One of the things I like to do in my sermons is provide ways for my hearers to think about who they (we) are as Christians. To do that, I often lean into specific words or phrases that helpfully paint the picture of Christian identity.
For instance, a couple of weeks ago I pressed home the point that one of the fundamental realities that mark Christians out from the world is that of “faith” or “belief.” We are, after all, those who believe in Jesus Christ and trust (i.e. have faith) in Him alone for our salvation. Therefore, Christians are rightly called “believers.”
Another word that adds to our understanding of Christian identity is the word “followers.” We believe in Jesus and we follow Jesus. That is, we do not merely tip our hat to Jesus with some vague profession to “believe” in him and then go about our private lives as if he doesn’t exist (or at least we shouldn’t). In other words, we are his disciples and we want to live as he lived (cf. 1 John 2:6), obeying all that He has commanded (cf. Matt 28:18–20).
As we follow Jesus, however, we need to remember that though there is one universal call to follow him, there are many different ways that call plays out in our individual lives. For some of us, we follow Jesus into vocational ministries, like being a pastor or an international missionary. For others, they follow Jesus by being the best doctor or teacher or farmer they can be for the good of their neighbors and the glory of God.
This is an important point to remember. Historically, some have tried to separate the sacred and the secular. There have been times when professing Christians have taught or implied that some callings are sacred, having to do with God, and others are merely secular, a bit less important than truly holy callings. But that isn’t a helpful way to think about the world or vocations or life.
In fact, the distinction between the sacred and secular was partly broken down in the Reformation era of the 16th-century. Martin Luther once wrote,
“The entire world is full of service to God, not only the churches but also the home, the kitchen, the cellar, the workshop, and the field of the townsfolk and farmers.”