Jump directly to the content
Why I Left World Vision for Finance

Why I Left World Vision for Finance

And why my current work matters as much as my former work.

Finding a Bigger Gospel

This perspective on life and vocation required two fundamental changes in my understanding of Christian living. First: to replace some bad theology about work and vocation that found its roots in an anemic gospel. I grew up in traditions that were influenced by the revivalist movements that emphasized the "altar moment" of Christianity. The revivalist message of hyper-condensed Christianity was borne out of the perceived urgency to save as many souls as fast as possible. There is certainly something right about remembering the urgency of salvation, but this had the side effect of creating a message that was less comprehensive than what Jesus proclaimed.

When Jesus presented himself to public ministry in Luke 4, he opened the scroll and read from the prophet Isaiah: "He has anointed me to proclaim the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." The year of the Lord's favor comes from the Old Testament year of Jubilee – a year when the land was allowed to rest, when all debts were cancelled or restored, when slaves were reconciled with their masters and set free. Jesus' explanation of his mission certainly doesn't preclude an "altar moment," but it is infinitely more. Jesus did not come to call the truly faithful to the mission field, the less faithful to the pastorate, and the barely faithful to finance.

The second step on my path from vocational ministry to finance was revisiting the story of Adam and Eve. The first bites of the first couple severed the relationship between God and humanity. Beyond that, Adam was isolated from his wife ("the woman you put here with me, she gave me some fruit from the tree"), the world around him ("through painful toil you will eat food from it . . . it will produce thorns and thistles for you"), and even himself (Paul later speaks of the sin in him that causes him to do the things he does not want to do). The Fall paints a picture not just of a tussle between God and man, but rather the total and absolute isolation of man from all things.

2346  

Rethinking the $3,000 Missions Trip

Rethinking the $3,000 Missions Trip

When I learned that kids in my city couldn't swim, I started to rethink how much I'd invested in overseas missions.
Furniture Fit for the Kingdom

Furniture Fit for the Kingdom

For Harrison Higgins, building beautiful furniture is not simply a steady job but a sacrament unto God.
Faith in a Fallen Empire

Faith in a Fallen Empire

Detroit's list of maladies is long. But some Christians' commitment to its renewal is longer.
'Daddy, Why Do People Steal from Us?'

'Daddy, Why Do People Steal from Us?'

How I answered the question would prove crucial to addressing racial divides in our D.C. neighborhood.

Comments Are Closed

Displaying 1–2 of 2 comments

David J

February 28, 2013  3:51pm

Good thoughts, Mark. The sacred/secular distinction is so pervasive in the church. It's rarely stated explicitly that full-time ministry is more spiritual than "secular" work, but it's nevertheless communicated quite effectively. And we are prone to believe it, so that it's not even necessary for it to be taught for us to fall into the trap.

Johnson Chang-Fong

February 25, 2013  1:22pm

The article is a great defense for trading his christian aid work for secular financial work, but to use that defense to justify voluntarily partnering with 3 other non-believers is a stretch. He will find in the day to day or strategic decisions, his ethical convictions can be outvoted by those who answer to a different master. Things are not assured to go well and/or end well when we disobey God's word. It would be wiser to seek the Lord for going it alone or with a fellow Christ-follower.

SUPPORT THIS IS OUR CITY

Make a contribution to help support the This Is Our City project and the nonprofit ministry Christianity Today.Learn more ...