The “Call of God,” whether Secular or Religious, are Sacred – Romans 11:29“For God’s Gifts and His Call are irrevocable” (NIV) – Whether we are called into Service in the Church or in the World, whether to manual work, art, education, science, technology, engineering, medicine, the service professionals or managerial, in every area and sector of human life, every call is sacred. If a vocation represents God’s Call to serve Him in the World, then that vocation (call) is sacred because it comes from God. It therefore makes no sense to speak of secular vocation (call); such a term is a contradiction, because all vocation (call) comes from God, and is sacred. The term “secular work” comes from the Hellenistic teaching, any work that was “in the world” or involved active engagement with society was viewed as secular and probably evil. Thus, the spiritual ideal was to leave the world, to be separated from it and to live a life of prayer and study as much as possible. This belief system, for centuries, has become deeply imbedded in the psyche of the Church: That if you have “a vocation (calling)” you are to leave “secular” employment and to accept the responsibility
Mind-Set Change – Martin Luther and John Calvin brought about a reformation and a mind-set change by refusing to make the sharp distinction between sacred and secular that was so characteristic of the medieval world and is still evident in the language of the present-day Christians and the Church. Martin Luther and John Calvin promoted a revolutionary teaching: That the homemaker, the shoemaker, and the preacher all serve God, all respond to the call (vocation) of God, and thus all have “a calling” (vocation). Martin Luther and John Calvin called for spirituality in the world that took seriously the home and the marketplace. Both affirmed the common and the ordinary – As Calvin puts it, “in following your proper calling, no work will be so mean and sordid as not to have splendour and value in the eye of God” (John Calvin, “Institute of the Christian Religion”).
Luther and Calvin insisted that all people should have a respect for their own calling (vocation). John Calvin went further and affirmed that each Person has been assigned a station or calling (vocation) from God; this calling (vocation) is not something incidental or accidental. Consequently, it is our sacred duty to accept and even embrace that to which God has called us.
The sacred is not distinct from the secular; rather the sacred is what sanctifies the ordinary and thus makes it good and noble. This idea of sanctification was critical to Martin Luther’s assertion that every Christian, regardless of station, is a Priest (Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10; 1Peter 2:5-9). In spite of the teaching of Martin Luther and John Calvin, the unbiblical teaching that some callings (vocations) are sacred, and some callings (vocations) are secular are still locked in the “mind-set” of the Church, and in the Christians, today!!
Spheres of Influence – The recovery and understanding of this biblical vocation (calling) of God involving all areas of life leads us to a renewed appreciation of the full extent of God’s call (vocation) and His Kingdom that is, permeating all strata of societies, communities, and countries. This recovery and understanding leads us into the revelation of the “Seven-Mountain” Spheres of Influence which was given by God, simultaneously, to Bill Bright, Founder of Campus Crusade, and Loren Cunningham, Founder of Youth with a Mission, in 1975. The revelation was if we are to impact any Nation for Jesus Christ, we would have to affect the seven spheres of influence of society that are pillars. Furthermore, the Church and the Christians need to change their mind-set and embraced that God calls people into the “Seven-mountains” of spheres of influence:
- Families (Covenant relationship and personal identity, which are the key building blocks of society. Parenting styles, singleness, orphans, gender issues, marriage, sexuality, divorce, aging etc).
- Religion (Faith and practice concerning what is ultimately true. Among the many voices on this sphere of influence (mountain), the Church declares who God is and what Jesus has done to redeem man and creation).
- Economy (The system that produces, distributes, and consumes wealth. Business, finance, management, social justice, capitalism, socialism, prosperity, poverty, etc).
- Education (Who, what, when, where why and how we teach the next Generation. Public & private schools, textbooks, literacy, indoctrination vs. education, universities, etc).
- Government (The system and policies by which we rule and are ruled. Politics, law, courts, taxes, prisons, military, bureaucracies, civic duty, patriotism, activism, etc).
- Arts & Media (Our creations, stories, ideas, music and games and the way we communicate them. Entertainment, the process, sports, novels, myths, the internet, televisions, music, etc).
- Science & Technology (Our knowledge of creation and how we practically apply it. Health, medicine, innovation, sanitation, the printing press, computers, weaponry, etc).
- (Source: “Prayer Card – The Seven Mountain or Spheres of Influence” & “The Seven Mountain Prophecy” – Johnny Enlow)
All vocation (calling) is sacred and there should be no separation between the Church and the Marketplace, as God is establishing His Kingdom on earth as the whole Creation comes under His Divine Authority. To that end God calls and enables His Children to be His Kingdom People within every sphere of life and society. Each call (vocation) reflects but one avenue by which God, through word and deed, is accomplishing the establishment of His Kingdom on Earth.
Calling & Career – It is also important to stress the distinction between calling (vocation) and career, job or occupation – A calling (vocation) comes from God, and though it does involve work in any sector or society, from the home to the marketplace to the Church. God’s Word states that the “Gift and Calling (Vocation) of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). The Person can lose his job, be released from a position or his career can come to an end when he retires. But his Calling (Vocation) remains because it reflects his fundamental identity. This means that if we are going to be successful in the Service of God, whether in the Church or in the World, we have to understand and use His (God’s) Calling (Vocation) upon our life.
Market-Place – Tom Philips, who is associated with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said this: “The greatest potential ministry in the world today is in the marketplace. Christ’s greatest labour force is those men and women already in that environment.” This is a powerful prophetic statement with great implications:
- Ministry – Our job, career, business, and the connections with the various Leaders or People, is more than earning a profit or wage but a ministry unto the Lord Jesus.
- Window of Opportunity – There is “a fruitful season” for God’s work – God determined allotted periods – Acts 17:26b “Hath determined the times before appointed” (KJV).
- The Boundary -– Acts 17:26c “The boundary of their habitation” (KJV). God has also assigned an Individual to his/her assigned place(s).
- Positioning – God is calling and selecting Leaders in the market-place to impact the work-place, society and transform the community, because they are people of influence and strategically positioned in the market place.
The Church is to be a blessing to societies/communities because of Christ’s Finished Work (John 19:30 “It is Finished”), by being a good and useful citizen to the Nation of our dwelling, involving the dual task:
- Evangelistic Mandate (Saving Souls) – Matthew 28:19a “Therefore go and make Disciples of all Nations…..”
- Territorial Mandate (Transforming Societies and Communities – We, being “People of Blessings”) – Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (KJV)
- The old paradigm interpretation would make it to read: “To save those who were lost.” But it does not say this. It says “that (“what was lost” – NIV) which was lost.” What is “that?” It is the Dominion over God’s Creation (Genesis 1:26-28), which was lost in the Garden of Eden at the Fall of Adam (Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:1-6).
- Matthew 28:19a “Therefore go and make Disciples of all Nations…..” – This passage of the Scripture does not tell us to make Disciples of Individuals in all the Nations, even though it is important, which has been our standard, old paradigm interpretation. Instead, the Church is to make Disciples of “All ethnic units or social units or people groups” = “all Nations” (Greek: “panta ta ethne”). It denotes sociological groupings of Individuals. The whole ethnic or nation (including, the Individuals who belongs to it) is Jesus’ directive to His Church. Thus, the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 is the “social transformation” which also include Individuals, by not being combative/pushy in the sharing of the Gospel but being blessing to our neighbours (Matthew 22:39; Leviticus 19:18b) and the Nation of our dwelling (2Peter 1:3-12).