One of the books we're reading in the Catalyst School of Ministry is Alan Scott's Scattered Servants. Each week, our teachers would assign portions of the book to read which we would then discuss in our groups at the school. A few weeks ago, as I read in chapter seven, I came upon something which changed my life. A few pages into the chapter, I read this: "The Kingdom is not an escape from real work; it is an engagement with real work." This sentence gripped my heart. Over the past year and a half, I've worked a job I was simply tolerating - I was doing it because I needed the money badly. We couldn't pay the bills with just my income as a Senior Pastor of a small local church. After nearly twenty-five years in fulltime pastoral ministry, after a phone call from a fellow SoCal Vineyard pastor, I suddenly found myself back in the corporate world doing something I had never done before. Had God forgotten my calling to pastoral ministry? I felt not only out of place, but at times overwhelmed with the demands of my job. I even secretly wondered if God had set me aside from ministry.
Alan's words about the Kingdom and the workplace drew me deeper into the chapter - then I read these words: "sadly our workplace is sometimes considered a place of divine absence. It's the place where we show up without expecting God to show up. Yet scattered servants understand that every workplace is a place of His presence!" (exclamation point mine). Right away, I knew I had some serious repenting to do. Reading on, I understood that God had actually answered my prayers over the past several years. I lost count of how many times I had prayed "thy Kingdom come, thy will be done." I never imagined that my job could possibly be an answer to those prayers.
Over the past several weeks, as the Spirit of God continued to change my heart and give me a whole new perspective on my "secular job", opportunities to pray, witness, and minister to people at my workplace continues to increase. As I embraced the reality of the workplace, and not just the church, as a place of God's presence, I now arrive at work with a completely different attitude. It's no longer just something I simply tolerate. I truly look forward to being there, wondering how God might use me with every new day that passes. I've come to see the commercial building I manage as a sort of "parish" - filled with people God loves and desires a relationship with. I am grateful for how the Catalyst School of Ministry has prepared me to engage and serve the women and men I encounter there each day.