Stay Put In Secular LIfeWorship / Produced by partner of TOW
Faced with ethical dilemmas, conflict, stress and other problems, those who exercise their ministry at the front line may be tempted to give up and get out. Sometimes people may mistake their inability to reconcile Christian values with secular values as a divine call to resign and seek ordination! This may sometimes be the right thing to do. God may indeed be calling more lay people into the ordained ministry.
However, more often than not, God's call to lay people is to 'stay put'. That is what 'incarnation' is all about... staying in the thick of it! Although it may not always be easy to reconcile Christian values and secular values, some degree of responsible compromise is frequently necessary. Compromise is not always a dirty word. It may, for example, be more responsible for a Christian who is a director or a trade union official to stay at his or her post when beset by alien values and attempt to influence affairs from within, than to resign and opt out. The Christian in public life can never do more than push public affairs slowly in a Christian direction. The speed with which Christians can do this may depend upon their realism about public affairs. It is not easy to head straight for the desired goal. A zig-zag approach may be the only feasible way forward. Sometimes we are in the 'zig' and sometimes we are in the 'zag' but we press towards the goal. This can produce a great deal of stress. Hence the importance of relevant support through prayer, worship and sensitive groups of people. In the end God himself supports people at the front line but his presence is not always easy to discern. We have the assurance of the risen Jesus that "he goes ahead of his disciples into Galilee". Our Galilee is our secular activity. Wherever we go, wherever we work, whatever responsibility we have in public life, Jesus is with us, supporting us and ministering alongside us at the front line.
(Denis Claringbull 'Front Line Mission')