Calendar and Calling

“Don’t pull back from evangelism, and don’t slack up in Christian education, children’s ministry, global mission trips, counseling. But do your best to dignify all Christian calling to serve God in all sorts of ways, commission and pray for your teachers and nurses and secretaries and accountants as well as your missionaries and Sunday School workers.”

John Yates’ 2008 commencement address to the graduates, faculty and families at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, is striking, not so much for what it says as for what it exposes. After all, as protestants, and in particular “Reformed” protestants, we readily acknowledge soli deo Gloria, “all things to the glory of God.” No sacred-secular dichotomy. Everyone, from pastor to portfolio manager, from attorney to entrepreneur, from “Mom” to missionary; everyone does what they do to God’s glory.

And yet, how many businessmen, middle school students, professors, health-care workers…get up each day confident that what they are headed to do is absolutely what God has called them to do? Or, how many of us still think that as Christians, we mainly do what we do in order to put food on the table, take care of our families, go on a vacation, make money to support missionaries and perhaps the church, and perhaps put something away for a rainy day? In other words, we have our normative duties and our spiritual service, and how does one have time for the latter when the calendar is so full of the former?

Yates, pastor of The Falls Church, in Falls Church, Virginia, one of our “mentor” churches, gives a brief overview of his own journey as a pastor and his church's journey as a congregation in coming to grips with the challenges and opportunities inherent in effectively ministering not just to a congregation, but as a congregation. Yates proclaims “good news” in Christ to those who feel the tug of normal responsibilities. Your normal responsibilities are your ministry! And engaging such everyday tasks and roles from a Christian perspective will give you more than enough challenge and opportunity to live courageously in a fallen world.

May such be our vision and legacy.