Texas Baptist Voices

Richard Ray: Workforce skills apply to ministry

I will never forget Labor Day, because I was born on Labor Day in 1965. As I look back over my soon-to-be 49 years of life, I realize I never have been unemployed for more than a week.

richard ray130Richard RayI always have enjoyed working and doing the best of my ability as God has granted it to me. I have had jobs where I woke up early to throw the newspaper and have stayed up late serving others at McDonald’s. I have sold tools at Sears and have served my country in the U.S. Air Force.

I have mowed yards, driven a truck, worked as a janitor, welded, worked on an assembly line, plumbed and done construction. I performed some of these jobs before serving in the ministry, but I performed many of these jobs while serving in the ministry.

I worked each job with a passion for doing it well and for representing my Lord well. In God’s word, Jesus called those who were employed and working hard at their craft. I

was reading an article by Pastor Rick Willis of First Baptist Church in Lampasas on the topic of Labor Day, and I would like to share with you an excerpt:

“As Labor Day approaches, spend a little while reflecting on these points: Of Jesus’ 132 public appearances, 122 were in the marketplace; of the 52 parables Jesus told, 45 had a workplace context; of 40 divine interventions recorded in Acts, 39 were in the marketplace. Jesus spent his adult life as a carpenter until age 30, when he went into his preaching and teaching ministry, mostly in the workplace.

"Jesus called 12 workforce individuals, not clergy, to build his church. Work and worship are closely related. The Hebrew word for ‘worship’ comes from the same root word as ‘work.’ Work in its different forms is mentioned more than 800 times in the Bible, more than all the words used to express worship, music, praise and singing combined. Fifty-four percent of Jesus’ reported teaching ministry arose out of issues posed by others in the scope of daily life. Judging by the New Testament, Jesus expects to be a significant presence in our dealings with customers, clients, students, products and projects. And Jesus is ready to lead and help with the problems and issues that occupy us all seven days a week.”

Willis has shown us the importance of those who serve in the workforce. Those who are laborers in the workforce as well as those who labor for the Lord in ministry are following in the footprints of those whom Jesus called when he was on this earth to deliver his message of hope and salvation. Jesus is still calling workforce individuals to build his church.

texas baptist voices right120Many of you are serving in the workforce while also serving God’s church. Be encouraged that you are much like the first 12 individuals who turned the world upside down for Christ. You, too, can and will make a difference for the kingdom of God as you serve both in the workforce and God’s church.

For those who are serving in the workforce, Jesus may be calling you into the ministry. Do not ignore the calling, but rather accept it. You will discover the tools God blessed you with to be successful in the workforce will be the same tools that will allow you to be successful in ministry.

I have used every skill I have learned in the workforce in service to my Lord. As you celebrate Labor Day Sept. 1, remember God has called each of you to work for his kingdom with the skills he has blessed you with in the place where he has placed you.

Remember, God has called you to serve, but God has not called you to serve alone. Let us be your advocate, your resource and your prayer partner as you fulfill your calling. Until next time, please visit our website,

Richard Ray is executive director of the Bivocational/Small Church Association and director of missions for the Tri-Rivers Baptist Area. You can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Care to comment? Send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , our editor. Maximum length for publication is 250 words.

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