Most of the prominent Bible characters were not professional religious leaders. They had jobs in what many call the "secular workplace." For example, Abraham and Jacob were ranchers. Joseph, Daniel, and Nehemiah were in government service. Even Jesus spent 90 percent of his life living and working in a small business.
Many people wrongly believe that they must be a pastor or missionary for their work to have significance to God and His purposes. My friend Steve bought into this idea while on a short-term mission trip down the Amazon. His wife had coaxed him into it, and his worst fear was realized three days into the journey. The team leader asked him to share his testimony at a gathering in a fishing village. With no other choice, Steve worked with an interpreter and overcame his anxiety about sharing his faith. When the villagers responded to his awkward presentation of the gospel and trusted Christ on the spot, Steve's life made a one-eighty. To think that God could actually use him to affect someone's eternal destiny was astounding to him. He was one excited guy!
When he returned home, Steve shared story after story with his wife and announced that he felt a strong pull to the mission field. He even filled out a seminary application, to her dismay. But before he uprooted his family and quit his work as an Internet entrepreneur, Steve discovered that following Jesus is more about a heart change than a career change. God could certainly call him to the mission field, but first God wanted him to be a missionary right where he was with the people at his workplace and within his network of relationships. Steve began to see opportunities all around him that he had never seen before. He realized that his primary mission field was right where he worked and lived.
Like Steve, many Christians are oblivious to their most significant mission field. Just before Jesus departed the earth, he outlined his strategic plan for world impact to his disciples: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
Jesus made it clear that His plan included the entire planet. But note that retaking of the planet began with the people in closest proximity to His followers—Jerusalem, where they already spoke the language, knew the customs, and were known by fellow Jews. The impact of faith on their daily lives was clearly visible to the people with whom they lived and worked.
You don't need to become a pastor or a missionary to work full-time for Christ. God's work is going on right where you are. Ask Him to show you opportunities you've never seen before.
Where is your Jerusalem?
How are you doing God’s work right where you are?
Who are the people God has called you to influence?
© 2001 - 2011 H. E. Butt Foundation. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from Laity Lodge and TheHighCalling.org. Article by Bill Peel.
Read more about four mission fields described in Acts 1:8.