Crossroads (noun): an intersection of two or more roads; a point at which a crucial decision must be made that will have far-reaching consequences. [Merriam-Webster]
If you spend enough time around Christians, you’ll hear us often say, “God has a sense of humor”. This is said not solely because God invented laughter, but because He places circumstances in our tracks that we simply find to be ironic, humorous or entertaining.
With that said, I have a disclaimer: the fact that I was assigned, as a Serve Seattle blog team member, to write my thoughts on the title above is rather amusing to say the least. I swear God is chuckling while I type this and I’ll tell you why. Exactly one week ago, God threw me a curveball (I’ll get to that in a minute) right as I was solidifying my future plans. There I was, departing Seattle in less than two months and headed back to the motherland south of Boston. The game plan? I had secured an apartment with a good friend, decided to invest into a ministry with my church, and had possible thoughts of furthering my education taking classes part-time at a nearby seminary. I couldn’t have been more thrilled!
Well a few days ago, a college friend hit me up to say my past school is launching New York City’s first Masters of Social Work program from a Christian higher education. He enlightened me that the same program I had been patiently waiting for since graduating is starting in the fall. I don’t have the amount of words borrowed for this blog to go into detail how many puzzle pieces fall into place perfectly with the news I had received. You’ll just have to take my word on it. The fact remains that I was and still am at, a crossroads. A crossroads of pursuing an education with a dominant ministry concentration and an education with a clinical social work dominant concentration.
At some point in our lives, a portion of us as believers will perhaps come face to face with this fork in the road. I can’t see how a Christian would not at least contemplate, if not struggle with, interpreting the notions of ministry and career. How are they similar? How are they different? Do they coincide with one another? Should one be prioritized above the other? How does God’s holy Word equip us to discover the balance between the two?
From personal experience in the past seven days alone, I’ve probably reached out to 15+ friends, mentors, professors, family members, chaplains, etc. At times I’ve spoken to God calmly and with an ‘inside voice’. At other times, not so much. I’ve read countless scriptures with my current top two being:
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
Under the weight of time and application deadlines, I’ve had the following question stirred up in my soul and hanging over my head: does choosing career over ministry entail haunting spiritual consequences?
I think I see now that that was not the right question to ask in the first place. After all, do ministry and career choice really have to be divided? Has God not called us to be minsters of His Word in every work environment and educational setting despite the religious or non-religious atmosphere? Have we got into a tendency of hyper spiritualizing too much?
A.W. Tozer says, “One of the greatest hindrances to the internal peace which the Christian encounters is the common habit of dividing our lives into two areas – the sacred and the secular.”
An appropriate statement to balance that would be this quote from hip hop artist Trip Lee, “The best strategy is to put your time into the things that will yield the greatest return; and since we’re talking about time, the greatest return is eternal”.
I’ll end with this as some things I’ve learned in my limited life experiences:
Ask: God in a posture of boldness and expectancy to blow your mind with His love for you at the crossroads.
Act: upon necessary faith, ceaseless prayer, and counsel with Kingdom-focused, Christ-centered members of the faith.
Abide: in the freedom of decision-making that Jesus has already provided by fulfilling the old covenant.
Those ‘A’s are verbs by the way so what are you waiting for? Get going!