Sometimes as a pastor I wonder what to expect out of the people that I preach to at our church. Clearly, my job is all about studying the Word of God, spending time in prayer, and talking to other people about Jesus. I do that full-time, but what level of spirituality ought I to expect out of the lives of those who work a secular job and who have not been called into the ministry in the same way that I have? I used to struggle with this question a lot back when I was discipling a group of high school and college guys. What I witnessed in teaching those young men was that as soon as any one of them "got it" - developed a love for the Word of God, started thinking Biblically in every area of life, found a delight in prayer, and got over the fear of telling others about the Gospel - then that one would start talking about how he felt that maybe God was calling him into ministry. And it's easy to see where that sentiment comes from. That person who has discovered how awesome it is to love, obey, and walk with God looks around and doesn't see too many other "Christians" on the same path. "So," they think, "maybe this is what it means to be called to be a preacher, because I guess only the preacher feels close to God like this...right?"
Most protestant denominations don't believe in break between clergy and laity like the Roman Catholics do. We understand that the New Testament dissolves the priest class, or more correctly just includes all believers in that class (Revelation 1:6). But if ever there was a time when a clear break could be made between priests and "normal folks", it would have to be in the Old Testament where only those of a certain family (the Levites - specifically the sons of Aaron) were allowed to draw near to God in spiritual service. What is fascinating, then, is the level of spiritual depth and devotion that God requires of all of His people, regardless of tribe:
And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good? - Deuteronomy 10:12-13
Even in the Old Covenant, when the call to ministry was based on family blood and those who were not to serve in the temple knew it beyond a shadow of a doubt, all were called to a level of devotion to God that is far beyond what most folks in our churches aspire to today. And I love the way that Moses phrases this requirement - not as if it is a Himalayan mountain to be climbed, but as if it is the least that we can do: "what does the LORD your God require of you but to..." He knew that these were not burdensome commandments for those who truly loved God. Rather, all that he says constitutes the logical outworking of a true encounter with the Lord.
If you can't at least begin to and aspire to conform to the requirements that Moses lists here: fear of God (the beginning of wisdom - Proverbs 9:10), love for Him (the first and greatest commandment - Matthew 22:37-38), serving Him with all your heart and soul (the reason He saves us in the first place - Ephesians 2:10), and keeping His commandments (the way we show that we love Jesus - John 14:15), then you better quit calling yourself a Christian. The factory worker who truly loves Jesus better be serving the Lord his God with all his heart and soul even while he tends the assembly line. The housewife better be delighting in her God and in His commandments even while she folds clothes. All of us better be spending significant time in His Word and in prayer as if we really love this One that we claim has saved us.
"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corinthians 10:31