Encouraging, polished & fulfilling?
Frustrating, inefficient & messy?
Uses your gifts?
Wears you out?
This is the way the Master went; should not his servants tread it still?
Ajith Fernando, of Sri Lanka, has a marvellous article in the Lausanne Global Conversation - short form in Evangelicals Now: Suffering Service.
The cross must be an essential element in our definition of vocational fulfilment.
Young Christian workers who return to Sri Lanka after studying in the West struggle with this. They cannot use their qualifications fully because we cannot afford pure specialists. Some leave the country after a few years. Some start their own organisations so that they can fulfil their ‘vision’. Others pay the price of identifying with our people and ultimately have a deep impact on the nation.
Paul placed importance on the need to endure frustration patiently, groaning with creation as we await its redemption (Romans 8.18-25). Not including this in our understanding of vocational fulfilment today leads to a shallow church, failing to challenge the world’s standards of success and fulfilment.
I have a great fear for the church. The West is fast becoming an unreached region. The Bible and history show that suffering is an essential ingredient in reaching unreached people. As the church in the West has lost a theology of suffering, will it be ineffective in its evangelism? [Read more.]