• Timothy Richards

Full-time Christianity

Job descriptions can be such a deception!

When we moved from Melbourne to Nhulunbuy in 2014 it was sudden, but also happened amongst a great sense of purpose and calling. God had been dropping hints (some very blatant) for 3 years that we would be getting much more familiar with the first people of this country, but it still came as a surprise.

Fast forward three years and we are serving the people in Nhulunbuy (of varied cultures) through our jobs, through community groups, at church and bible studies. But there are a couple of hurdles that I found working here as 'self-supported missionaries' (i.e. a Christian).

When we spend a significant portion of our days with people from our work-place interacting about work, our colleagues tend to have a rather work-centric view of us. This can have a dramatic impact on how we see ourselves.

Charles Horton Cooley was an American sociologist who developed a concept called the 'looking-glass self''. The theory essentially says that the way people perceive us has a dramatic impact on how we see ourselves. This becomes increasingly true of people who we see as important in our lives (Campolo, 2008).

I have found this theory to be a great revelation as I approached faith. There is only one way to ensure that I don't see myself as a 'good/bad/enthusiastic/communicative/lazy/diligent/<insert adjective here> colleague/teacher/friend/rival/christian/<insert noun here>'. I must ensure that I spend a lot of time talking to God and listening to Him about who I am:

1 Peter 2:9

9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

1 John 3:1-2

1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Colossians 3:1-3

1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

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