Often times our understanding of the term “professionalism” relates to someone being paid for their work (i.e. a professional athlete is paid, while an amateur is not) –when really the emphasis should be placed on whether someone performs like a professional whenever they do what they do. In other words, beyond getting paid for your specific talents and abilities, professionalism has more to do with your ability to consistently deliver said talents and abilities.
When I was a youth pastor I used to jokingly tell people that I was paid to be a Christian. Later on, I realized that there was some truth to that statement. (Case in point, if I stopped acting in a Christian manner I probably would have lost my job.) Have you ever thought of yourself as a professional Christian?
Now before you cringe at that question or cry out “heresy,” just for a moment consider this through the lens of the above understanding of professionalism: consistent delivery.
“When Jesus saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” (Luke 17:14-18)
At first glance this passage could be seen as a healthy reminder for us as believers to be a thankful bunch of folks, but if viewed another way it could be a window into what Jesus’ take on Christian professionalism would be like. What if Jesus’ question was getting at a lack of a professional response to his work in our lives? What if gratefulness isn’t just a reactionary thing, but something we are expected to consistently deliver time and time again?
Blessings on your journey of professionalism.