‘What do you do?’ For much of our life we are, so it appears, defined by our occupation.
Even in retirement or death, official forms often seek to know ‘What did you do?’ What we do is not just a job; it implies income, status, education, politics. What might it say about our faith?
This week I have been reading about Moses. Moses talked with God, gave his people ‘The Law’ and the 10 Commandments and led the Israelites out of slavery to freedom. Surely here is a hero of the faith. I wonder what occupation he listed.
As far as we can see, Moses’ first encounter with God comes at the burning bush by which time he must have been well into his thirties, probably much older. It is here that God introduces himself and calls Moses to serve Him. Up to this point there is nothing to suggest a man of faith. The son of a slave, adopted by an Egyptian princess, forced into exile after committing murder, living as a nomadic herdsman; Moses early life is, to say the least, chequered. At this first encounter with God, Moses tries every argument he can think of to say ‘No’ to God, but God persists.
Moses has just the right CV, the experience that God is looking for. Leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, then through 40 years of wilderness wandering requires some serious practical skills; such as leadership and administration, finding water and pasture. God also demands obedience. Faith will develop as they go on. There is no nepotism in God’s economy.
The morning I read about Moses and the burning bush, I heard a radio interview with an engineer. This lady had managed some of the biggest civil engineering tasks of recent times; including the London Crossrail project. There was much in her work to satisfy her. What struck me was the importance she placed on serving others; producing something that was not just technically elegant, but also functional, enhancing the lives of whole cities of people.
Jesus once said ‘I come that you might have life in all its fulness. Thinking of Moses leading the Israelites through the wilderness, or the engineer building tunnels under London, I was reminded that we are all called to serve whatever we do. Just occasionally, serving God brings us to serve in an overtly Christian organisation, but anything which helps people enjoy life in all its fulness can be service to God. As George Herbert wrote ‘Who sweeps a room as for thy laws, makes that and the action fine’
Rev’d Philip Payne Lent 5 (Passiontide)
The Pew Sheet for 3rd April can be found here
 The Elixir (Teach me my God and King), George Herbert 1593 – 1633