A man approached Martin Luther rejoicing that he’d become a Christian. Sincerely wanting to serve the Lord, he asked, “What should I do next?” (as if to ask, does the Lord want me to become a pastor? a missionary? a traveling evangelist? a monk?).
Luther asked him, “What do you do now?”
“I’m a shoe maker.”
To the man’s astonishment, Luther replied, “Then make good shoes, and sell them at a fair price.”
The call to follow Christ is not necessarily a call to leave the vocation that you already have. God says, “Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them” (1 Cor. 7:17, 20). Nor do you need to justify your work in terms of its “spiritual value” or “evangelistic usefulness.” God says, “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: you should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders” (1 Thess. 4:11–12). You are simply to do whatever God calls you to do, wherever God calls you to do it, with a fresh commitment to pursue it with greater excellence “as working for the Lord” (Col. 3:23–25).
This means that we make a big mistake when we define our service to Christ only in terms of the church—as a Sunday school teacher, or youth worker, or nursery helper, or music leader, or evangelist, etc. By shrinking our notion of serving Christ only to serving either inside the church or in churchly ways, we fail to see that, according to God, “full-time Christian service” involves everything we are and everything we do—not only inside the church but also, more importantly, outside the church.
Some time ago, someone asked Os Guinness why the church wasn’t having a bigger impact in our world. He said the main reason is not that Christians aren’t where they should be. There are plenty of labourers, farmers, lawyers, housewives, builders, doctors, bakers, teachers, business owners, etc. who are Christians. Rather, the main reason is that Christians aren’t who they should be right where they are. As believers follow the Lord and pursue their lawful callings as working for the Lord, the Lord will use them as salty salt and shining light that he himself has positioned right where he wants it throughout a dark and decaying world (Mt. 5:13–16).
Serve the Lord full-time by blooming right where he’s planted you!