In a chapter about evangelism, you write "we have brothers and sisters around the world who are imprisoned, beaten, persecuted, and killed today not because they smile as they serve people" but because they share the gospel verbally. But isn't "smiling as you serve," especially in one's vocation, an equally valid calling as that of an evangelist?
Can people serve Christ in valid ways in their callings? Absolutely. No question. No matter what that vocation might be. Whether working in a factory, or a school, or a church, wherever that might be. Yes, we live for the glory of God, and God has given us all different gifts in terms of background, experiences, and education.
But for all of us, there is a command in our lives to make disciples of Jesus. So that's non-negotiable, regardless of what our calling or vocation might be. It's at the center of our lives and at the center of the church. The way that plays out for me as a pastor happens in a certain way, and the way that plays out for a teacher in another way. Or for any number of vocations: I think about my wife, who stays at home with our children. She's got the same command at the center of her life.
So as we're carrying out our vocations, we're using the platforms and opportunities, in the context of where we work, to lead people to Jesus and teach them what the life of Christ looks like in action.
So that's where I want to be careful to not just say evangelism is just for the evangelist. No, making disciples and showing people how to follow Christ, that's the command that drives all Christians, no matter what our vocations might be.
What about, say, a factory worker who loves Jesus and wants to follow him, but works long hours because he needs to support his family? How would you counsel him?
That's a great example. I'd say to that brother in Christ, "You were created for the glory of God in all nations. This is why you have breath, to make His glory known in all nations." How do you carry that out? Well, certainly by loving and providing for your family, and leading your family to love Jesus—no question. That's primary. To not provide for your family, that's totally unbiblical. You're worse than an unbeliever at that point.
God's put you in that factory for his purpose. There are people around you that need to hear about Jesus. God's glorified in your work, and he's given you opportunities to lead people to Christ.
Jesus didn't travel around the world. He spent most of his time in a pretty isolated geographic location, with 12 guys. This is how he was changing the world, so do that in the factory. Pour your life into some people, share the gospel, lead them to Christ, show them how to follow Christ, and show them how to do the same thing in other people's lives. There's a multiplication process here. This is how your life connects with the nations.
At the same time, be aware that as a follower of Christ, there's a bigger picture here. Be praying for the nations, and be praying for unreached people. Because we've got a command to make this gospel known among all the people groups of the world. Your life, even from your knees on a daily basis, can play a part. Be praying, be giving. Look for ways to sacrifice your resources. Look for ways to minimize luxuries and excesses in this culture that says "more is better and bigger is better."
Then go as the Lord leads you. Maybe you've got an opportunity to do short-term missions on a periodic basis. Maybe the Lord will lead you at some point to go overseas. Or maybe He won't. But either way, lay down your life to that possibility. That's what I would say to that factory worker, so that on a weekly basis he's living a life to the glory of God and all nations.