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What You Do

By Mike Mccauley on
Mike Mccauley
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Mar 31 in Musings
It’s inevitable. You go to a party, and while making small talk with people you don’t know well, the question comes up in the first two minutes- “What do you do?” The inquiry, of course, is about your occupation. What do you do for work? There’s nothing wrong with the question, although it does reinforce an erroneous assumption that our identity is primarily about function. Occasionally I change the question slightly to acknowledge that some people homeschool kids, others volunteer full-time, some are retired and still others are looking for work- “What do you do...with your daytimes?” 
After I left the business world to become a pastor, these conversations took a humorous turn. Now if I’m chatting with someone and the occupation question is asked of me, I usually say “I pastor a church.” Instantly, one of two things will happen. Either I end up in a very good discussion about faith or doubt or ethics...OR I am left standing by myself faster than I can blink! What do you do?

We are more than a function. Our activity is not our identity. As followers of Jesus, our primary identity is rooted in the wonderful mystery that we are people loved by God.  Sometimes we need reminding that what we do fits into a much larger story of the Kingdom of God.
 
Author Tony Campolo tells a story about Christopher Wren, the renowned 17th century English architect who was responsible for rebuilding more than 50 churches after the Great London Fire of 1666. St. Paul’s Cathedral is considered his masterpiece. One day Wren toured the cathedral site while it was under construction. Unknown to most of the workers, Wren was free to simply inquire what they were doing. One said he was a stonecutter. Another that he was a carpenter. Still another was a stained glass installer. Finally Wren came upon a man mixing cement. When he asked this ordinary laborer about his occupation, the man answered “I am building a great cathedral to the glory of God!”
 
I like his answer. He understood the larger context. It never ceases to amaze me that when God wrote the narrative of his creation, he wrote us right into the story. We may spend our time in an office, on a movie set, in a classroom or caring for children. They are all worthy callings. And we carry them out not because they define us, but because we work in the Kingdom.

What do you do?” The next time someone asks, put a twinkle in your eye and answer “I wash windows...for the glory of God!”  
           
 See you soon,
       Pastor Dan      

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