“So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ, exactly as I set it out for you. It’s as sound as the day you first heard it from me. Guard this precious thing placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit who works in us.”
(1 Timothy 1:13-14).
You might mistakenly read these verses and assume, as I did, that Paul is speaking about your calling or ministry. I read the word “work,” and I automatically think about the work I am called to do, which is primarily writing.
But look again. Paul defines our work as “faith and love rooted in Christ.” Faith and love are the work God has for us first and foremost – not our job that pays the bills, not even our vocation or calling or ministry, but simply our faith and love, rooted in Christ.
I lose sight of this all. the. time. I forget that my primary vocation isn’t doing, but being. My primary vocation isn’t the work I do, it’s who I am as a beloved child of God. Whatever I do must be born out of my rootedness in Christ.
It’s no coincidence that faith and love aren’t anything we have to do; they aren’t “work” in the traditional definition of the word. We don’t earn faith and love. We don’t achieve faith and love through our own efforts. Rather, faith and love are a gift.
As Paul says, this primary “work,” this faith and love that’s rooted in Christ and placed in us by the Holy Spirit, is precious. It’s precious because we so easily lose sight of it. We turn it around. We get it backwards. More often than not, we look to our work to root us – to ground, define, and identify us.
But here’s the truth, here’s what Paul reminds Timothy, and us, in this letter:
Our calling isn’t our work, but rather, the fruit of our relationship with God. The fruit is born of the root.