One of the jokes I’ve repeated over the years relates to the sacred vs. secular divide. You know what I’m talking about: the separation between people who work a vocation paid by the church. as opposed to work done for secular purposes. The joke goes, those in ministry are paid to be good. The rest of us (Christ-followers) are good for nothing.
Amateur vs. Professional
I have also referred to those sacred positions as professional Christians. But that analogy falls short, too. There was a time when we appreciated amateurs more, and often, they were better than the pros. An amateur is someone who does something for love, and not for money. We don’t seem to appreciate amateurs in most lines of work, except maybe politics. Probably the equivalent today are those who choose a lesser lifestyle to do something because they love the work, or the product it produces. Teachers, first-responders, and career military jump to mind.
Jesus’ plan for changing the world involves everyday, amateur Jesus followers. Jesus healed a demon possessed man but afterward, the people of that region wanted Jesus to leave. They didn’t his holiness to confront or challenge their way of life. As he was leaving, the man he saved asked to go along, but Jesus said no. Jesus “sent him away, saying, ‘Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.’” (Luke 8:38-39 NASB) This man hadn’t been to seminary. He wasn’t ordained. But after one experience with Jesus, he had a mission.
Even that person, and every other follower of Jesus needs help. Many people who serve in the church and many people in the regular, everyday workplace love Jesus and look to serve him in everything they do. Our work creates value. We get the money to live from the value we create and we do it all in the name of Jesus. Therefore these dividing lines don’t serve us very well.
Doers vs. Hearers
Yesterday, I talked about the nameless tribe of Christ-followers who want to grow and see their faith make a difference in the lives of others. Well, God reminded me differently. James 1:22 says we are to be doers of the word, and not merely hearers. The Greek word translated “doers” is only used a few other times in the New Testament. We do the word of God and we’re known for it. We don’t just do the word of God sometimes, but all the time. We do it because doing God’s word is who we are. Fortunately, grace is also at work. More on that in a future post.
Rather than dividing us between sacred vs. secular, James divides us between those who do the word of God and those who don’t. Am I a doer? Are you?
I can always do the word of God. Do you believe that statement? Do you believe it is true for you? Can you always do the word of God? Share your thoughts below, or in the community.