Our college group is currently studying a book by Os Guiness entitled "The Call." The perspective from this author - who by the way is in the same family as the Guiness beermakers - is eye-opening. Os was one of those guys who, maybe like some of you, was urged to go into ministry without really ever asking the question, "Is that what I really want to do?" Because he was a Christian, he thought that's what was best. But after having a conversation with a gas pump attendant (it was in the '60s), he realized that he would much rather spend time amongst people in the world rather than be confined to the walls of the church. He admits that, while he loved his pastor and co-workers, church ministry just wasn't him. He wanted to be what God created him to be.
I've been through that. When I was in my early 20s I was urged to take part in mission trips and cross-cultural projects that, initially, I didn't want to take part in. Looking back, I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything. I believe God intentionally provided a way for me to attend those events, and I literally will never be the same because of those experiences. At the same time, I felt an overwhleming pressure from the people that urged me to go to become a missionary after I graduated college. I wrestled with that for a long time. While I learned alot about relational ministry and really developed a heart for those people, I wasn't passionate about being a missionary for the rest of my life. For years, I wrote it off as sin or as "not really pursuing God with all my heart." Now, in my later 20s, and with this book helping confirm it, I don't believe it's sin or a lack of commitment to Jesus that I want to do something else besides being a missionary. If life is lived forward and understood backward, then I can look backward and see God molding me and gifting me in a much different way...
Here's some food for thought: if every Christian became a full-time missionary, we would not have policeman, firefighters, bankers, doctors, lawyers, chefs, delivery guys, secretaries, veterinarians, plumbers, architects, writers, governors, presidents, senators, naval officers, army generals, photographers, electricians, lifeguards, tailors, musicians...This is what "ruling and subduing" the earth looks like in modern day. It's not that Christians who do every-day jobs aren't following Jesus, but it's because God has called the lawyer to exercise justice. He's called the chef to cook so man can eat. He's called the president to rule the nation and bring order to the land. He's called the musician to create art and express the glory of God through it. How can our world function without these people?
Thank God for the Christian missionary. Thank God for the Christian policeman. Both can make disciples. Both can rule and subdue the earth.