My wife and I are getting ready for our 2 year trip to Thailand. We are excited, nervous, and kind of scared all at the same time. But at least since we are doing ministry overseas we will be considered more holy now… right?
I mean it’s either that, or we could work at a church full time. Because we all know those are the only really holy occupations – everything else is second tier on the holiness scale. Right? And because we are going to be fulfilling one of these things, that just means our home in heaven will have more upgrades like granite counter-tops, a theater room, and we will get to rock some sweet capes in Heaven. Right?
Whatever we do on this earth does not make us holy, or change how God looks at us. Isaiah 64:6 says our righteous acts are like filthy rags. Have you ever tried giving your significant other a rag that you just cleaned your car’s engine with for Valentine’s day? If you tried, my guess is they wouldn’t be thrilled.
In the same way, God isn’t blown away with our righteous acts (because He IS holy, He defines it). It’s never about anything that we do, it’s about what Christ already DID.
Colossians 1:21-22 says, “21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.”
Christ traded us His righteousness for our sin. So if you put your faith in Him, you ARE holy. There are no tiers of holiness, because ALL who believe in Him take on Christ’s righteousness and holiness, no matter our shortcomings, failures, or occupations.
What we do should be done as a RESPONSE to this great demonstration of love and grace Christ has given us.
There is nothing special about me (though I would argue that my wife is super special). There is nothing more special about us going overseas than the people who continue to serve God in the states faithfully. The important thing is that we are all faithful and obedient to what God calls us to. Not because we have to earn anything. But out of our love for Christ and what He did for us.
I’ll be honest – some people have said things like “Man, that’s great what you guys are going to do!” And yes, we do think it’s great what God is already doing there, and we are super excited to be a part of it. And I LOVE receiving encouragement, so don’t get me wrong! But at the same time I feel so awkward because I know that just because Nicole and I are moving overseas, doesn’t mean anything. If we are doing this to earn anything, it’s pointless because it would just be another filthy rag in God’s sight. We are just following what we feel God has called us to do. But there are PLENTY of other people who are following and serving God more faithfully and making a bigger impact for His kingdom, but just aren’t doing it overseas or as a “full time” occupation. So it tends to go unnoticed more.
God calls us all to make a difference. One calling is not greater than another. We all have the same calling: making His name known and building His kingdom. We do this through loving Him, and loving others (see Matthew 22:35-40).
He calls us all to obey Him and buy into the fact that HIS plan and HIS desires are greater than our own. What is God calling you to? What has he given you (gifts, talents, resources, or just pure energy) that you can use to love others with and through it, glorify Him?
I pray that we can all humbly continue to use the gifts God has given us for His glory alone, both here and abroad. And know that we all have an important part to play (not one is more significant than the other). Christ is the reason any of us have hope, so to Him be all the credit and the glory!