Looking for a Promotion?
Several months ago, my wife and I were invited by a couple to have dinner at their restaurant. Before we entered, we were welcomed by an attractive-looking sign at the front door. Once inside, I was pleasantly surprised by the tasteful decor. This was not your ordinary run-of-the-mill Chinese restaurant with emphasis only on food. As we were led to our seats, I noticed that the restaurant was full even though it was after ten in the evening.
To my surprise, the food was wonderful. In fact, some of the dishes were new to me. The owners of the restaurant had been operating it for about ten years, and they were obviously doing very well financially.
While we were dining, the couple told us they were in the process of selling their restaurant in order to go into the ministry. Why would this couple give up such a profitable business and spend another several years preparing themselves for full-time Christian service?
I think the reason is similar to the reason why a young lady would be willing to put on 45 pounds in order to have a baby. She does not want to gain weight, nor does she enjoy looking funny, sitting funny, or walking funny. But she is willing to do that if that is the price she has to pay to have her baby.
The restaurant owners do not delight in the thought of selling their business and losing their ability to make a very comfortable living, but they are willing to do it for the privilege of serving God full-time.
Two weeks after having dinner with that couple, I had the joy of discussing with 20 people the transition from working in the marketplace to vocational Christian service. The discussion was part of a mission conference in a church located in the booming computer capital of the Silicon Valley in Northern California.
These high-tech folks were interested in the specific issues they should be considering during their transition to ministry. We discussed matters related to the family: from the willingness and readiness of one's spouse, to the effects this change would have on their children. We talked about issues related to the ministry: from the length and depth of theological training one needs to have, to the issues of spiritual gifts and competence in the actual tasks of ministry. We confronted issues related to finances. I talked to them about downsizing: from the footage of their house to the size of their TV screen.
These issues are relevant when considering leaving a profession for the mission field. However, they should not be the only focus.
When the two sets of brothers, Peter/Andrew and John/James, left their fishing boats and family to follow Jesus, they did not focus on what they had to give up. They were drawn by what Jesus did and what He had to offer.
What Jesus did was to turn their fishing nets from empty to full (cf. Luke 5:5-6). What Jesus had to offer was a promotion: from fishers of fish to fishers of men.
When Jesus calls people to follow Him, He offers them a promotion. Just like Jesus* Father in the Old Testament. When God called David, God intended to promote David from a follower of sheep to a leader of men (cf. 2 Sam.7:8).
When God calls a woman to become a mother, He offers her a promotion. If you happen to be one who is thinking about making a transition from the marketplace to vocational Christian service, don't simply look at what you have to leave behind. Focus on what Jesus has to offer you.
If the title "fishers of men" sounds like a promotion over "manager," "owner," or "professional," consider accepting it. If the promotion is tempting enough, any sacrifice will be worth it.
Looking for a promotion?