How have you advanced the Kingdom in your profession?
I can honestly say I’ve never been asked that question before but there it was. On a questionnaire from a group that’s asked me to speak. Is it a bad question? A good question? How in the world do you even begin to answer that?
I’m sure there are things that have advanced the Kingdom that I’ll never know about. Words spoken that the Spirit uses in a person’s life that I thought were in passing. Encouraging words that a kid hears that he never heard at home. But c’mon, that’s not unique to me. Every Christ-follower will have those stories revealed one day – an act or a word that we didn’t think twice about but was a lifeline to someone else.
I could list mission trips, money given, Trash Mountain Project, Sharefest, feeding elementary school kids, people I’ve led to the Lord (hate that phrase…)
There’s no way around it – answering this question just makes me feel sick. Either sick because I haven’t done enough or sick because how arrogant am I to think that ANYTHING I’ve done advanced anything. It’s a no-win question.
I know it wasn’t meant that way. I know it was asked with sincerest of intentions. In fact, I preach this message – that our jobs and professions are our single greatest mission fields. So I totally understand the why behind the ask.
But answering it seems…daunting. I feel supremely unqualified to answer. Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father…
Amy and I leave today for a combination trip. It’s our 25th wedding anniversary trip and a coaching trip with some other pastor’s and their wives. Kids will be home without us so if anyone sees smoke…call my friends at Topeka Fire Department. It’s crazy the stuff you think of when you are going to leave your kids for an extended period of time. Phone numbers, instructions on cooking, medicines, and dog care seem to dominate most of it.
But here’s what struck me…and it’s my blog so I can brag on my kids if I want to…
Each of our kids has their own, deep, growing relationship with Jesus. One is manifested in a heart for the guys on his floor in his dorm. Another is focused on being an advocate for kids. Another is working with special needs kids. Now don’t misunderstand, each one has their own special issue that can drive Amy and I crazy at times as well. (Shoes. Backpacks. Laundry. You know which one belongs to you.) They aren’t perfect but they got that way honestly as their parents were far from perfect.
But their faith is genuinely and deeply their own. Did we have something to do with that? Maybe. We modeled both our faults and our faith in front of them. We fought and cried and laughed but today as we are leaving I’m struck that probably the most important Kingdom work I’ve ever done has been inside the radius of the 5 people I call family.
It doesn’t make the brochure look good, it probably isn’t going to sell books or get me on a speaking tour either but I can’t escape it. For all the accolades and accomplishments I could list, I don’t think they measure up to what’s inside my own address.
And Jesus’ words have a deeper meaning to me…
What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?