By guest blogger David Davenport
The most critical aspect of bivocational ministry is the day job. Is my employer sympathetic to my call to ministry? How might sympathetic employment work? A business man or manager hires a person who is called to ministry, agreeing that the employee will work 30 flexible hours per week and be paid for 40.
What does this look like from an employee’s point of view? If I indeed live my life as a called individual, if I understand that I am to live each area of my life (including my job) heartily as unto the Lord (Col 3:22-24), if I realize that my workplace is my parish—then I will be the most productive person in the force. I am working directly for God, under the guidance of my boss. I am inspired by my love of the Lord to do my job better and better. My job also frees me to engage in incarnational ministry– both inside and outside of working hours. Some of the greatest impact happens with other employees and customers.
What does this look like from an employer’s point of view? Most employees look at their jobs only as a means to earn a paycheck so they we can support their life-styles. A trustworthy employee is a luxury that most employers feel we will have to do without. A dedicated and loyal employee is to be guarded with great diligence. An employer can afford to be flexible and generous to such an associate.
When Daniel and the other Hebrew youth were carted off to Babylon they were initially prisoners, but the king noticed that in Daniel there was an “excellent spirit.” The presence of the excellent spirit caused Daniel’s promotion in the kingdom. He was called upon to help solve riddles and give advice for the running of the country. The king made a bad decision based on faulty information given him by rascals, Daniel had to take a stand and that required disobedience to the commands of the king. The king was sorrowful over the situation, but carried out the punishment promised. Into the lion’s den went Daniel, but the heart of the king went in with him. The next morning when it was known that the Lord had delivered Daniel, no one was happier than the king – he needed the one with the excellent spirit. It must have also impressed the king that Daniel would be true to his moral code even in the face of death. That means that the king could count on Daniel to do right no matter what the cost. What a relief to have a person like that on your staff.
The example of a faithful employee or co-worker will have more validity than a thousand sermons. We have the opportunity to help the Lord change their hearts, but it will not be done sitting behind a desk in the church office.
Evangelical Friends Church – Mid America