My job

In the first chapter of Romans, Paul talks about the reputation of the believers in Rome . . . what they were being commended for.  I find it very interesting that it is so different from what we typically commend churches and believers for today.

They weren’t commended for their growth. For the number of converts they made or how many people they baptized.

They weren’t commended for their attendance records or how many members they had.

People weren’t raving about their programs. About how great their different ministries were doing.

The headlines weren’t about how beautiful their building was or how state of the art their services were.

People weren’t praising them for their good deeds. For how well they ministered to the people in their community. About the after school programs for the neighborhood kids or the food bank they kept well stocked or the yard work they did for the elderly.

As good as all these things are, that’s not the main thing being talked about.

Romans 1:8 says, “[the report of] your faith is made known to all the world and is commended everywhere.

Their FAITH.

That’s what was making international headlines.

Not their good deeds, not the number of their converts, not their selfless generosity.

Paul and apparently a lot of other people were talking about their FAITH.

Not their religion. Not their denomination. Not their belief system.

But their “believing” system.

I once heard someone say that our job as Christ-followers is to believe that God can do His job.

Sounds simple enough.

Believe that God can do His job.

To me I think this means going through my day doing my part: making myself available to God to make me more like Him as an employee, a friend, a neighbor–whatever roles I fulfill each day. While trusting God to do His part: open doors of opportunity, change hearts of people around me, change my heart about the people around me, convict, convince, provide, comfort, heal, calm, redeem, revive, renew, restore, grant favor, give life . . . all the things only HE can do.

That takes a lot of pressure off me.

I still have a part to play. I still have to make myself available to God to change and to use. And I still have to believe that He can and will change me and use me. And then I just need to let Him.

Faith.    Believing God can do His job.

Is that the headline being written about us today?

3 questions

I recently started reading the book of Romans during my quiet time, and I found the first verse fascinating.

It says, “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God”

In that one verse Paul answers three critical questions about himself. Three questions that I think we all need to answer for ourselves, especially if we want to make a difference in our world.

Here they are.

Question 1. Who or what am I a slave to?

The easy, spiritual answer is obvious. But if I look deeper, there are several options I could choose from.

Is it the opinions of people I admire?

The whims of my boss?

The balance of my 401k?

The fashion of the day?

The reactions of my friends?

The adoration of my child?

Does it change based on my situation? The time of day? The season of my life?

Question 2. Who am I called to be? / What am I called to do?

Who am I? Really? Am I trying to be someone I’m not? How hard am I striving to be the person I was created to be?

What am I designed for? What have I been created and called to do?

How is my calling different from my career? How well do they co-exist in my life?

Question 3. What have I been set apart for?

What was I placed on Earth to do — that no one else on Earth can do as well as me?

What specific role am I to fulfill?

What piece of the puzzle am I?

Where do I “fit” in the big picture?

Paul says he is a slave of Jesus. Not the Roman government. Not the local synagogue. It is much easier to please JUST one than to try to please EVERY one! And if the ONE we’re living to please is Jesus, then we know everything else will work out for our good and His glory.

Paul says he was called to be a special messenger. He knew what his career was (tentmaking) and what his calling was (preaching). Being a God-follower and fulfilling our calling does not necessarily mean quitting our job and going to the mission field. Most of the time God wants us following Him right where we are.

And Paul knew that he was set apart specifically to share God’s good news — especially with the Gentiles (see verse 5). No two of us have the same perspective. No two of us have had the same experiences. God has placed each of us where we are for a purpose. There are people in our path that we are perfectly designed to reach, to touch, to connect with.

Paul’s role was a unique piece of the puzzle.

So is mine.

So is yours.

But in order to fulfill our roles we need to find the answers to those questions.