There were a couple times when we tried to take the keys back from God like, “No, no, we’re gonna control this.” And then one of us would stop and go, “Hang on. What are we doing right now? And why are we doing it?” Then we’d stop, refocus, hand the keys back to God. And boom, the week would be booked out. And it’s just like—Wow, it’s really cool what God does when you just trust him. This whole season of our life has just been,”Trust God, it will be okay.” It’s really cool to see him move in that.
When I talk with other Christians about evangelism, the practice of sharing the good news of Jesus, I find that the topic can spark anxiety. People are often confident about how not to do evangelism, but not about how to do it in a way that makes sense for their context. For most of us, the main context where we get to know people of different spiritual perspectives is at work. But the challenges of guilt, awkwardness, and timidity can hold us back from starting spiritual conversations that count with our coworkers. What could it look like to share our faith in the workplace in a way that’s joyful, emotionally intelligent, and confident?
It’s our conviction and experience that God has done right by us that allows us to do right by others. We could sum up the pattern of justice we see in Scripture like this: Because God is just to us, we can learn to be just, too. That just character is made manifest in both interpersonal relationships and in how we address larger social systems.
Not all of us do literal craftworks in the visual arts. The gift of the Spirit is universal for those in Christ, but the specific work we do is particular. As Paul writes in, “There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord” (1 Corinthians 12:5 NIV). Although it’s not explicit in the text, I think a case can be made that the different kinds of service are different kinds of beauty. Isn’t there something beautiful about good work, done well, regardless of what kind of work it is?
We get at this broader idea of beauty when we describe someone’s efforts as “beautiful work” even if it isn’t artistic work. Beauty includes the idea of wholeness, goodness, or excellence—not just aesthetic or artistic beauty as such. What if any work we do well and wholly are as pleasing to God as a beautiful sonata or painting?
Just as Jesus sent his disciples on a mission “to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick” (Luke 9:2 NIV), Jesus sends us into our neighborhoods and workplaces as ministers of God’s healing power. As you mature in your capacity to receive and exercise the ministry of healing, you can consider your workplace again with fresh eyes. What would it be like to bless your coworkers and customers with the same power you’ve found in Christian community?
While there are many ways we could sketch out the purposes of God, I’ve found it can be helpful to talk about four aspects, or “corners” of mission: healing, justice, beauty, and evangelism. Like the nooks and crannies of a charming old house, each “corner” has its own features to explore, and together they make up a holistic picture of mission. We’ll look at each of these in depth in later posts, so for now we’ll look at how these themes all emerge in the ministry of Jesus himself.