Have you ever had church outside of church? Have you ever been on a mission trip in a foreign country, and all the sudden you’re awash with emotion, feeling, and the confidence that you’re right where God wants you, doing exactly what He wants you to do?
You’re in communion with Him from the start to the finish of your day. You have this hyper sensitivity to what God is doing, and prayers and ideas for how you can be involved in it. You’re open to every interruption, every outreach, every activity of the day, because that’s what you’re there for—you invested funds, researched, packed, prayed, and flew all the way to a foreign country. You are all there, engaged in the present moment, Presently Engaged.
To this day, I still remember the first time I felt—really felt—a holy, mission-field-type worship experience outside of a typical mission field.
I was seventeen, fresh out of high school. I had this passionate desire to change the world, to serve Jesus, to make a difference. Jesus had given enough hints to my life purpose that I knew it involved writing and communication of some sort. An internship with a non-profit opened up, and all of the sudden my loose interests in writing and graphic design and photography were colliding and becoming passions.
Chasing a deadline, I was in the office early one morning. A friend and coworker had made one of those custom Starbucks tumblers for me—this had George Washington Carver’s face gazing at me while I worked, along with his words: “When you do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.”
While typesetting an article in the silence of an early morning office building, I came to the beautiful realization that I was not the only one there. A Presence was in the room with me—the presence of God. “This is my mission field,” I thought.
Out of this came a prayer that has been breathed hundreds, thousands of times since then: “Jesus, guide my hand.” Your work is an offering of worship to your Savior, and He delights to guide you.
This thought is rooted in Psalm 73. God declares this promise through the Psalmist:
Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. (Psalm 73:23-25)
I love that Psalm 73:23 says “I am continually with You” rather than the more familiar “God is continually with me.” Both statements are true for the believer. There’s a nuance in the wording, but I think that the trust and faithfulness expressed in “I am continually with You” is a beautiful thing, don’t you?
You are continually with God! He holds your hand. He guides you with His counsel and is preparing a place for you. He is both the Source and the Object of deep desire and true satisfaction. And the vocational work that you do is a big part of you living out your calling and expressing your worship to your Savior.
Picture Jesus holding your hand while you work. Imagine yourself engaged in the daily, somehow monotonous and yet completely challenging work that you do. Now envision Jesus sitting or standing next to you, actively teaming up with you to knock out your task list. He is doing redemptive work in the world today, and delights when we pray to be included in His work! This “mission field moment” is Jesus guiding your hand.
Adoniram Judson, pioneering missionary to Burma in the 1800s, wisely said this:
The motto of every missionary, whether preacher, printer, or school teacher, ought to be “devoted for life.”
Regardless of how many stamps are in our passports, we are missionaries! Let’s put our own vocations in there: Mother. Mechanic. Manager. Pilot. Artist. Technician. Web Developer. Therapist. The motto of every missionary, whether entrepreneur, salesman, or nurse, ought to be “devoted for life.”
Have you ever felt a mission field moment, or church outside of church?
What does “devoted for life” look like for you today?
As you live intentionally for Jesus today, how can you view your work as worship?