photo-1454779132693-e5cd0a216ed3

When I uploaded a reflection in late July 2016, I omitted a small piece of news on the same day that I was due to publish my reflection online. I received word from work that the directorate want to extend my services up to March of next year, which would take me up to the next financial year. I would also be on a new contract of a vague kind. Seemingly, I would be on a better pay grade that will equate to an extra £150 per month, even though the extension will last for only 4 months. Overall, it would be a new experience.

My heart sinks a little for various reasons, but my brain is striving to remain at peace and let God open (and close) the appropriate doors in due course. Logically, I can only pursue opportunities that relate to a similar nature of work that I am currently doing.

Sadly, pastoral ministry is literally a closed door. Given my situation, I am still looking to settle with a new church family. It would be nice to explore church in an urban city environment, especially when todays bulk of young adults and professionals are based in the city. It would also be nice to grow in my circle of friends to include more from around my age group. And yet, it seems a bit counterproductive to even bother. If we are not consumed by the demands of everyday work, we either waste our time gawking behind a screen in social media, or we drown ourselves with worldly entertainment. I guess we are all-too-busy for anyone “human” these days.

One of the reasons for instinctively looking elsewhere (job-wise) is because I feel like I am too efficient. I’m not bragging (and I hope I don’t come across like some egocentric weirdo), but I know when I’m being pushed about because I can get the job done. I am experiencing the same pattern as my previous employment. The other reason is that I’m the only one in the team who is not married and without kids, so I don’t need to make any last-minute arrangement to look after the kids during holiday or drop them off at school. I’m also dependable to travel away from home, sometimes to locations that are closer to my colleagues, and because of my unattached status, I do a lot of site visits. Although, I admit to embracing the sporadic experience, as I’m grasping the concept of becoming a workaholic, which is strangely relevant to developing a thick skin for what ultimately lies ahead.

When I mentioned that I was striving to remain at peace, well, I tripped up on an employment role two weekends ago. It’s a role that offers a generous salary that is based in the heart of Britain doing rather British things using IT. Indeed, I am (and was) attracted to the pay (despite the wallet-denting rates for rent), the exposure to using the latest IT systems and ongoing training, and the reality in where this world is heading to (politically speaking), but I would need to sacrifice my freedom (and partial freedom and dignity of immediate family members and designated referees). I haven’t formally continued the application, and yet, it’s a job I know I can do and possibly enjoy. However, I am certain of consequences when I formally make an application, especially if I even dare to pass.

The thing is… I know there is no such thing as freedom here on earth. That’s why God sent His Son Jesus to pay the price of freedom, so we can be saved from eternal death and live freely in Christ. The evil one may claim our rotten bodies through sin, but it’s Christ who is seeking to save our souls so that we may live.

Humanly, we are essentially wrapped inside superficial ecosystems, where each “system” owns a piece of our livelihood and wellbeing. These ecosystems, if it were, include our political systems, workplace, computer-based systems, and beyond. Even our freedom of speech is watered down these days. Too much political correctness because words can hurt others, which is true, but how soon before we have to live by a code purely to survive. And besides, we cannot both serve God and man.

The other element of freedom that I value is that I want to rant about work, share my faith, joys and struggles, and pursue personal projects. Indeed, I am human, but I am also an implosive person. I tend to keep my business to my own, which is not always healthy (and it may partly explain why I am not afraid to blog and share tidbits here and there). And of course, I’m still very keen to pursue this Kingdom-focus vision, which I have vowed not to cross my own line with affiliations of ANY kind.

And yes, I have been actively looking at funding opportunities, as I move outside of my comfort zone. Curiously, when I glanced through some funding applications, I was correct with my gut instinct from the very beginning. I *do* need a convincingly strong team after all, otherwise it’s just a young daft person with a warm-and-fuzzy vision who won’t be taken seriously.

If I can’t summon a team, then what? A regular so-called “career” spanning mundane hours of 9 to 5 each weekday. So boring! I might as well sell my freedom and apply for this job. God isn’t calling me to live a regular life, otherwise I will have settled for less and followed the crowd ages ago! But how do I remain transparent in my integrity and honesty that I do not emotionally charm people to partner with me (like Steve Jobs) in a transformational venture?

I am of course still attempting to communicate what I sense as God’s Kingdom-focus vision to folk who I feel compelled to reach out. The sad reality is that most believers find such vision most encouraging, but we would rather not be involved, because we are too grounded with the comforts of life and our failing world around us. Most folk want to see the bling of money, superficial promises, and personal benefits of selfish gain, much like my tempting attraction to leave behind everything for a consequential job opportunity that will limit my freedom that I can live and do through Christ.

This Kingdom-focus vision was first revealed to me around 7 years ago. I am certain I documented tidbits in a prayer letter in 2009. Not exactly sure why the vision still holds my heart with genuine passion, especially when this vision was revealed over two consecutive days when I was studying at seminary. I do know however that I had to mature in my calling and character before parts of the vision made sense to me, and it’s only in the past couple of years that the vision feels do-able.

I’m not sure if my brain is going through a mental cycle in desiring a so-called “comfortable life” according to worldly standards (which I believe is a lie), but since when does a born-again believer live a comfortable life? We do however have a blessed life, and I strive to identify every blessing (big and small) from God each and every day. We know the Church is called to disciple and baptise men and women of all nations, but if today’s churches are more focused on branding and inwardly internal communities, then how can we faithfully fulfil *ALL* aspects of The Great Commission that would see more lost sheep return to Christ?

~Richard