Organizations of all types have flocked to part-time employees. To management, they offer flexibility and lower cost, in part because they typically don’t get benefits. It works well for the part-time employee too. Fewer on-duty hours and more freedom to do other things.
Many Christians have become part-time Jesus-followers. They get the flexibility of choosing which parts of the Bible they’ll accept as true. And picking the parts of God’s moral will to which they’ll submit. They also get fewer on-duty hours . . . Sunday services once a week, reciting a blessing before meals and an occasional conversation about God where they have may have to give intellectual assent to their Christian faith.
But you can’t build a company exclusively with part-time employees. You need the core of the company that’s all-in. Full-time. At Home Depot, they bleed orange. At Target, they bleed red, but with bullseyes. These full-timers keep things going. If it weren’t for them, the part-timers wouldn’t know what to do.
And God won’t build His kingdom with part-time Christians. Just like we call out to Him in emergencies at random times, He calls on us to be light at random times. Those moments of truth happen when life requires an answer, and we have to come up with one. If it’s a private moment, our true heart gets revealed. If we’re full-time, we feel His presence. If we’re part-time, we’re unsure. If other people are around, that moment of truth is our witness. It’s God giving us the opportunity to show His true heart to those who are watching (and there’s always somebody watching!). It’s our chance to be unashamed of Him. To declare our dependence or humbly deflect the credit.
I once heard a sharp young executive give a talk about part-timers. He used the metaphor of a sentry guarding the back gate of a castle. “The worst thing is to have a part-time sentry,” he said. “If I have a full-time guard, I feel safe. I can relax. If I have no sentry, I’m on alert. The worst-case scenario is when I don’t know what I have. That’s when I’m at risk.”
I’m afraid God has lots of part-time sentries looking out for His Kingdom. And worse, a ton of them have become undercover agents. They’re out there invisible and alone with no one to help them or hold them accountable through connectedness.
For centuries, full-timers have sustained the church, both ministers and laypeople. Whether it’s church or marketplace ministry, campus ministry or ministry to the least of these, God has no hands or feet without full-timers. The Good News is back page news if a part-timer delivers it. Without the moral authority of a life lived for Him and through Him, it’s just words.
Question: Are you a part-time or full-time Jesus-follower? What keeps you from going all-in?