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Gamaliel's Desk
Friday, August 02, 2002
 
Full Time Christian Service
In response to last week’s column, a student says that if we tithe our time then how can we ever be in Full-Time Christian Service? This young man misses the whole point of the distinction between the truly dedicated Spiritual Christians and the second class nominal Christians.

Let me state first of all that I am in Full-Time Christian Service. Others in this category include pastors, missionaries, Christian schoolteachers and some Christian musicians. And that is pretty much it. Everyone else may do some service here and there but they are certainly not in Full-Time Christian Service. This is what distinguishes first class Christians from second class Christians.

Some would ask, “What is the difference between a Christian schoolteacher in a Christian school and a Christian schoolteacher in a public school? Aren’t they both doing the same thing? Aren’t they both in Full-Time Christian Service if they maintain a Christian testimony?” To which I have to say, how absurd! One might as well compare a mission doctor in the darkest of Africa in Full-Time Christian Service with a professing Christian cosmetic surgeon in Beverly Hills. The first is in business for the Lord, the second is in business for himself.

This is the essence of Full-Time Christian Service - a dedication solely to the Lord and not worldly things. A Christian schoolteacher is working for the Lord, not a paycheck while the public schoolteacher who is a Christian is working for the paycheck and not the Lord. If it were not for this distinction, how could we justify the abysmally low salaries we pay Christian schoolteachers?

And this brings me to the heresy of “Workplace Ministry.” There is a movement afoot to rally all Christians in the workplace to treat their vocations as a “ministry” instead of just a job or a profession. This trend threatens to displace those like myself who are truly in Full-Time Christian Service with a host of pretenders. Imagine the preposterous idea of everyone from corporate executives to shop floor workers “dedicating their work to the Lord.” If that were to happen, how could we possibly distinguish Spiritual Christians from Carnal Christians? The next thing you know, people will say there’s no difference between doing work and doing ministry!

Gamaliel/RJP

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him…. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.
Colossians 3:17, 23-24 (NIV)

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