After an interval of almost three years, my schedule is starting to fill up with work trips. Today, I’m in Richmond, VA, wandering the city, asking God to open my eyes, ears and mind. I have missed this part of my former life: surrounded by a new place, observing, musing.
But the three-year hiatus has changed me. I’m asking myself questions about this life now. I’m wondering about my energy, stamina, commitment. On some level, I must keep going, but I need a mental reframing.
My wandering brings me to a courtyard of murals. In one, a gap has revealed the brick wall underneath. It’s a useful reminder that the real question isn’t about income or ability or career goals. It’s about calling. It’s about following where Jesus leads.
There are many verses where Jesus talks about following him. This one holds particular meaning for me today:
Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. (John 12:26)
Where I am, my servant will be also. What a powerful truth. It reminds me that the journeys we take as believers are not forays in which we invite Jesus to tag along. No, he is the one turning around to urge us to join him.
This mural is strikingly bizarre, even funny. It is how long careers can feel at times – like we’ve spent ourselves aiming at targets that we only peripherally hit.
That’s where this reframing of calling helps. This long trek of life (in which a career is just a part) is not so much about hitting marks, but about doing the work Jesus has for us. And becoming like him in the process.
As I turn a corner, I discover this little oasis. It looks like it belongs in some remote jungle. It reminds me that wherever Jesus is, there is life. And beauty. And unexpected blessing.
So, then, the questions about my work and travel become a series of prayers. Where, Lord, are you leading? What is the work you want me to join you in? How do my gifts serve your purposes?
That doesn’t make schedule decisions simple. Reframing this doesn’t make it inherently clear which gig offered to me is one I should take. But I know that I think about my work too often by goals and purposes in which Jesus is an afterthought.
That’s got to change. I need to see all my time as a seamless excursion with him. After all, that’s why we call it our walk with Christ.
And I don’t want to make the Spirit have to strain to pull me to come along.
Jesus, we will follow you. Wherever you are we want to be. Whatever you’re doing, we want to join. Help us in our confusion, distraction and wrong frameworks to see you ahead.
Reader: Have you had a recent experience of joining Jesus in some work? I’d love to hear about it.