Talk the Talk
To "talk the talk" is not the same as "to walk the walk." How so? Well, Jesus said very little about the church. But he said a lot about the Kingdom of God. Is that because the church was mostly a future institution when he lived? Or are the two really different?
Theologians have helped us see the Kingdom of God as the concern of God for the whole human life. The "rule" of God and the "realm" over which he rules include not just worship, but also the arts, the sciences, politics, business, family life, sports, education, entertainment and you may add to the list yourself.
Speaking to students at a college Spiritual Emphasis Week a few years ago, I held up the college catalog and asked the students to think of the academic departments in it—from archaeology, anthropology and astronomy to zoology — as rooms in God's house. All these rooms may be lived in and worked in as a service to God. A young person may truly feel "called by God" to be a police officer, a second baseman, a clothing designer or an actress. I wish someone had told :me that when I was young.
What about the church? The community of faith that listens to God in Scripture, history and conscience and that celebrates the saving acts of God in the past provides a home for the beliefs, values, ethics and inspiration of the Kingdom of God. Christians who have "seen God" in the face of Jesus of Nazareth, are the church, and Jesus' life and resurrection, Great Commission and the gift of the Spirit define them.
But now the tough question: I may be a Christian who is also a business person or a physician or a teacher. But the word "also" is not enough. Is my life in business, my practice of medicine, my work in education informed by my faith as a Christian? Are my faith and my work connected?
A friend of mine became general manager of a manufacturing plant which had known stressful labor relations. His predecessor had not dared to go out into the plant. But after four years as manager when my friend was moved to corporate headquarters, the workers on all three shifts held a goodbye party for him and thanked him for his fairness, honesty and his caring attitude. His worship on Sunday got translated into management on weekdays. In other words, he "walked the walk."
A state Supreme Court chief justice made judicial reform in his state an expression of his "calling" by God.
A race track owner cleaned up harness racing in his state because he thought that was his little comer of God's kingdom.
As I have looked out on Sunday morning at these individuals and others like them, I confess to a feeling of delight and pride at the many ways men and women who "talk the talk" in church on Sunday go on to "walk the walk" in humble ordinary as well as public and critical divine callings in God's great kingdom.