most professing Christians are left today, with the prevailing view that discipleship is a special calling having to do chiefly with religious activities and "full-time Christian service."
Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy - Chapter 8: On Being a Disciple or Student of Jesus. Pages 285.

My experience varies from Willard in that the call to discipleship has always been universal, but that call has often focused on religious expressions. You are a disciple at work if you pray in the cafeteria or hold Bible studies, but how you do your your actual job is never mentioned. When people speak of ministry they never talk about what they spend most of their time doing but their Church involvement. I don't think it's an either or but a both and where only one side of the equation has gotten 95% of the attention.

This is pattern in the Church that stretches back for centuries, so it's easy for people to hear the message that you're only spiritual in Church even when the intent to say that is not there. I know fell into that trap last week.

- Peace

1 comment:

Richard said...

I think John the Baptist knew this concept very well indeed when he advised the soldiers and tax collectors on how to live out their baptism of repentance.

Though I cannot but help think we've somehow forgotten this for about two thousand years and are only now starting to rediscover this truth. When Opus Dei began, some fairly traditional Catholics dismissed it because the founder dared to suggest that an ordinary person could, by offering their lives to God and others in love, achieve as great a degree of holiness as a priest, nun, or monk could.

Anecdotally, when Emperor Charles V was confessing to his priest, the priest said "so far, we have heard of the sins of Charles - let us now hear the sins of the Emperor".

On a personal workplace note, the one that currently occupies most of my attention is paying wages. For years, I've been smugly noticing employers violate that rule and thinking how ethically bankrupt they were. Now, my application messed up and did not recognize January 1, 2006 as a statholiday and failed to pay bonuses properly.