I don’t have a problem with air conditioning. I like it. Really. It cools me when I’m hot, gets me cooler when I’m cool, and when I’m cold, it makes me absolutely frigid. On a hot day, an air-conditioned office can be like an all-expense-paid ride on a popsicle—the red, white and blue kind (cue “America, America” as the creepy ice cream man drives by). In a previous article (insert self-promoting hyperlink here), it may have seemed like I was condemning the countless brigades of Christians in air-conditioned cubicles. But I wasn’t. I work in a cubicle, and I’m not into the self-hating thing.
So don’t hear me wrong. I’m not saying that God can’t be honored in the office. I’m not claiming that the office can’t be a mission field. Your missions field is where God has “called” you. And that’s what I’m disputing—our notion of God’s call for our lives.
Life has its routines. We put in our 12-plus years of school because we have to (in Wisconsin, you can get arrested for not going), then head to college/tech school/work/the military because it’s the next step. We just do it. It’s part of the “What are you going to do when you grow up?” thing—and once you decide what you want to be, you take the necessary steps to get there. But it seems like we take a different notion toward missions. When I told one of my friends I was seriously considering pursuing missions full time, he asked me, “Well, do you have a call to it?”
A call … I need a call now? When I was 7 and wanted to be a zookeeper (apparently I thought scooping zebra poo would be cool), I didn’t need a call. When I was 15 and wanted to be a travel journalist, I didn’t need a call. When I was 19 and wanted to be a poet or 20 and wanting to be a lawyer, I didn’t need a call. But now that I’m thinking about missions, I need a call?
Too much of our lives we sit around waiting for a call. We say, “God, speak and I will listen (and if it doesn’t seem too hard, I’ll follow, too).” I think more often the issue is that God is already calling; we’re just not hearing Him or allowing ourselves to hear Him. How can you read “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few” and not feel called? There’s an obligation there, the same one that comes in commands like “Go and do likewise” and “Go and make disciples of all nations.” We have a duty—it’s clear, and it’s God-given. If the harvest isn’t getting harvested, it’s our fault.
Maybe God has called you to the office. If He has, stay there. Be a witness. Harvest the harvest you’ve been given to harvest. But if you’re in an office or any job for that matter—whether your office is full of computers, papers, engines, silverware, medical supplies or zebra poo—just for the heck of it, just because that’s what you decided to start saying that you were going to do someday … stop … and consider this:
There are people, entire villages, throughout this world that don’t even know who Jesus is. It’s not that they haven’t accepted Him or have heard His words and decided they’d rather hit the buffet line of other religions—they don’t even know Jesus existed. No one’s told them. Worship doesn’t exist.
Then look at your own Deist-founded country: the First-Church-of-a-Church-on-Every-Other-Street-Corner, the family-friendly Christian radio stations, the megachurch cable channels, the Jesus fish on the bumper of that slow-moving minivan in the left lane, the Christian right parading through the White House … compare. Determine where God needs you most. And stop waiting for a call. And don’t let the comfort of an office, a good job, an attractive spouse/wannabe spouse (as in “you desperately want them to be your spouse”) or financial security hold you back. Just go. Because your missions field isn’t just where you feel “called” to go, it’s where you do go.
The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are still—2,000 years later—far too few.