Ana thinks that her job as a nurse is a dead end because she isn't serving God "full-time." Jose wants to leave the business world for the same reason. Many Christians today want to make their lives count for the cause of Christ, yet they don't realize that their lives can count - everyday. They don't realize the power of a profession. There are at least three ways you can release the power of your profession.
Jesus knew the power of a profession when He said, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (Mat. 5:14-16) Light shines the brightest where it is the darkest. Chances are your workplace is a spiritually dark place. It needs the witness of your goldy life and it needs to hear your godly words. Paul understood this when he wrote "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Col. 3:17)
Once when I was working as an English teacher, I developed an excellent rapport with one student in particular. He became very interested in spiritual things. I prayed and sought an opportunity to share the Gospel with him. When I knew it was God's time I shared the plan of salvation with him - how he could invite Jesus into his life. He said he wasn't ready, but he thanked me for presenting the Gospel to him so clearly.
The key is more than simply living a life of truth. The key is proclaiming the Truth and the Life. If you want to radically impact your workplace for Christ - to harness the power of your profession - then ask the Holy Spirit to give you opportunities to verbally proclaim the life-changing ability of our Father.
To be competitive in the global market, many Brazilian companies are sending their employees abroad for training and for work for days or weeks at a time. If you want to make a global impact for Christ, here's your chance! If you have the chance to accept a position that guarantees a certain amount of travel, then go for it! It's your chance to leave your "Jerusalem" and "Judea" and be Christ's witness at the "ends of the earth!" (cf. Acts 1:8)
But suppose your company won't be sending you abroad any time soon. No problem. There are numerous Christian organizations that specialize in sending professionals on short-term mission trips. I have friends who are nurses, doctors, dentists, business men and women, agronomists, teachers, etc., who regularly take short-term mission trips to places such as Angola, North Africa, and the former Soviet Republic of Moldova. And many times part of the ministry is that they pay their own way. They know God hasn't called them to be career missionaries, but they still take personal responsibility to help fulfill the Great Commission. They understand the power of their professions.
Ricardo, a sharp young engineer, had been on several short-term mission trips, using his skills in underdeveloped Asian countries. But somewhere along the line something changed. He was no longer content to serve as a "missionary" for only one or two weeks per year. He longed to be at the frontlines of the battle, ministering in a land where most people had never heard of Jesus. Yet he was sure that God didn't want him to quit everything, go to Bible college for four years and then head to the mission field. Then one day a missionary shared his testimony at Ricardo's church and Ricardo knew the answer to his prayers. That day Ricardo learned about tent-making.
In Acts 18:3 we read that Paul sometimes used his profession as a tentmaker to support his ministry. Today the word tentmaker can be used to describe any Christian who works at a secular job in order to support his ministry. More specifically it is used to describe a Christian who, by virtue of his or her profession, is able to live (and consequently minister) in a country closed to traditional missionaries. Language teachers in China, oil workers in the Middle East, agronomists in North Africa, business men and women in Asia; these are tentmakers. They are Christians who realize the power of their professions in the hands of God.
What about you? Are you ready to put your profession in God's hands? Will you let Him use you anywhere in the world for His glory? Sharing the gospel with your friends at work? Using your skills on a short-term mission trip? Tent-making in another country?
The score was tied at 50. There were 5 seconds left. There was tension in the air. We could win the game. As I dribbled the basketball toward our goal, everything went into slow-motion, just like in the movies. I don't know the physiological reasons for this, but it really happens! It was a good thing, too, because I needed the extra time to figure out what to do! I shot a glance at the clock - 3 seconds. I was oblivious to my teammates downcourt calling for the ball as I ran several steps toward the half-court line, saw that there were less than two seconds left, and shot the ball with all the might my 15 year old body could muster.
SWISH!!!!! At the buzzer! The crowd went wild! (All 15 of them.) We won, 52 to 50!
For once in my life, I was the hero. I was the one everyone was cheering for and congratulating.
By God's grace you can arrive in heaven in the same way - to the glorious applause of the angels and those whose lives you impacted. You can hear God say, "Well done," because you understood the power of your profession.
© Joao Mordomo, 1998. All rights reserved.
Joao Mordomo is the Executive Director of a Brazilian cross-cultural missions agency. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org