So a while back I mentioned that I’m working at a recycling center, but I haven’t said a lot about why. It’s not simple. Working in this capacity allows me to realize a certain amount of synergy in my activities. There are three primary outcomes of my time on the clock.
The first is that I get to build relationships with our regular customers, most of whom are homeless or near homeless. Doing so builds my empathy (usually) and helps me realize the interrelatedness of humanity. Additionally, more than just the poor are represented. We have rich and poor, upper and lower middle classes. And ironically, most simultaneously live up to, and break down stereotypes. Being at this ‘watering hole’ is an awesome learning opportunity. I have been praised and cursed, looked down on, and looked up to. It is amazing how the uniform one wears changes how one is viewed.
Secondly, it allows me to be a part of our responsibility for caring for creation, something that evangelicals have traditionally done poorly, if at all. (There are way too many false either/or’s in evangelical circles)
Finally it provides personal growth in the form of a paycheck, and physical labor/exercise.
This is an example of seeing one’s vocation or job from a missional perspective. What about you, how does your time “on the clock” reflect the reign of Jesus Christ? I’m not simply referring to how you interact with your co-workers or what you do with the money you earn, I’m talking about the actual tasks. Think imaginatively, what would happen if you did not do what you do? What if no one did it? What if it was done with no thought for morality or ethics? I think that seeing one’s vocation with missional eyes is essential to breaking down clergy/laity barriers. Not only are you important to God, what you do is also very important.
Too often people think they are called to "full time ministry" because they think their current vocation/location is a waste of time. Obviously the peak of spiritual maturity is not pastoral ministry, or someother related field, but I think we too often subconciously think/communicate that very idea.