To give a little context to some of you all who don’t know, in college I was involved in a ministry called, “Young Life”. Young Life is near and dear to my heart because the summer before I went to college, I went to a Younglife camp (Sharp Top Cove) and heard the Gospel in a way that made sense to me for the first time in my life. I came back after Sharp Top and entered my freshman year at NC State. Not going to lie, the beginning of college was TOUGH. There was a lot of longing to fit in and doing whatever I could do to be accepted by people. The whole time I was running away from people who actually desired to be my friend. I would come to figure out later that these same people desired for me to have a relationship with the God who put on flesh to know me (and you). Through a lot of conversations with these same people and a lot of time reflecting on it myself, in late September of my freshman year, I accepted Jesus’ death and life as my own. Then the question in my mind was, “Alright, so, what’s next?” It didn’t take me long to hear that EVERY believer is called into ministry. Then in December of that same year, I set out to become a Young Life leader to befriend high school kids, build relationships and earn the right to tell them about Jesus.
Fast-forward through the next four years of my life to my senior year of college when the age-old question of, “what are you going to do after college?” is being asked. To be brutally honest, that question SUCKS. That is a tough time for most everybody and I was no exception. I was stuck in this debate, internal and external, about whether I wanted to pursue a career in ministry or if I wanted to pursue a job in the “real world”. Spoiler alert, I chose neither and entered the Raleigh Fellows Program for the next year. I did this in hopes that I could take this year to figure out what God was calling me to for the rest of my life (that is a long time).
Which brings me to the point of my blog. I figured out pretty early on into my decision that I wanted to pursue a job in the business world doing what I’m good at and using the gifts and abilities God has blessed me with. So, with that I saw that my job’s purpose was going to be to put me in a community where my sole purpose was to love my employees. Right? That is what Christians are called to do. To love people. But why did that feel like that was only part of the equation? Another spoiler alert: because it is only part of the equation.
“Zach, are you saying that as a Christian my sole purpose isn’t to love people?” No! Of course not. But what I am saying is that we are not looking at the whole picture quite yet. I heard this quote a few weeks ago, “See, God doesn’t only love lawyers, engineers, and doctors but he also loves law, structures and medicine.” Do you see what they are saying? Yes, of course God loves people. In fact, He loves them enough to voluntarily sacrifice His own son for them in the hopes that they would know and encounter Him. But our purpose when we work is not only to love our employees like Jesus would, but to also strive to glorify God in our work because he delights in what we do. Whether it is closing a multi-million dollar sale, vacuuming your house, conducting research for a colleague, or whatever the case may be, God takes delight in us when our motivation behind it is to lift him up. I’ve heard someone close to me also say, “God didn’t make crap, so why should we?”
I now know that the question I asked myself during my senior year of college wasn’t the correct question. I now realize that there should be and is no distinction between ministry and your work. God designed you and me with passions, things that make us excited, talents we thrive in, and workplaces that allow us to do those things well. That God has called us all to have a ministry wherever we are and that it is two-fold: to love people, no matter your mission field, and to take pride in your work as to glorify God (Colossians 3:23).
With all of that being said, I can say that God designed us in his image and likeness. He works and so we too, work. This is why I leave with these wise words from Rihanna,
“Work, work, work, work, work, work.”
-Zach Kunkel 11/7