Your Work Matters: What Christianity Is Missing, How to Find ItBlog / Produced by The High Calling
I was eighteen years old, on a mission trip, when I lost my faith.
It was the Lin Yeng Temple, a Hindu temple in Richmond, BC, and we were supposed to be praying over the false spirits, we were supposed to be converting lost souls, but I found myself taking off my shoes instead.
I found myself on holy ground and all of my 18 years of being a preacher’s kid did nothing to prepare me for that moment.
The moment in which someone else’s faith in something other than Jesus would be stronger than mine.
The temple smelled of incense and all I could see were the soles of people’s calloused feet, the posture of their bent backs, and I’d never found this in a church.
There was no live band, there was no projector or stage or pulpit, there was just the awe-struck silence of worship.
I tiptoed down those temple steps leaving my faith there at the top, dead, for crows to pick apart.
And we were supposed to be telling people about Jesus that week but all I could do was feed them sandwiches and listen to their stories.
I didn’t have any magical words for them, I just sat there on East Hastings Street in the parks with men and women who had needle marks in their arms and red around their eyes and we did church together, the only kind I knew how, the real kind.
And after a week of serving hot dogs on fancy china and sorting through clothes at a distribution center and watching the homeless fall on the floor during a charismatic drop-in service, my Mum called.
She called the church basement where I was staying with my sleeping bag and my suitcase filled with bell bottoms.
And she asked me about Vancouver and what we’d done and then she said in her British accent, “Emily, can I ask you what’s been going on this week?”
I said, “I thought I just told you, Mum.”
And she said, “No, Emily, I mean, why has God been waking me up every single night at the same time, the past seven days, to pray for you?”
I nearly took off my shoes right then and there.
My faith, it just picked itself up from those temple stairs and ran back into my life all pecked by crows and disheveled, but alive.
Jesus loved me.
He loved me enough to wake my mother up seven nights in a row to pray for me.
I didn’t have all of the answers. I didn’t know why I felt such holy reference that day at that temple, except to say this: while the only way to God the Father is through Jesus Christ, he is mysterious, and we cannot understand how he meets people in their searching. And those worshipers, that day—they were seeking.
I wonder if we aren’t suffering from too many answers, and not enough questions?
I wonder if Christendom, and the church, couldn’t make room for less of people trying to convince people that God is real, and more of letting God show up?
God is not limited by our doubts. It’s when we lay out our fleece, over and over, like Gideon, that we invite our Creator into the story. That we ask Him to make Himself known. “Ask and ou will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door shall be opened unto you,” and yet—are we so busy with our clichés and pat answers that we have no room for a God who breaks all molds? Who was born in a manger, who appeared to Moses in a burning bush, who walked on water?
As leaders in the church, at work, in ministry, in our homes, let’s admit that we don’t know everything. And that God does. And then, let’s remove our shoes and worship.
Your Work Matters
What if your work is drudgery? What if getting out of bed to head to your daily grind is just about to push you over the edge? What if Monday morning always arrives with a feeling a dread? We all want to feel as of the work we're doing is meaningful. We want it to fill us up, and we pray it makes a difference in the world for good. But what if you're stuck in a job that has nothing to do with what you feel called to do? What if you feel trapped and discouraged? In this series, Your Work Matters, we'll be asking some of these same questions. We don't promise to have all (or any) of the answers, but we encourage you to wrestle with these tough and painful issues, right along with us. Tell us your story. Offer your wisdom, and come away encouraged that you are not alone, and that God sees you, right where you are.
Featured image by Gayle Nicholson. Used with Permission. Source via Flickr.