Find yourself a “Help Wanted” section in your newspaper (or if you like, visit an online job site). Take a minute to to look through the listings. What are some of the more interesting jobs advertised? Which ones do you have at least some of the qualifications for? For that matter, what’s the most interesting or unique job you’ve ever had?
Fact is, we also have a “job description” as Christians. We come from different walks of life and play a variety of roles, but there’s a certain character Jesus wants to develop in each of us—one that shows the rest of the world what a living relationship with Jesus actually looks like.
Jesus has already changed our lives, and He wants us to become even more like him. He wants to start in the places we already occupy: our homes, our workplaces, our relationships. But before we can talk about where we’re headed, we need to understand where we already are. So right now, think about some of the roles you play in life—in your family, at work, and with your friends.
Now: How can some of these roles sometimes feel like just roles—something you’re just acting out—instead of something that reflects who you really are?
Let’s look at a different kind of job description:
“An elder must be blameless, the husband of one wife, with faithful children who cannot be charged with dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be blameless as one entrusted with God’s work, not arrogant, not prone to anger, not a drunkard, not violent, not greedy for gain. Instead he must be hospitable, devoted to what is good, sensible, upright, devout, and self-controlled. He must hold firmly to the faithful message as it has been taught, so that he will be able to give exhortation in such healthy teaching and correct those who speak against it” (Titus 1:6-9, NET).
OK, truthfully: Who thought: “What does this have to do with me? This passage is about leaders”? But think about it: Are there any qualities here that aren’t relevant—in fact, expected—of every follower of Jesus?
Some of the qualities listed in this passage may come easily to us. About others we can honestly say, “God has dealt with me in this area, and I’m doing better.” Still others might be a continuing struggle. But it’s important to come to terms with where we are right now—even if it’s not where we’d like to be—and how God wants to inject his grace into our situation, whatever it is.
Here’s the good news: The fact that you’re actually taking the time to read this, presumably because you desire to learn more about God, proves that God is already helping you become the kind of people God wants you to be. And God’s not going to give up, even if we sometimes give up on ourselves. In fact, He’s already done more with us than we’ve realized—but we need to realize if we want to live it out more deeply.
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matt. 5:13-16).
Look again at the passage above. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer points out in The Cost of Discipleship, “ ‘Ye are the salt.’ Jesus does not say: ‘You must be the salt.’ ” So think about it:
• In what ways do we sometimes seem bland or unappealing (or worse) to others, rather than people who are already “salted” by Jesus?
• Who’s the “saltiest” Christian you know? How do you see that person’s life affecting those around him or her? What would you most like to emulate in him or her?
• What parts of your life need to be salted more by the life you have in Jesus? What would help you become more “seasoned”?
Let’s defy the ways Christians get caricatured. Instead, let’s start living up to our job description.