When the message of The Map Maker was coming into focus, several well-meaning workplace ministers counseled me to lead with something other than surrender, sacrifice, and submission. Had I been the pen, the book – and the ministry of inLight Consulting – might have followed their advice. To their credit, they were right in a way. The call to sacrifice has been a particularly difficult message for workplace leaders to hear.

But God would not have it. As The Map Maker, He insisted on the truth: Christian leadership requires counter-cultural sacrifice. At no other time is this more evident than in the midst of crisis and chaos. The COVID-19 pandemic is a case in point.

Perhaps a bit of context would be helpful. The Map Maker was written to help Christian leaders find joyful, Spirit-filled ministry in the workplace, by becoming disciple-making transformation agents. Of course, becoming a transformation agent first requires transformation. From The Map Maker perspective, transformation begins with surrender to the desires God has deposited into our hearts. It ends with the good work He created for us to supernaturally walk in, as we submit to the Holy Spirit.1

The preparatory journey from desire to good work requires sacrifice and includes chaos; the two go hand in hand. We know this from at least two perspectives. First, consider the Greek word translated as “transformed” in 2Corinthians 3:18 and Romans 12:2: Metamorphoo. Do you get the picture? How would you describe what’s going on inside that cocoon? Is it not the messy chaos of a caterpillar sacrificing some part of its previous life to become what God intended it to be?

God created the Greek language to help us understand the process He uses to make us into the instruments of His good work. Then He sent His Son to walk through the process with us.

Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him. Mark 1:17-18

The first of many requirements for becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ is to follow Him. Only in the following can we be made. We know from Philippians 2:5-8 that Jesus’ time here on Earth began, ended, and was filled with sacrifice. This is the path He has called us to follow – a path of crisis and chaos.

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. John 16:33

So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” John 20:21

Peace in the midst of tribulation is another Christian distinctive which is impossible to miss in these verses (and is perhaps a subject for another time). For now, however, let’s see if we can get to the point of this article: our counter-cultural sacrifice in the midst of a pandemic. There are actually two points to make – both relate to opportunity.

First, there is the opportunity of need. The crisis that has found its way into our lives has created, and will continue to create, opportunities for us to exercise the sacrificial love of God (note: there is no love of God that is not sacrificial). The cost of opportunity is not the investment we must make, but the loss of missed opportunity. This is counter to worldly thinking and is therefore a Christian distinctive.

Secondly, there is the opportunity for preparation. There is simply no way around it: transformation requires sacrifice. The path that leads to eternal life is difficult (Matthew 7:14). We must strive to enter in (Luke 13:24). Only those who will lose their life for Jesus’ sake will find it (Matthew 16:25). God uses crisis and chaos to identify and shake free those things which do not belong (e.g., greed, fear, pride); and to increase those things which make us more glorify instruments of His grace (e.g., faith, peace, humility). The world cannot understand this work of God in our pursuit of self-sacrifice; it is counter to their culture. It is a Christian distinctive.

There is so much more that could be said here, but it seems we have made the point. Please, please, please, do not miss this providential opportunity to develop and express the Christian distinctive of sacrifice in chaos. You were created for it!

God bless you with courage and grace for such a time as this.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

1 The key Biblical references include Psalm 37:4-6, 2Corinthians 3:18, Romans 12:2, Ephesians 2:10, and Matthew 5:16. Reckoning the truth of these is a highly profitable exercise.