My guest blogger today is Food for the Hungry’s Senior Policy Advisor Lucas Koach, who shares (in the following paragraphs) how to unite your work and life as a Christian.
I have the most interesting cocktail conversations when asked what I do for a living. I explain I am (both) a public policy advisor for Food for the Hungry and an Anglican priest and spiritual director.
I often get a gracious, “Huh.” Followed by, “How does that work?” Such a reaction, I think, points to a tension we all wrestle with: how do we integrate our spirituality with our public life?
As we progress in spiritual maturity, we learn faith is more than just what we do. But rather, who we are – at the core of our being – dramatically informs all that we do. If I’m not careful, I measure my Christian maturity merely by the number of things I am doing for God, rather than first seeking to have my heart and soul more lovingly yielded to God (Eph. 2:8-9).
St. Therese of Lisieux (Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s namesake) is the Catholic patron saint for missions. She gained this distinction—not because of the stadiums of people she preached to—but because she actually lived a very humble and short life as a cloistered nun dedicated to God in her native France.
She coined what she called “the little way.” Rather than doing a lot for God, she focused on doing very little things for God with great love. And herein lies the critical missiological principle: our missionary enterprises are only as efficacious as pure faith, hope and love are found at their foundation (1Cor. 13). Such a “little way” is not a means to effective ministry, it is integral to the core of mission itself. As Oswald Chambers says, “We pray for the work, but the work is prayer.”
Perhaps you have seen this principle played out. Maybe a mature pastor or mentor comes to mind. We often don’t look up to such persons by virtue of their great abilities and accomplishments. But rather, their wisdom is apparent in their concentrated life and presence. A mere thought, piece of humble advice or simple prayer from such a person can cut right to our hearts and drive us to action far more than any erudite and germane theological treatise.
It’s often faithfully doing little things with great love that is all the difference.
Yet how do we practically live our lives more in this manner? Before we ask others to do more (however virtuous and necessary such things may be) the real question is how are we inviting others, and indeed ourselves, to become more with God’s love? Before rushing in with our critiques and suggestions, let us be drawn further ourselves in prayer and God’s loving presence amidst such situations and circumstances.
In my work as a public policy advisor for Food for the Hungry and as a Christian, there is a host of things I want leaders to do for the world’s poor. But if my sole aim is to see a member of Congress sponsor a bill to address global hunger, than my aim is too small. Rather, my chief desire must be to see leaders fundamentally impacted by the love of Christ and their hearts broken for the things that break His heart. Now that’s a game changer! And may such work begin in me first.
Many of us are engaged in wonderful and necessary enterprises, from powerful board rooms to our kitchen tables. As we seek to find the intersection of our spirituality and our public lives, may we walk “the little way,” and find the transforming love of Christ increasingly infused in everything we do for His greater glory.