I’ve never felt called to mission work. I’ve always thought it was important, but I’m personally passionate about design and communication, computers and software—in general, making things. But I’ve also felt guilty for not getting out “in the field.”
In the fall of 2014, I found myself on a plane to Rwanda with our videographer, Michael, to shoot a video for HOPE. The title of the video is “What’s in Your Hands?” and it’s about how God sometimes answers our prayers by multiplying what he’s already given us. So what was in our hands? A laptop and some camera gear.
My prayer for the trip was that God would use us for His glory, that our work would help others connect to what God is doing around the world through HOPE. And that’s what I believe God calls us to as His followers—to do the work we’re gifted in, to use our talents for His glory. For me that happens through design.
Here are three reasons I don’t feel guilty anymore:
1. God made me to be passionate about design.
I connect strongly to God as Creator. I love sharing stories, communicating ideas, creating beautiful experiences, and connecting people. God made me passionate about these things, and I believe He designed us all to do work we’re passionate about. Art, algorithms, business plans, products, websites, stores, homes—our very desire to work—can be a reflection of our Creator. We are all created in His image.
In his article, “To the Creative: The Glory of God and the Works of Your Hands,” Joseph Simmons talks about the building of the temple in Exodus 31. God sent the Holy Spirit to fill a few craftsmen so that they could build His home on earth. The result of this partnership was unlike anything the world had known before:
Moses talked to God in a burning bush. He talked to God on the mountain when everyone else was too terrified of God’s glory (Exodus 20:18-21). He spoke with God the way a man speaks with his friend (Exodus 33:11). But when God came down in glory to the house that the creatives among his people built, not even Moses could stand in his glory. The art of the people, the creativity of the people was for the glory of God. God worked in them, and God came down.
2. All work can glorify God.
I haven’t always connected my faith with my career, but my perspective is slowly shifting to think about how I can glorify God through my work. In his book, The Element, Ken Robinson encourages us to find and work in our element, “the point where what you are passionate about and what you are good at naturally meet.” I believe that our passions and aptitudes are given to us by God, and we can and should apply them as acts of worship, for His glory.
As followers of Christ, we all have the amazing miracle of the Holy Spirit living in us. When we work for God’s glory, whatever our work is, God can multiply our efforts to achieve more than we could ever ask or imagine. I believe this to be true whether you’re a stay-at-home parent changing diapers, a street-side produce vendor in the Republic of Congo, or a small business owner with 40 employees.
As a member of HOPE’s marketing team, I’ve seen how thousands of people and businesses are using what God has placed in their hands to give so generously to HOPE. It’s helped me realize that if everyone was a missionary, there wouldn’t be anyone left to support them.
3. God is bigger than we think.
Through the video project, I learned that God knows what He’s doing. I was worried about how to capture the stories of the people we met, since I’m not a gifted interviewer. But God had the right people in place. Joanne had been working in Rwanda for the last six months, visiting savings groups, asking questions, refining her process. She worked closely with Clare, her translator. Together, they were gifted at communicating humility, thankfulness, and respect to the individuals we met. The different skills of our team worked together to enable us to show love to others and to capture the footage and stories we needed.
In the time I’ve worked at HOPE, I’ve been struck by how, all over the world, God is using Christians and their work to spread the Gospel. Jose in the D.R. is building wheelbarrows and witnessing to the young men he’s training in his trade. Olive in Rwanda runs a restaurant. She has become the treasurer of her savings group and preaches the Gospel in her community. (Her rice and beans are the best I’ve ever had!) Individuals in the United States use their particular skills to provide for their families, as well as give generously to churches, ministries, and missionaries.
We are all, in our own ways, members of God’s Kingdom. So I thank God that we’re not all called to the same work. I also thank God that He can use the pencil, paper, and laptop He’s put in my hands for His purposes.
Have you found that area where the passions and aptitudes God has given you overlap? I’d love to hear in the comments below.