Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The calling of God: a word on vocation

Not all, but the majority of the popular mainline Christian blogs I read are started and maintained by individual(s) in full-time ministry; I however am not one of those individuals; but my CIC cronies are. My current vocation (or, context) however has been to serve in the banking industry.

I often wonder why God has placed me here. This industry tends to contain (and breed) individuals who are motivated by the very thing God states we shouldn’t be, money (Luke 16:13, 1 Tim 6:10). It’s a line of business that also contains many practices that have been considered unethical; especially in light of the mortgage industry and its impact on the overall economy. Me, I'm not really motivated by money, just the ability to take care of my family and have some extra to build the kingdom.

I can say however that it has given me a unique opportunity to serve the kingdom of God. To begin, I’ve worked in a variety of sectors. I started off as a teller in consumer banking for a small community bank, and moved up to a client officer in government banking for one of the worlds largest. I’ve partnered with politicians on their multi-million dollar child support programs all the way down to nickels and dimes with children’s banking at local schools.

What I enjoy most about it has been serving people. I really think it might be preparing me for ministry due to the level of awareness and care you have to have with your client/customer. For example, one of the marks good Pastor is their ability to counsel. Interestingly enough, that is pretty much what I do on a daily basis for my customers. When I worked with consumers in the branches I was constantly analyzing their financial situation and offering them advice on how to create greater levels of efficiency for them as well as us. That is, if someone had a difficult time balancing their checkbook, a debit card might suit them better since it usually debited their accounts same day. Or in my current job where I hand hold customers as they transition their entire banking and accounting over to us. This, I see, would be the equivalent of having been fed up with their current way of living (bank) and hoping you can direct them to something better, Jesus (bank). Sure that last one might be a little bit of a stretch, but I try to draw as many connections as I can to the drama of redemption. Sometimes I even like to view my work as a church, where the Lenders (those out in the field) are the evangelists and the client service groups (in-house servants) are the Pastors, deacons, and elders (my crazy imagination).

In any event, banking has been fun. I saw my first convert (Nick Adams) come to Christ in an unusual fashion in my first year of banking (though that story is for another time). I’ve sat down with individuals from all walks of life. I’ve met people of great power and astuteness. I’ve helped little children wrap their sandwich bag full of nickels. I’ve worked with elderly women who couldn’t fill out a deposit slip. But the common thread through all of this is the same if I worked in any other industry, namely, everyone’s desperate need for a Savior. Whether it’s an elected official or the school boy, each one needs to come to the place of repentance and place their hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. Some people falsely rest their hope in money that appreciates and depreciates as time goes on. But our hope is to rest in the finished work on Calvary.

Though I currently work in banking, I only do so to take care of my family. My true vocation serving my God and Savior Jesus Christ.



Anonymous said...

I feel your analogy is a little stretched and forced but I see your point. I think you clearly and simply state your point that you see your job as ministry to those around you and those you work with. Not everyone is meant for formal ministry but God places us just where we need to be. There are several people who are in ministry that clearly shouldn't be and maybe didn't hear God's calling correctly. It sounds like God strategically placed you where you are for a reason. You ae "working to live" not "living to work" God expects us to go and make disciples no matter where we are. Just always remember that especially when you label yourself as a "christian" people will hold you under a microscope to see if your actions line up with your words. Some of the most amazing chrisitans I know work out of the ministry spotlight! I enjoy your blogs because they are "down to earth" Keep it up.

Damian Romano said...

I appreciate your thoughts and comments on the blog. In my younger Christian years I did struggle with feeling like I'm making less of an impact by not being in full time ministry. Of course now I'm comfortable with where God has placed me. I feel like a bit of a missionary to bankers among the world.

Thanks for chiming in.