Watchmen Nee (1903-1976), notable Chinese church leader and teacher, said, “I have never met a soul who has set out to satisfy the Lord, and has not been satisfied themselves.” I concur with his statement, as I have had many Christians share with me their disappointment with respect to their own commitment to and performance for Christ. I have yet to have a Christian tell me that they were disappointed in Jesus’ commitment to them or performance on their behalf. The difference lies in whether Christ has been given a place of centrality in our lives.
Gordon Dahl, professor of economics, stated that “Most middle-class North Americans tend to worship their work, work at their play, and play at their worship.” A fairly recent Gallup poll adds that evidence indicates that “there are no clear behavioral patterns that distinguish Christians from non-Christians in our society…” I consider both of these analyses to be insightful and sadly…somewhat accurate.
Being a Christian is something that you cannot successfully dabble in. It is not a hobby, or even a habit; it is a passion, a mission and a lifestyle! I mentioned to my church family recently (and heard an appreciative and audible affirmation of agreement) that if being a Christian was analogously compared to employment, it would not be part-time, temporary, but full-time, permanent.
There is a decisive and significant distinction between the primary calling of following Jesus and the secondary calling of a chosen vocation and various other life roles which we may engage in. My primary calling is to be in an established personal relationship with God through Christ. My secondary, or vocational calling is my engagement in the world around me using my God-given gifts and personal talents and abilities. This may be in vocational employment or volunteerism, etc. The beautiful part of it is, that I do not have to leave my primary calling behind in order to engage in the secondary calling. My chosen vocation/volunteerism is part of what I do, but being a Christian is what I am.
I want to close this article with a quote from a five-year-old girl. Her parents had just said grace at the table (the same grace that we routinely said at our table when we were growing up). “Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, and let these gifts to us be blessed.” At the close of the prayer the little girl said, “Mommy! I don’t want Jesus to be our guest!” Horrified, the mother asked, “Why not, dear?!” She replied, “Well, a guest is someone who comes sometimes, and then goes home, but I want Jesus to be here all the time!”
“…Anyone who trusts in Him (Jesus) will never be disappointed” (Romans 10:11).