Our group (The Joondalup Thing) has many ongoing conversations. In fact one thing I love about our group is the ongoing nature and feel of the group between our more formal (?) gatherings. I would be a rich man if I got a dollar for every email sent during the week between our small group of friends. This week 2 themes have been thrown around at least by a small handful of us.
1. Is God a sexist? (Gender struggles)
2. Do we ‘bring people’ to something, an event a meeting to hear a preacher to meet the pastor? (Is our event any more or less sacred than when I go to my neighbours for coffee?)
David Timms who speaks into our group often via his weekly writings speaks well into some of the issues in this weeks thoughts.
“The Reformation principle of ‘the priesthood of all believers’ … teaches us that ‘the plow boy and the milk maid’ can do priestly work.
But even more profoundly it teaches us that the plow boy in his plowing and the milk maid in her milking are in fact doing priestly work.”
~ Richard Foster, Streams of Living Water, p.266.
Our Priestly Calling
The debate over women in ministry, the practice of only clergy baptizing converts, and the inordinate reverence attributed to the ordained, generally ignores the priesthood of all believers. Gender struggles, class distinctions, and specialist ministries create strange complications for this simple kingdom truth.
More than that, misunderstanding our vocation—our calling—robs us of the rich life Christ intended. Whoever submits to the Lordship of Christ and commits themself by faith to Him has a priestly calling.
The folk who officiate at our worship services and read Scripture at weddings and funerals play a valuable role among us. But if we insist that they alone are “ministers” or “priests” we deny our privilege and neglect our responsibility.
The implications reach far beyond this short reflection, but I suggest at least the following few points to consider.
First, the priesthood of all believers—biblically speaking—has no hierarchy among the believers and no distinctions between young and old, male and female, race, class, or heritage.
Second, the world is our sanctuary for ministry—not a building on Third and Main Streets that we open on Sunday mornings.
Third, it’s not that we sometimes do priestly things (pray, preach, or pastor) but everything we do becomes sacred. Whether we’re balancing budgets for large corporations or babysitting the neighbor’s kids, cooking meals or manufacturing ball-bearings—whatever we do in word or deed is now done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Colossians 3:17)
Fourth, every one of us, at all times, in all places, with all people, function as priests. This is the dream of God. “And I shall make them a kingdom of priests.” (Exodus 19:6; Revelation 1:6; 5:10) That means we constantly highlight the Presence of Christ among us, our hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27) Just as the ancient Jewish priests gathered around the Holy of Holies and helped the people connect with God, so do we, whether we’re driving trucks, tutoring school children, or selling insurance.
We are priests in our work and as we work. If we can grasp the glorious significance of this truth, it will dramatically change our view of ourselves and those around us. The Lord has not called us to occasional sacred tasks. Instead, He desires to sanctify every task in our lives, from writing to wood-working, from plumbing to praying.
The artificial barriers between paid and unpaid kingdom-servants hinders our appropriation of this truth. Every follower of Christ brings the holy place to the world. May we do so more this week and grow in this grace.
In HOPE –