At the heart of our vision in Ransom Fellowship is the conviction that our primary calling as Christians is to be faithful in the ordinary of our lives, whatever that ordinary consists of. It may be plumbing a house, or raising a child, or preaching the gospel, or researching some arcane topic, or caring for the ill, or painting a canvas that no one—absolutely no one but God—sees. Still, it is significant because it is God’s calling to me, and that matters more than the cultural metrics of success or failure, because he is the One who can choose to say “Well done” someday and all else pales into insignificance besides that, which is a value of the kingdom of God that is simply a given in the Christian faith.
Os Guinness expresses it this way: “As people of faith, we are each to follow our calling to the maximum of our abilities and to the full extent of our lives, living to the glory of God and with an eye to our neighbor’s needs. It is not up to us to save and manage the world, especially in the global era, for trying to do so will end up either in windy abstractions or in the paralysis that comes from being overwhelmed… Our task is to focus on our individual callings in engaging with the world, to trust that others are following theirs too, and to leave to God the masterminding of the grand outcome” (Renaissance, p. 107-108). Edith Schaeffer used to refer to the outcome God is masterminding as a tapestry. We each have a thread to weave in, and our separate threads are interwoven into a whole under Christ’s Lordship.
One part of my ordinary involves completing a book on this topic, unpacking the shape of Christian faithfulness for ordinary believers in our pluralistic, secularized world. I’ve engaged these ideas for over three decades and now am trying to distill what I’ve learned and make it more widely accessible.
Most of the time we cannot see how our separate threads intersect and interact. Keeping on keeping on involves trusting God, a walk by faith not sight. And then occasionally we catch a small glimpse of the interwoven nature of our faithfulness before God. The threads you weave in prayer and giving to Ransom Fellowship have a direct impact on my writing—as God grants creativity, focus, and the ability to continue.
I’ll always remember 2014 as the year when we have sensed the gentle sustaining power of the Holy Spirit as we’ve moved from Rochester to Savage, from Toad Hall to The House Between. We’ve noticed surprising opportunities develop for conversations about things that matter, especially with young adults and the thriving art community in the Twin Cities. Giving usually tapers down over the summer months, and this year it tapered even more than usual and has not risen back to normal levels. We don’t know what that means, for any of the threads involved, though we realize we need to make some hard choices as a result. What we can say is that for over 35 years God through his people have graciously provided the funds for us to pursue this work—something we know will not continue forever—and we hope this fact serves as a quiet demonstration that God exists, and can be trusted as we follow our callings by being faithful in the ordinary, whatever our ordinary happens to be.