Guest post by Duane Guthrie, CBM Field Staff in the Philippines
Learning how to move around is one aspect of coming to a new place that I thoroughly enjoy. There is learning new names for transportation services, new routes to unfamiliar places, and the opportunity to learn about the culture and the people that occupy a particular place. Asking people on the street for directions, talking with bus drivers about where to dismount, or long conversations with taxi drivers while stuck in Manila traffic, have all served as ways to more deeply connect with other human beings.
During one such recent conversation I met a taxi driver named Gregorio. A shy and friendly family man, Gregorio made a fine representative for the hard-working people of this beautiful country. Working 24-hour shifts in a cab he doesn’t own and doing so three times a week, this married father of three lives two days from his family home and considers himself fortunate if he can see them once a year during his week long vacation.
It’s stories like Gregorio’s that have inspired me to press into Marketplace Ministry, to more deeply understand what God intends for this part of His creation, the part we call work. It is a significant part of life, occupying a large percentage of time, sometimes filled with accomplishment and reward, sometimes with frustration and injustice.
It has been noted that if a person spends their whole life gathering weekly with other Christians they will have spent over 8000 hours of their lives in church or connected to church related activities before their 80th birthday. That same person will have spent over 94,000 hours at work before their 65th, and 165,000 hours if they are working in positions like Gregorio.
I believe that every disciple of Jesus is called to wrestle through what it means to connect our faith and our work. At CBM we are doing just that. Alongside our partners we have begun the process of reaching out to the marketplace, to men and women in the world of work, to help them connect their 8000 hours with their 94,000, to explore together what integral mission looks like on Monday morning or Wednesday afternoon. It is our fervent prayer that God will open doors, that we will lead us toward discovering new ways to help the poor, new avenues for sharing the gospel, and new opportunities for the church to reach out to men and women like Gregorio and his family.