‘Off-The-Clock’ Christians
by Jon Walker

«But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you ….» (1 Peter 2:9 MSG)

Here’s the snapshot: As I write this, I’m sitting in a restaurant, pre-dawn, sipping on Southern sweet tea. (Who needs coffee when you can have the nectar of God? Ha!)

The restaurant is a chain you would recognize if I gave the name, and in a booth a few feet away from me is a group of employees, mostly college age. Some of them are on-duty and in uniform; some are just getting off the night shift and, although still in uniform, shirt-tails are coming out and ties are coming off, and – a third category appears present – employees who evidently don’t work this morning, but have just come in to hang-out.

It is a slow time; I am the only customer in the place.

As the group talks, one young man in particular punctuates his conversation with four-letter words, salted with a generous dose of seven-letter phrases. Following his conversational leadership, others in the group contribute their own forms of profanity to the mix.

Far from being a prude, I could have been one of these kids, in my youth, about 227 years ago, but I still thought, «If this moment were captured for the next commercial for such a family-oriented restaurant, would the corporate office be pleased?»

Some of these employees were «off the clock,» some of them were out of uniform, but within this context, all of them were representing the restaurant.

Snapshot point: There are no «off the clock» moments as a Christian, where you can «dis-identify» yourself from Christ. As a believer, you are a representative of Christ – but more so – you are a minister sent and authorized by God.

The Bible teaches that every Christian is:

Created for ministry (Ephesians 2:10)
Saved for ministry (2 Timothy 1:9)
Called into ministry (1 Peter 2:9-10)
Gifted for ministry (1 Peter 4:10)
Authorized for ministry (Matthew 28:18-20)
Commanded to minister (Matthew 20:26-28)
Prepared for ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12)
Needed for ministry (1 Corinthians 12:27)
Accountable for and rewarded according to his or her ministry (Colossians 3:23-24).

This means ordinary people with children and jobs and mortgages and really, really full calendars — in other words, people just like you — are called to be ministers from God.

A fifth grade teacher writes, «I come from a very traditional Christian home. We believed missionaries had to be trained in seminaries and receive ‘the calling.’

«When the opportunity came to go with a mission team to Nigeria, I was concerned that I wasn't ‘properly’ trained, nor did I have enough theological knowledge,» she says. «But my experience in Nigeria totally challenged my beliefs about missions. I became more aware of God's sovereignty and his ability to use anyone, even those who are ‘unworthy.’ We just have to make ourselves available.»

God doesn’t want you to waste your talents; he wants you to make a difference with your life. He created you to make a contribution to the world now – in your lifetime.

So what?

· You are shaped for this – The God of the universe shaped you uniquely to make a contribution, to make a difference – as you take steps of faith toward going on mission and completing your mission on earth.

· God will support you – There is no way you can fail in your mission –unless you fail to accept the calling of ministry that comes with being a believer in Jesus Christ or fail to follow in faith God’s direction.

· Just ask God – Ask him how he wants you to contribute. Ask him how he wants to use your SHAPE to make a difference in the world. Ask God, «Where can I make the greatest contribution for your glory? What kind of God-legacy do you want me to leave?»

© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.


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