For a long time, there was a misconception in the Christian faith that the high calling of God was to be behind a pulpit. Everything else was secondary. If you felt led to work in the “marketplace”, then that was fine, but your main purpose was to support the church and all those missionaries who were doing the real work of the Lord. Now, this idea may not have been openly expressed over the years, but the undercurrent of this thinking was felt very strongly in our culture for a long time.
Today, though, things are changing. There is a new breed of Jesus-followers who don’t think that way, and there is a surprising amount of support behind them.
The church had this idea that “Go ye into the world…” should somehow be interpreted as “Come ye into the church…”. How did that happen? (That’s a whole different conversation.) Jesus did most of what he is known for outside of the church. I think he wants us to do the same. I’m not saying that you should avoid the church now, but what I am saying is that most of the people who need what you have will be found outside of those walls.
Here’s the thing, though. You may actually be called to the church, and that is awesome. Go after it with all your heart. But you may feel a pull on your life – your thinking, your learning, your desire – toward business. Or maybe you want to be a doctor, or an actor; or maybe you feel very strong about influencing politics and law. Before you start questioning whether or not those are “secular” areas and if you are actually called to do those things, let’s introduce a new way of thinking, a new way of seeing those things.
What we are learning is that each one of those things is a sphere of influence, a mountain. Each one has a strong impact on the way societies and cultures are shaped and how they grow and advance. Whoever is at the top of each mountain will have the most influence. Someone will occupy the top of each mountain. It can be someone who is following Jesus, or it can be someone else.
Oh yeah, it’s not easy to get to the top.
Have you ever been mountain climbing? The higher you climb, the more things change. The air is thinner, there are fewer signs of life, and the terrain can be treacherous. You have to physically adapt to stay there. It takes a lot of training and you have to stop at certain heights and wait for your body to adjust. But you will also notice that you can see farther, things are more clear, and you are more visible to everyone else as well. Apply all those things to a mountain of culture and things are much the same.
If your thinking is constantly devaluing what you are called to do, where you work, etc. because you think it’s not as important as leading the church or “preaching”, then you will never put in the work and develop the excellence needed to reach the top. Like I said, someone will occupy the top of the mountain, shape culture, and influence the future. Who do you think Jesus wants at the top?
[If you haven’t heard it before, there are seven major spheres of influence, seven mountains. They are: Arts & Entertainment, Business, Education, Family, Government, Media, and Religion (The Church) (No, the church mountain is not BIGGER than all the rest.) (For more on the 7 mountains see this by Lance Wallnau.) Before you read further, does one of these stick out to you? Just something to ponder.]
Our most recent guest on the podcast was Sean Ward. Sean has seen great success in the Real Estate world. For a long time, though, he felt guilty for not working in full time ministry. Now he feels grateful that he doesn’t. His calling is not to be a “minister” behind a pulpit, but a “minister” in the marketplace. His story teaches us a lot about how God will, and wants to, use someone to do just as much “ministry” (if not more) in the world from a place other than the church. Listen to his story here. The real estate world needs what Sean has. (Or better put, who he has.) Sean is climbing his mountain.
God has placed unique desires within you. They are for a reason. They point to a mountain that needs climbing.
So, what is the highest calling of God on your life? To climb a mountain – to set up camp at the top. It is at the top of these mountains that we will have the biggest impact and the most influence. It is those people who occupied the mountain tops in the past that we learn the most from, whose legacy and influence lived long after they did.
Someone is going to be at the top of your mountain.
Can it be you?
Start climbing your mountain.