Somehow we are fascinated that Jesus’ father was a carpenter. Around this small fact, much lore has been created. Similarly, it is interesting to us that the disciples were fisherman, that Lydia was a “seller of purple,” and that Luke was a doctor. Why do we remember and speak of these careers?
Though these jobs are of little importance in the vast work of salvation, scripture’s casual mention of these people’s careers somehow delights us and reminds us that the Bible characters were real people with daily tasks just like you and I have. We can barely relate to a blind man seeing, but a sighted man working—we can understand this.
Can you imagine if the book of Acts was filled with stories of graphic designers, accountants and robotics engineers? If it were written today, it would be. Today, GoTential is helping to bring the work of God full circle to where it began: a priesthood of all believers in a spectrum of careers, each filled with the Holy Spirit and drawing unreached people into the orbit of Christ through their daily work.
In May, I met with 40 dynamic Adventist tentmakers who all work, witness and risk their lives for Christ in the Arabian Peninsula. Daily working as salesmen, dentists, software engineers, process engineers, fashion designers, hairdressers, logistics specialists, air-traffic controllers, nurses and in other capacities, these individuals exhale the atmosphere of Christ’s peace among their secular and Muslim coworkers.
The Middle East North Africa Union organized the three-day gathering for these tentmakers. As a representative of GoTential, I was invited to give the devotionals each day for the group. It was my privilege to challenge them from scripture and inspire them with stories of other likeminded lay people around the world. In return, I was inspired by their testimonies of the amazing, creative work they do in their spheres of influence. Several had led people to Christ and even baptized them in secret. They are daring laymen burdened for souls and bold in their heavenly calling.
My collaborator from MENA and I agreed that our greatest privilege was to empower these people. They are already active. However, it was clear from their words of gratitude that giving them a title, a place of belonging, time and attention and a bit of training and inspiration was important. I told them, “You need to know you are very important! The church structure at large has placed its greatest hope for the future of evangelism on lay people just like you. People support GoTential and tentmaker ministries recognizing that there is no more cutting-edge work than people like you lifting up Jesus in the Middle Eastern marketplace.” The conference was a fresh wind for their sails as they returned to their daily work and complex spiritual atmosphere with new focus and zeal.
Yes, the jobs mentioned in the Bible—shepherds, tax collectors, bakers and soldiers—remind us of the “real” life behind the scenes of kings and prophets. Amos was a fig picker. But more importantly, God picked him! Today, God still has His talent list. Perhaps He has picked you.