Pistol right, trips right, screen out, dummy motion, backside flag, rip, on two...
What’s your job; engineer, teacher, mom, student, contractor, salesman, retired? I often have difficulty answering this question. I’m sure most of us do. What’s the context? Who’s asking? What answer would best describe who I am to the person who is asking? Generally speaking, when this question is asked we respond with a vocation. Men especially identify with the “profession” that they have chosen to earn income. Naturally, our personality, character, likes and dislikes play a part in what we choose as a vocation. Therefore, there is an element in our “job” that describes who we are as a person.
In our busy lives, where most of us fill multiple job descriptions, the responsibilities, expectations, purposes and priorities can become overwhelming. The weight of life’s circumstances can entangle us by hijacking our focus and our efforts. How often are we supposed to be moms and dads but we can’t stop thinking about being a contractor or an engineer? How often are we supposed to be a friend but we can’t stop being a parent? How often are we supposed to be a Christian but we can’t stop being a…? Ooops, I’m not sure how that slipped in there.
The line of seemingly gibberish above is a play that my 12 year old son’s football team runs. How is a 12 year old supposed to remember that along with countless other variations that are not even spoken but given by hand signals? The answer is surprisingly simple. Each different person on the field only has one or two signals that tell them what to do. Everything else is someone else’s responsibility. Each position has a certain signal that tells them what to do and when the whole team does their individual job, it occasionally works. The linemen only need to know screen and rip, the running back only needs to know dummy motion, the receivers only need to know backside flag, etc. Each player has a responsibility to accomplish and success of the whole depends on the individual’s single-mindedness and application. If one player tried to do everything they would have to be in several very different places at once and ultimately, they would fail.
Our lives can often times become confusing when our different responsibilities begin to occupy the same slots on our priority list. When parent, employee/employer, friend and neighbor all have the same importance, we find ourselves pulled in so many different directions that we find ourselves worn out, disappointed and frustrated.
In Ephesians 4, Paul finishes a thought about the different “offices” that Christ has established in the Church by saying, “…12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until we attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
Have you ever thought of yourself as a Christian who is a parent? Or a Christian who is a salesperson? Or a Christian who is a teacher? That being a Christian is your “vocation” and the other elements of our lives are sub-elements of our relationship and calling from Jesus? Is your job to produce a good or a service or is that job a sub-plot of your heavenly Father? Is your job a separate part of your life that occurs outside of your faith or is your job an component of your faith?
I would encourage everyone this week to pray and look for the reason God has given you the different roles you have in life. To discern how the different sub-plots of your life support the main plot of God’s plan. Why did He put you in the job you have? Why did He give you the different roles you have? Why did He give you the different personality traits, strengths and talents that you have? I’ll give you a hint: It’s not to produce a better product or service. Our Father has sovereignly placed us in different places at different times in our lives for a reason. He has given us different talents and personalities that serve His purposes.
Soli Deo Gloria