Acknowledging our King
A recent theme at Restoration has been the topic of sharing Christ with others. A few of our sermon texts in Luke have pointed us in this direction, not least Erin’s sermon on Sunday. We’ve been talking about it in APEX, our youth group. And several of us just returned from the Asia Minor trip, which was thought provoking, to say the least. Of course, whenever we bring up this topic, questions arise: how am I supposed to pull this off in the midst of everything else I’m doing? Not only do I not have a lot of extra time, but sharing my faith could jeopardize my career and relationships. Does this even apply to me? What if I don’t feel called to share my faith?
To address this question, I want to return to a reference I made in a sermon a few weeks back. Some of us may have grown up with the idea that kingdom work only involves getting people saved, so if you’re not clergy, the only chance you’ll get to build the Kingdom is to support missionaries or to work in the odd evangelistic conversation with your neighbor. However, recently there’s been a recovery of a broader view of Kingdom work, such that our various vocations contribute to God’s desires for the Kingdom in the here and now.1 This is good news, since it means you can wake up in the morning and throw yourself into whatever it is you do, not hoping to squeeze in some Kingdom work at the end of the day, but building the Kingdom throughout the entire day.
So where does this leave evangelism? Does this mean that evangelism becomes a particular calling for just a few? I would disagree, because of the nature of the Kingdom in which we serve. One of the potential pitfalls of the Kingdom mindset referenced above is to view the Kingdom as being about universal, abstract concepts like justice and mercy. But God’s way is never abstract. It is always personal. All of his precepts are inherently tied to his character, his actions, and our relationship to him. With this in mind, service in the Kingdom becomes virtually meaningless without an acknowledgement of the King.
This understanding of the Kingdom poses a challenge to us, that each of us is called to acknowledge Christ, no matter our individual vocations. But at the same time, it gives us a natural way to go about doing this. If faith informs the things you do, then there any number of obvious ways to bring up Christ in the context of school, work or family. And pursuing your calling with excellence lends all the more credibility to your claims about Christ. Viewing evangelism this way means that your vocation isn’t a means to the end of sharing your faith, but rather the two go hand in hand.
So, pursue your vocation with everything you’ve got, without feeling like you have to choose between the Kingdom and your career, school or family. But all the while, look for those natural ways that your calling can point you and the people around you to the one who called you.
1. If you’re interested in exploring this idea further, Next Christians, by Gabe Lyons might be helpful.