Summary: One way the Holy Spirit shows itself in the Church is through people putting their gifts to work - doing their God-Jobs, in the life and ministry of the Church.
Title: Don’t Quit Your God-Job
Text: Romans 12:1-8
Thesis: One way the Spirit of God shows itself in the Church is through people putting their skills to work in the life and ministry of the Church by serving.
Apparently nurses are fairly immune from unemployment. I recently read about a nurse who was unhappy at her current workplace but knowing her skills are highly marketable, resigned and e-mailed cover letters to dozens of potential employers and attached her resume to each one.
Two weeks later she was absolutely dismayed… not even one potential employer had offered her an interview. Then she received a response from one who sent her a letter stating, “Your resume was not attached as stated. I do however thank you for the vegetable lasagna recipe.”
Given the fact that 408,000 people applied for unemployment benefits last week, you would think anyone who had a job would be focused on keeping that job. But I read that the majority of Americans want to leave one job and find a new one. In fact, 84% of North Americans surveyed stated they intended to look for a new job in 2011. (Homiletic Magazine, July/August 2011, Volume 23, Number 4, P. 58)
Some time ago I heard that the typical American young person will, in his or her working career, change professions between 5 and 7 times. We are talking professions, not jobs. Meanwhile, I am a bit surprised that so many people are thinking of job shopping given the fact that:
• The unemployment rate will likely to remain over 9 % throughout this year… this is not a good time to be ungrateful for gainful employment, however unpleasant a job may be.
But that is precisely why so many people are job shopping.
• They do not like what they are doing or what they are doing is just a total mismatch for them.
I wonder how many of the volunteers who serve in the life and ministry of the church are happy with their jobs? How many who serve Christ, his Church and others are all that happy in their respective roles?
I would like to suggest that just as I would advise a person to be very prayerful and careful about quitting their day job, I would also caution and advise a person to very carefully and prayerfully work through their desires to quit their God-jobs as well.
However the reason for caution is not the likelihood of being unable to find another opportunity to volunteer your services to God, neither is it the fact that no one gets rich volunteering. There will always be an abundance of opportunities to serve… If people who are being paid want to quit their jobs, imagine how many volunteers want to quit their God-jobs. When we invite people to step up and assume a role in the life and ministry of the Church we do not offer generous compensations packages that are heavily weighted with benefits and incentives. The best we can do is offer a fantastic retirement plan and remind each other why it is that we are privileged to serve the living and loving God.
The first consideration for serving God in the life and ministry of Christ’s Church is a compelling response to God’s mercy.
I. God’s mercy motivates us to serve.
“Therefore, I urge you, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices…” Romans 12:1
Romans 12:1-2 is one of Scriptures most compelling texts. It is a text that demands the attention of every follower of Christ who wishes to make an intelligent decision to live as a Christian in the world and in the church.
The power of compulsion is intended to be irresistible:
A. Compelling Challenge in “I urge you…”
When we explore Romans 12:1-2 we are usually in a big hurry to get to the business of offering one’s body as a living sacrifice to God. However when we do that we miss the compelling language that precedes that offering of one’s body.
The text begins with “Therefore, I urge you…” The word urge is a carefully chosen and crafted word. It is a word that brings two other words together. God could have said, “I command you to…” Or God could have said, “I’m begging you to…” But instead God’s Word says, “I urge you...” The word urge is both commanding and imploring. It is a deeply passionate word that is intended to be both powerful and a plea.
It is something like a parent who loves a child so very much and is so concerned for the well-being of the child that he is torn between sitting the child down and saying:
• “I am your Father and I demand that, for your own good, you do what I say you should do.”