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A Product You Can Stand Behind

Are you a young person pondering a career? Have you considered becoming a pastor
or a Christian day school teacher? This twelve-part series is meant to coincide with the work of the
President’s Committee on Partners in the Public Ministry (CPPM). Its aim is to help you think more deeply
about the great importance—and many blessings—of the public teaching and preaching ministry.

I used to work in the corporate world selling a product I didn’t believe in.
It was a service most consider a waste of time, but I had to say it improved the quality of life. I ran numbers to get the most money out of customers we could. I trained employees to up-sell everything, even when our product didn’t work. All of it official company policy but, in essence, lies.
I don’t need to name the company. Whatever you sell, someone will be disappointed. Nothing made with human hands lasts forever. Farmers remark they don’t need to play the lottery: “I gamble every day.” Many join the medical profession to better lives, but in the end, all men die.
The Ten Commandments reveal that our temporal dealings with one another all fall short of God’s command to love our neighbor with perfection. Whatever temporal good you offer, the conscience struggles: “What has man for all his labor?” (Ecclesiastes 2:22)
But there is one full-time profession unlike the rest.
Its policies aren’t fabricated to drive company profits. Instead, every claim you make comes from Holy Scripture, “given by inspiration of God . . . that the man of God may be complete.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) You can have full confidence in the name you represent: “There has not failed one word of all His good promise.” (I Kings 8:56) Every new project you’re assigned comes with eternal backing: “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it.” (Philippians 1:6)
This is the honor, “as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God,” to preach and teach the good news of Jesus’ name. (I Corinthians 4:1)
When betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, the Son of God personally experienced how we sinners swindle one another. To human eye, it appeared the shadiest of business dealings, but from God’s perspective, it was the great exchange of Jesus’ righteous life for our sinful lives: “You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold . . . but with the precious blood of Christ.” (I Peter 1:18-19)
This Gospel is a product you can stand by. One you can believe in—for eternal life. One you can offer others with a clear conscience.
In this sense, public ministers of Christ have the most to offer.
Because Jesus died for the sin of the world, a preacher can proclaim an objectively true justification of the sinner before God, regardless of who darkens the church door.
Because Jesus rose again in triumph, a teacher can open young minds to “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” found in Him (Colossians 2:3).
Gospel labor changes individual lives for eternity, but it also transforms every other station in life. The words which flow from a called servant’s lips equip all believers to embrace their own unique roles in God’s kingdom (Ephesians 4:12).
No job you’ve had in life has been outside His purview. If you’ve been disappointed in your line of work, you’ve been trusting in your product. Faith in the Gospel, though, embraces earthly labor as a personal calling to serve your neighbor so that, in this cruel world, your neighbor might come to know God’s love through your love.
I have to marvel at the Spirit’s work myself, when former corporate coworkers reach out still today, years later, curious to hear and learn the Word of God.
Don’t let thoughts of the public ministry overwhelm you! If you find yourself intrigued by the idea of a profession with so much to offer, this is a noble desire indeed. Such curiosity is from God. Pursue it. Learn more. He promises to direct your steps.
Timothy Daub is pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Hecla, South Dakota.