I remember a time when it seemed like every week my church was praying for people who were going out on these amazing missions trips.
There were people going on long-term assignments to places like Thailand, while others were going on shorter trips with groups like Mercy Ships. No matter the destination, we were getting in the habit of send lots of people out to do some amazing work for the Lord.
All I knew was that I wanted to go too!
So I prayed and I prayed and I prayed. I asked God to send me to one of these exotic places where I could do some amazing work that would bring Him great glory. The more that I saw us sending others out, the more convinced I was that I was going to be a missionary just like these other brave souls.
This became the cry of my heart so much that I remember even waking up in the middle of the night to pray about it.
One night as I layed awake at 3:30 in the morning, and realizing that it was hopeless trying to get back to sleep, I decided to get up and pray. With my heart to go into the mission field I couldn’t help but to ask God where I would go to do great work for Him.
“I’m ready to go God! Anywhere You want to send me… I’m willing to go anywhere You want me too! Where are you going to send me God?”
Then… and this is hard to explain sometimes… I felt like He was telling me, “5205 Fruitville Road.”
What? Confused as to why I couldn’t shake the thought of that address I told God, “I know that address God, but where do you want me to go? I’ll go anywhere. I’ll go to Africa. I’ll go to China. I’ll go anywhere God.”
But really, part of me only wanted to go to the cool and exotic places. I would continue by offering my subtle suggestions about the cool places that He needed to send me.
And it happened again… I just couldn’t shake the address as if He was telling me over and over again, “5205 Fruitville Road.”
Still not getting it, I told God about something that He probably didn’t understand… “God, that’s the address of where I work. I’m asking You where You want me to go…”
I get it now. My mission field is where I work.
That realization was one that changed everything for me. I knew that I wasn’t going to get this crazy exotic mission field, but that some of the best work that I was going to do for Him would be in my job.
It took a lot for me at first to give up the idea that God was letting me down, that is until I really started to see the opportunity that lay before me. I looked for the ways that I could be a missionary to my workplace, and I saw things differently. I planned to intentionally love people the way that I thought a missionary would love the people that they minister to.
I’m sure that you can imagine what the rest of this story might be like. Or maybe you can’t. Either way this is an important perspective that each of should take as we look at our work, regardless of what our ‘work’ looks like.
Enter Real-Time Connections: Linking Your Job with God’s Global Work by Bob Roberts Jr (Zondervan, 2010). We are doing a group blogging project on this book that I’m really excited about, because it deals with this very issue. We’ve got an amazing lineup of contributors that will guide us through this discussion over the next two weeks, and even the author is going to share some thoughts at the end of the project.
I pray that this discussion is one that causes you to rethink how you look at your work (whatever you work looks like). I pray that God would put a greater burden on all of our hearts to fulfill the Great Commission in everything that we do. And I pray that the world around us will never be the same as we choose to engage it in new ways. Amen!
Wow! That was very, very good. And very, very convicting. I'm going to think on this a long while. Great post, Dan.
Thanks for the encouragement. I have been puzzling over that question, especially in a line of work that doesn't necessarily make building relationships easy. Ironically relationships are the most critical component of the business as well, very interesting. All its not easy, but very critical.
This is actually one of my favorite posts that I've shared here in a while. It's a story that has significant personal value to me. I remember sitting down with a Christian co-worker and telling him how excited I was that I was 'going into the mission field'… It was a life changing revelation that continues to shape how I look at my work even today!
Thanks for the encouragement Billy! You rock dude!
Strong relationships are the most critical component when it comes to expressing our faith, especially in the workplace. Keeping that in perspective, and understanding that it is all about the people helps me keep my focus.
I appreciate you sharing that this is an area that you've been thinking a lot about. I hope that you continue to follow along with the rest of this project, because I think that it could be a great discussion to help you sort through what you've been considering.