David, the Shepherd-King, wrote that there was no place in creation where God was not present:
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. (Psalm 139:7-10 ESV)
We might well answer the question “where is Jesus not Lord and King?” the same way. There is nowhere that Jesus is not Lord. Stated positively, Jesus is Lord everywhere over everyone, every endeavor, every institution, every realm of life.
The unfortunate thing in modern Christendom, however, is while we say these words and profess agreement we actually think and therefore live much differently. We live in an artificial construct, a broken worldview that overtly and covertly divides life into compartments. Some compartments are holy and sacred (such as church work or missions); some compartments are secular and profane (such as business).
The consequences of this false dichotomy are incredibly serious. People not in “ministry” feel uncalled or at best less called than those. They are demotivated and disaffected. They feel guilt over not being devoted enough to have received a higher calling. They end up relegated to supporting actors and actresses or, worse, walking checkbooks whose only real value is in their ability to fund sacred work. On the “ministerial” side of this divide there are also terrible repercussions. Pastors feel separated and isolated from their congregation. They feel they must do all the work or perhaps that only they are qualified to do the work. Burnout. Depression. Hubris. These are the fruits of such a warped view.
Worst of all, the cause of Christ suffers because so many potential players believe the field is only for the professionals. As one of my old mentors said, “The work of God in the world is like football. On the field there are 22 men in desperate need of rest and in the stands there are 80,000 people in desperate need of exercise.”
Can you imagine the advances the Kingdom would make if all of Christ’s followers were to realize that He is Lord over all and therefore all realms are His and Holy, that there is no divide, no dichotomy? What if every Christian realized that he or she was called to whatever they are doing and that it was a high and holy calling equal to every other? How differently would we all live our lives! What joy! What abandon! What impact! An army of saints, holy and called, united in the quest to see Jesus known and adored!
Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) was an amazing example of this called and integrated view of life. He was a theologian, an academic, a member of Parliament and ultimately Prime Minister of the Netherlands. His words, spoken at the 1880 Inaugural Address of the Free University of Amsterdam are clear and powerful:
“Oh, no single piece of our mental world is to be hermetically sealed off from the rest, and there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!'”