The Paradigm Shift Continues . . .Body Life

. . . Body Life at Work

I am member of the body of Christ and with that membership comes gifts to be exercised within the body . . . what I like to call body life. In my brain, the use of those gifts has been confined to the context of the Church (capital ‘C’) and I mean bricks and mortar, as well as the church (lower case ‘c’) represented by small groups, areas of service or the community in which I worship. I think this view is shared by many even if by verbal acquiescence they state otherwise. Almost every pulpit under whose shadow I sat has used the ideas surrounding body life in terms of use within the Church / church often to encourage service. Certainly there is truth and application there. Christ certainly died for the Church. But if (since) my Christian life is to be missional (sent out daily) as we address and interact with others, how do our spiritual gifts come into play, say for example in our work environments? How does body life look for Christians in the work environment with other believers? More importantly perhaps, how does the operation of our spiritual gifts, of lack thereof, look to those outside the faith? Scripture supports the idea of body life outside the ‘Church’ in Matthew 18: 20 when Jesus speaks of his presence in and among groups of believers. Therefore, we are the body of Christ endowed with spiritual gifts in the workplace as well as the Church/church.

I don’t know about you but sometime,( and some of you are laughing in agreement at this statement), I do not always play well with others. I am opinionated and often resistant to change. Some would even say, (and you know who you are), I have issues with authority. That’s enough transparency for me right now…. But I suspect there are a great deal of people like me out there, maybe even you. In my experience and by observations in the work environment, it is hard to tell believers from unbelievers when we gossip, lie, cheat, steal, judge, are unforgiving, and give less than 100% on the job. One could hardly follow our example and certainly these behaviors do not even nod to our relationship to Christ.  Relax your bristled hair now . . . I have a point and it is not to brow beat I promise.

Most people spend more time at work than at home and certainly more than at Church/church. In reading I Corinthians 1:26 – 2:7 (ESV), I was struck by the word ‘lowly’. James 4:1 talks about quarrels among believers and the harm. There is nothing lowly, servant-like about quarreling with your brother or sister in Christ, especially in the work context. Yet more times than not, we leave our Spiritual gifts at Church and exclude the body life at our 9-5 for which they were also intended. How would work environments change if those who call the name of Christ operated like Jesus, lowly and humble, serving in love for others?  How would my gifts of hospitality and generosity used in the context of body life among co-workers change that environment? How would that change the perspective of those outside the faith? Would they be willing to engage in that kind of place with that kind of believer? Twelve guys through the power of the Holy Spirit changed the world with this concept. It’s not new.

I was given this poem many years ago as a Pastor’s wife by a sweet friend in Wishram, Washington.

You’re living a lesson each moment you live

Your example is a trail

That others will follow for good or for ill

Will you help them or cause them to fail?

Author Unknown

Legalism vs Love

I have been struggling with purpose, which of course is not a new place for me. A friend recommended I read John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life (Piper, 2003). At the same time I began reading Jen Hatmakers’ Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity (Hatmaker, 2014). Both presented the same message (at least the message I needed to hear) and it came in tandem with very different writing styles. Piper’s, much more theologically practical and Hatmaker’s reaches into a woman’s heart with humor and straight forward practical wisdom; both with a love for God and walk that is transparent in their writing. My take away, again a recurring theme for me, exposes the battle between my legalistic perspective of ministry and the command to love extravagantly and serve with abandon. This struggle has been logistical, partly because I have a frozen perspective of mission and ministry. Piper points out that few are called to full time ministry but all are called to minister.  All are sent, all those called to be children of God have one goal at the center of their existence, as he puts it “make much of God”.  My heart is to do that wherever I am and slowly the shift from old school missions to a missional life is transforming how I see my small world.

So here I sit, on a hill in the middle of a 700 acre nursery (not mine), wondering how I can engage in missional life in this isolated place. I do not have a job. I have been and will continue for about two years to be an online student of psychology. I have limited engagement with people face to face. So how do I answer this call to a missional life, given my environment?  One idea that has come from Hatmaker’s (2014) book is looking at people from a Jesus perspective. When Jesus says to his disciples, when I was hungry you fed me and clothed me. His disciples’ queued ‘When have we done this for you, Jesus?’ His response is when you have done it unto the least of these you have done it unto me (my paraphrase).  We live and my husband works among the working poor.  They are industrious, hard workers who live and work on minimum wage. The work is hard, yet they show up daily for their family’s survival. We have been the working poor by Western standards, but by global standards, we have never been ‘poor’. The Holy Spirit directed me to meet their needs in a specific area and we have been doing that as a couple. This simple act of obedience gives what Piper points to as ‘fullness of joy’. He says that making much of God, and obedience will bring that place of joy and peace for yourself which is God’s desire for each of us. It’s cyclical as God intended it to be.

If you are struggling with legalism or purpose for your life, if the recent historical events in our country leave you feeling angry or hopeless, I would strongly recommend both books to you. They have been a powerful paradigm shift for me, a work in progress to God’s glory.


Hatmaker, J. (2014). Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity. Tyndale House Publishers Inc.

Piper, J. (2003). Don’t Waste Your Life. Wheaton: Crossway Books.