Many of you were present at the “Stewarding our Profession” meeting we had at the winter retreat back in February. Others of you were added to this list by Sherol because you have shown interest in the topic of using our profession not for our our advancement but for the service of the Kingdom of God. I am writing this email for a couple of reasons. The first one is to invite everyone on this list to keep the conversation going. Sherol has created a website reclaimtalks.com where we can post our thoughts and ideas. You will all be invited to be contributors soon. Please check out the site and engage in the conversation. The second reason is to remind and get up to speed everyone about the action plans we proposed at the winter retreat meeting.
Jesus Christ is establishing his eternal Kingdom here on earth. He planned this Kingdom before the beginning of time, founded it through his physical presence in his first advent, and continues to build it up through the work of his Holy Spirit this very day. He is the King of the Kingdom to which we are given citizenship. Though we may not see it, we carry a spiritual ID card attesting to our citizenship of God’s Kingdom. We were there, represented by the 12 disciples and other followers of Christ as he ascended to heaven. As he was taken up by the clouds, he tasked us with the job and privilege of working on his field though the power of his Holy Spirit while we wait for his glorious return.
Our acceptance into his Kingdom, though tragic and unfathomably mysterious since it involved the sacrifice of the King himself, is not the end of our run in the grand design of God the Father. Instead it is the beginning. The question of what to do with our life while we wait for the King’s return, and how to serve God’s Kingdom using our profession is something that we regularly grapple with. Whether we are still in school or out working in the real world, whether we are doctors or art critics, we are invited to bring our profession to the service of God’s Kingdom. In Sherol’s words, God is working to reclaim all fields of study and profession to their intended plan in his Kingdom, and we are called to be his workers and ambassadors in our respective fields.
This is easy to say in principle, but difficult to make a reality where we feel like we are serving God though our profession. The purpose of this group is to discuss these issues. In our first meeting, two important points were raised. The first one is that whether we feel called to our profession or not, we are invited to be witnesses of God to our profession. In the day-to-day practical terms what this means is living out our Christian life with openness and integrity. But this is not a very easy thing to do especially if our profession is very secular. That is why we need the support and encouragement of one another.
Along these lines one idea suggested by Brianna (I believe) was the idea of “Professional Testimonies.” This will be a conference where we come together to give a presentation of our work or research but with the added emphasis of sharing the challenges we faced during the work, and how God came through to help us. It is the merging of testimonies we hear at church (which are personal and intimate) with talks we here at professional conferences (which tend to be devoid of human struggles). In a small way this will be one way we can use our profession to glorify God.
The second point is what I already alluded to in the introduction, which is to have an online community of support to strengthen and encourage one another as we strive to find ways to honor God through our profession. A small first step in that direction is the website with interactive abilities. I hope we will take advantage of it.
I would like to close by inviting everyone to consider coming to Heidi Baker’s talk on April 13th at Stanford. More details will come about this event in few days.