6 am is extremely early for me to be waiting for Access Calgary to pick me up and take me to work. Particularly since I don't officially start work until 7 am and usually it is only a 10 minute drive to the Home Depot on 130th avenue. But since the lift once again broke down in my van, there I was sitting in my drive way waiting for my ride. The bus arrived shortly there after and as the driver tied me down to the floor I introduced myself to the other passenger on the bus. As we headed out he asked me, "So, what is it that you do?" I thought of what to say for minute and then said, “I’m a pastor of a small group movement here in SE Calgary called Expressions!” After which we started conversing about a number of the groups which we lead.
It was not long and we were pulling into the parking lot at Home Depot. The driver then asked me, “So why come so early to the Depot then?” I said, “Oh! I work here!” Climbing into the back of the van so as to start untying my chair from the floor she looked at me with a puzzled face; “That’s kind of two extremes isn’t it?” I mean being a pastor in one sense while working here at Home Depot in another? Aren’t they two different lines of work?”
I paused and contemplated how I might answer her question for a moment and then it just sort of slipped out; “Jesus was a carpenter too you know!” I went on to try and paint a picture for her and the gentleman on the bus that described the work I do as a pastor is really no different then that which I do in any other place including the work here at Home Depot.
Do you ever feel that same way? I mean do you ever wonder if the work you do in the week really matters to God? Or more to the point, if our life as a Christian really matters in the relevance of our day to day experiences and practicalities of our occupational pursuits?
I’m not sure why but, in some sense or way it seems our culture try’s to create this separation or divide between that which is considered spiritual or sacred and that which is interpreted practical or secular. It is as if we seem afraid to relate what we do in our church community with that which we do during the rest of our week.
As my friend Tim shares the words from a pastor friend who responded to his enthusiasms regarding the band Creed’s underlying Christian themes and lyrics; “She cautioned me that the devil is a great manipulator, and can make anything sound Christian by twisting the truth or telling a half lie to seduce people into believing something is Christian, but in fact is not.” I suppose the reverse can also be true; not all things labeled or stamped with a Christian trade mark are necessarily guided and blessed with the truth of Christ’s Kingdom either (Matthew 7:21-23).
I suppose that is the real calling though; work, play, moments of laughter, tears, prayer times, times of worship, times of learning, times for teaching, striving through the ups and downs of life, sharing and hanging out with friends and family while enjoying the experiences and encounters which shape us for a life time of memories. All done while striving to fulfill and be in relationship with something or someone higher then ourselves; a Truth which we call sacred.
The Pharisee’s had this same trouble of trying to remove the chasm between that which is labeled sacred and that which is considered secular. After witnessing a miracle Jesus had just performed they challenged him by accusing him of doing so in service to the devil. Jesus responded to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.” (Matthew 12:25)
Perhaps there really is no divide between that which is sacred and that which is secular. Perhaps the secular label itself is not really real at all. Perhaps that is because as long as you are following your heart in discipleship with Jesus, everything you do is sacred! As Rob Bell puts it; "This is why it is impossible for a Christian to have a secular job. If you follow Jesus and you are doing what you do in his name, then it is no longer secular work; it's sacred. You are there; God is there. The difference is our awareness."
I suppose all that is left to say is… Let’s get to work!!!