Rick Creasy | Cleveland, Tennessee
Every thing and every human on our planet is swimming in a sea of God. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin referred to this “world swimming in a sea of God” as the Divine Milieu. The milieu is the complete environment in which we live and interact. It’s the atmosphere and is as ubiquitous as the air we breathe. According to Chardin’s observations, not a single action or thought of mankind can exist outside of this divine milieu. Paul verifies this thought in Acts 17:28, “In him we live, and move, and have our being.”
As we live and breathe in this divine milieu, we interact with people. We encounter family, friends, co-workers, teachers, students, waiters, clerks, and more. Consider every single person you might pass by, meet, or talk with each and every day. These are individuals that God places in your life, if only for a brief time, and not by accident. These people are not sitting in a church building, made with bricks and mortar, listening to a minister expound from the pulpit. Yet, these individuals are often the most distressed, hurting, heartbroken, and lost humans we might ever meet. You and I do not need a pulpit to minister to the individuals God places in our lives for brief, but potentially impacting, moments.
There is a great need in our world to get connected with people. Individuals in today’s world suffer many things. I believe that the major source of conflict, mental illness, broken relationships, and feelings of hatred and anger is an overwhelming sense of emptiness and disconnection. We’re disconnected from each other, and sometimes even disconnected from God. As one pastor put it, we sprinkle a little Jesus on us and dabble with him on Sunday morning, but that’s not real connection, is it?
Sadly, when we think of “being called” or being “sent” to fulfill the Great Commission of “Go…into all the world…” many people do not consider the profound duty we have to share the Gospel and demonstrate God’s love to one another in very concrete, practical ways. The book, Living Sent, by Jason Dukes and Michael Glenn Sr., states, “The Great Commission instead of saying “GO” is better translated “As you go…As you go through your day, find those moments grace opens opportunity and be ready to offer a defense of what you believe about Jesus. Love your neighbors in practice. Do acts of kindness, service, listen to the confused and hurting, be a friend to the lonely, find out how you can be a friend.”
Unfortunately, in our Western culture, church often centers around Sunday mornings, where we congregate to be entertained by musically talented, gifted worship leaders and charismatic pulpit personalities. Modern Western culture often narrowly defines what the call of God is. God’s call on a person’s life to minister and share the Gospel is much wider than just a pastorate, or a pulpit contained by four walls of brick and mortar. Obviously, we need God-called pastors and ministers, but we shouldn’t stop there. We need to take another look at the Great Commission and realize the early church was not built on, nor dependent upon, pulpit ministries. In fact, Jesus at one time sent disciples out by twos to spread the Good News.
Let’s broaden this definition of calling to include every vocational path possible. I can fulfill my calling to minister while working in an office, operating a production line, teaching at the community college, driving a truck, building a house, caring for patients, counseling the mentally ill, even as a greeter on Sunday mornings. This grass roots ministry is not “less than.” In fact, the argument could be made that it’s the most important of ministries because it reaches the broadest territory; “Go out into the highways and hedges” (Luke 14:23).
A Christian’s spirituality is not just based on values or beliefs. What matters is that we live out these values and beliefs as we go about our daily routines. After all, “In Him we live and move…” We must begin to fully see ourselves as part of this “Christ Body” and understand what our role is as we “swim about” each day in this divine milieu. Recognizing and embracing this will help us take on a new identity in Christ, an identity that calls us to minister wherever we are and to whomever God places in our everyday path.
Think of the possibilities to exponentially reach more people with the Good News of Christ if every Christian fully embraced that we live in the divine milieu. This space we occupy is a place where God is in everything—and through everything, even the most simple, everyday encounters.