The Witness of Shoeing Horses
Preface: Saul’s encounter with the risen Jesus on the Damascus road was a defining moment in his life and in the history of the early church. God changed the one-time persecutor of the church and made him His chosen apostle to bring the gospel to the Gentile world. Paul’s inclusion of Gentiles in the church by faith alone, however, proved a difficult concept for some within the church to accept—a powerful example of how preconceptions and prejudice can hinder our mission.
When I was a young Christian, every so often it happened that some of my older fellow-Christians would ask me: Don’t you think that God might be calling you to become a youth leader? A Pathfinder guide? A church editor or newswriter?
Usually I listened and wondered. At that time, mostly my own thoughts went in other directions: engineering, shipping, foreign service, etc. Did I sense a conflict of interests? Could I serve my church only through the avenues of pastoring, teaching, or nursing?
Eventually I found my call. I became convinced that God was calling me to the ministry. I prepared for the ministry. And since then I have found myself doing a lot of things that were included in my dreams as a young Christian. The inner feeling of being just where God wants me to be, combined with the experience of doing something that is of interest to myself and at the same time benefitting others, is the most fantastic joy that I know.
No matter what your occupation, God is able to use you as a witness for Him. “Get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you [Paul] to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you” (Acts 26:16, NIV). “As the Puritans said, whether cleaning house or preaching sermons, shoeing horses or translating the Bible for the Indians, any human activity may constitute an offering to God.”1
Protestant churches over the years seem to have forgotten this. They have placed greater value on the professional witness rather than the lay witness. God, however, does not evaluate witnessing in terms of professional/lay involvement. God is more than willing to cooperate with any Christian.
According to Russell Burrill: “Adventism was born as a dynamic, mission-centered movement. Passion for sharing the message reigned in the minds and hearts of the early pioneers. They labored until bone weary; they sacrificed health and possessions in attempting to reach the world with the saving news of Jesus Christ and the third angel’s message. Mission drove them! Mission motivated them! Mission was the flame that burned within them!”2
1. Philip Yancey, Grace Notes: Daily Readings with a Fellow Pilgrim (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2009), p. 208.
2. Russell Burrill, Revolution in the Church (Fallbrook, Calif.: Hart Research Center), p. 11.