I heard of a talk a few years ago where the speaker asked everyone in full-time ministry to raise their hand. A handful of pastors, youth workers, worship leaders and so on waved their hand in the air. At this point the speaker said: ‘All of you should have raised your hand, because you’re all in full-time ministry!’
Easy enough for him to say, he was in full-time ministry.
I get what he meant though; just because you go to a secular workplace, look after the kids or go to school rather than get paid to pray, read the Bible and have cups of tea with nice old ladies doesn’t mean your work isn’t ‘ministry’. (That is what pastors do all day, isn’t it?)
The problem is that designing a spreadsheet that shows profit and loss for some random department doesn’t feel a lot like ministry; praying for people sounds a lot more similar to Jesus than working on the help desk. No worries though, rest assured that because you earn more than the comparable position in the church, you can afford to give more to support the church; that’s your real ministry.
Which is a bit sucky, really.
As a guy who works full-time in a secular organisation, am I allowed to say that being in full-time ministry means working hard, being kind to coworkers, gracefully applauding others’ efforts and even missing out on promotions for the sake of others? And that really matters to Jesus?
God is looking for faithfulness, not just fruitfulness.