“Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon?” Mark 6:3 (NIV)
In order to embrace the idea that every Christian is a full-time missionary, there’s a second myth of missions that we need to look to Scripture to refute. Here it is: The calling of pastors and “full-time missionaries” is somehow “higher” than the call to other vocations.
As we saw in last week’s devotional. God called human beings to work, giving all work inherent meaning; thus, there should be no sense that one person’s vocational calling is higher, more meaningful, or more eternally significant than another.
But the fact is, there is an unspoken hierarchy of callings in the Church today that says that if you are really sold out for Jesus, you will abandon your current work and spiritually “level-up” to the role of a pastor or donor-supported missionary.
This idea isn’t new. It’s a myth the Church has been fighting for centuries. Martin Luther, John Calvin, and other leaders of the Protestant Reformation fought vehemently against this man-made hierarchy of callings, arguing that all work is as much a calling from God as the work of a pastor or priest.
What’s particularly laughable about this myth is the fact that we worship a God who spent the majority of his time on earth working as a carpenter! The Bible gives us very little detail of Jesus’ life between the ages of twelve and thirty, when He began his public ministry. One of the only things Scripture notes about this significant period of time is that He was known in His community for His work as a carpenter (see Mark 6:3)!
Think about this for a moment: From the very beginning of time, God knew that He would have to send Jesus to earth to ransom humankind. Knowing this—and knowing the ultimate purpose of Jesus’ life on earth—the fact that God chose for Jesus to grow-up in the home of a carpenter named Joseph should stop us in our tracks.
God could have placed Jesus in a priestly household, like the prophet Samuel or John the Baptist. He could have grown-up in the household of a Pharisee like the Apostle Paul. But no, God placed Jesus in the household of a carpenter where He would spend more than half of his life ministering to others by making what we have to imagine would have been some really exceptional tables.
To act as if the calling of the clergy is higher than any other calling is nothing less than a slight at Jesus Christ. It is an unbiblical myth that there is some sort of hierarchy of callings. The truth is that we worship a God who works and that gives dignity and meaning to all vocations.
Thank God for the work He has given you to do today!