|"Forgive me, Lord. I want to fly helicopters."|
Speaking to a group of Christian school principals recently, I shared this true story to illustrate the need for putting "theology of work" back into the school curriculum:
One day, I have this conversation with a young man I’ll call “Jason.” He's a committed follower of Christ, and a recent graduate of Bible school. Jason loves to do street evangelism, and his greatest thrill is to lead people to the Lord. Wonderful!
When I ask Jason what occupation he wants to pursue, he turns his head to the side, looks up at the ceiling, and says, "Forgive me Lord.” Then (looking me straight in the eye), he declares: "I want to fly helicopters."
Flying really interests Jason, and he's particularly fond of helicopters. He loves everything about them. He tells me he wants to lift logs out of forests, in logging operations. Yet, it is evident to me that Jason feels tension because he doesn't see flying helicopters as a way to truly serve the Lord.
I ask Jason if he is aware of the First Commission. He says he hasn’t heard of the First Commission, so we turn to Genesis 1:26-28. Here is how it reads in The Message:
God spoke: "Let us make human beings in our image, make them
reflecting our nature
So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,
the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself..."
He created them male and female.
God blessed them:
"Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!..."
The Amplified Bible translates verse 28 like this: “And God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]…”
I share with Jason how flying a helicopter in logging operations fits beautifully into God's mandate to rule over creation. Jason can serve God and love people by lifting trees from forests to be hauled to mills and cut into lumber for building homes. Thank God for loggers!
Jason's face lights up. He has an epiphany. "I never thought of that!" he says. He suddenly sees a way to participate in the First Commission of Genesis 1:26-28 and the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20, both with a clear sense of divine calling and purpose.
This is the beauty of a wholistic view of faith, work and Truth. It liberates.