“Compartmentalized thinking assumes there is a place that God acts, and a place God seemingly doesn’t.” – Marty Troyer
I am part of the volunteer committee at work. This past week, we had a meeting to kick off 2015. The leader of the committee asked everyone to give a brief explanation of why volunteering was so important to us. As we were going around the table and everyone was giving their answers, I was thinking about what I was going to say when it was my turn. The only thing that really came to my mind was God. The only reason I give my time to serve others is because He gave His life for me. While it’s nice to walk away from a volunteer project feeling like you really helped accomplish something, my real motivation is the hope that maybe someone will be so touched by the generosity of another person that it will drive them into the loving arms of Christ. My true goal is to live out Matthew 5:16, which reads ” In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
As we went around the table, and it got closer and closer to my turn, I was struck by the reality that giving that sort of answer would not be popular. In fact, it would make people down right uncomfortable. I wrestled and wrestled with what to do, and when it came to down to it I lost that wrestling match with fear. When it was my turn I spat out some sort of socially acceptable answer about “giving back”. On a much lesser degree, I imagine it was similar to the wrestling match that Peter lost when he denied Jesus three times.
The truth of the matter is that there was nothing stopping me from giving a truthful answer except the fear of what men would think of me. I wouldn’t have lost my job had I given a truthful answer. No one would have gotten angry or stormed out of the room. No one would have threatened me with physical harm for my beliefs. I simply did what has become common place, and really just second nature, to most Americans. In the spirit of political correctness, I made the choice to compartmentalize two important areas of my life; my faith and my career.
To some, it may seem like a perfectly acceptable thing to compartmentalize work and faith. I would have to argue that as a follower of Christ, that is simply not an option. Romans 12:1 in The Message translation says, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.”
With the sacrifice of Jesus as our foundation, and the Holy Spirit as our guide, we are called to worship God 24/7. The scriptures don’t say anything about us putting aside our faith from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and then picking it back up from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM and on Sundays for Church. We are called to live out our entire lives with our arms lifted in praise. We are called to to worship God in the way we live. We praise Him through the way we eat, sleep and work. In fact, the scriptures say we can’t do anything that produces fruit, unless we have Jesus as our foundation. He is the vine and we are the branches, and the only way for the branches to produce fruit is to stay connected to that vine (John 15:5). Therefore, if we want to produce fruit at work, we better be connected to Jesus while we are there. If we want to produce fruit at school, we desperately need to be connected to Him at school.
We aren’t called to worship God just when it is convenient. We are called to trust and believe in Him even when it is inconvenient. If we need any inspiration in this, we can simply look at our brothers and sisters in Iraq who are being severely persecuted because they refuse to deny the truth of the gospel. If they can give their lives, we can certainly risk our reputations. The world might be pressuring us to compartmentalize our faith in Christ, but what the world desperately needs is for that faith to unify every aspect of our lives.