In elementary school I waited with baited breath each week as my first-grade teacher announced her five classroom helpers. “Please let me be the messenger. Please let me be the messenger,” I repeated over and over to myself. Why? Because the messenger got a hall pass and was allowed to travel and deliver messages and supplies to other teachers, and most importantly, to the office, the nerve center of the school. Each week the teacher would go to the Helpers’ Poster, which had a large pocket at the bottom. At the beginning of the year all of us had traced our hands onto oak tag (old fashioned card stock), cut out the shape of our hands, and decorated them. These were all placed in the pocket and drawn out – seemingly at random – to identify the helpers who would distribute and collect papers, clean the black board at the end of the day, take the erasers out and clap them, lead the line to the lunch room, and the most coveted position: to be the messenger. It never occurred to our six-year-old minds that every week different helpers were chosen, and that no-one ever got chosen two weeks in a row, nor yet got the coveted messenger position more than once in a month. Every student ended up having every job and having it the same number of times. So no matter how many times I wished, or indeed prayed, to be the messenger, I was predestined to serve as a helper equally with all my classmates.
Serving God has turned out to be the same way. In every season of life God has pulled my name out and given me some job to do. Jobs I trained for, jobs I pursued, jobs that seemed like a default setting, jobs I coveted, jobs I never expected, and jobs I never wanted, somehow made it onto God’s Heavenly Helpers Poster, and my name gets slapped up there according to His pleasure and timing. Whether related to family or career, whether volunteer or paid, whether in church or community, all of my jobs have always been: predestined, ordained by God, and fit into my lifelong calling. Salvation always includes calling, and in different times and places and seasons the works God has prepared for us may play to our natural strengths, or they may force us to lean into the Holy Spirit for divine spiritual gifts and resources to accomplish the tasks He has called us to do. Calling also always brings blessing. Following Christ out into His world as ambassadors for the Kingdom of God will not only stretch us and build faith, we will see God work through us, through our prayers and our accomplishments, and even through our failures. In 2 Corinthians 5 Paul writes:
All this is from God, Who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21
We all get to be messengers for God. Our name is called and we have a hall pass to Heaven, to hear and carry messages and supplies from there to other believers and ministries. No matter what our jobs are, our calling always includes the command to take the Gospel to the end of the earth, to share salvation with others. Our jobs are ways to serve, to show the love of God, and that creates opportunities to share the story of salvation.