In January we were in Panama City, FL and I heard somebody use the words "professional Christian". It seemed to me that the context was not good - but when I thought about the way they sound, my feeling about the use was not too good. I guess that my first reaction would be that a "professional Christian" would be somebody that Does Christianity as a career - sort of an 8 to 5 thing. Or maybe a professional is somebody that is just in it for the money (not sure how this might apply to missionaries....haha). I really couldn't put my finger on the exacts of why I didn't like the sound of "professional Christian" but, I didn't then and I don't now. Well, I was ok with not liking the words but then it hit me that I am a missionary and work full time in a ministry - I could be one of the people that the bad sounding words were referring to. Hummmm...
On reflection, I have not changed my mind about the sound of the words "professional Christian". I do believe that paid or not, our claim of being a Christian is not a matter of "doing" but instead it is a matter of who we are. When I was in the secular work world, I never wanted to be defined by my job or my profession - I liked my work but, it was not the "who"of who I am. On the other hand, I do want to be defined by my relationship with Jesus - but, a personal claim of being a Christian is hollow if the way I live is not visible to the world we live in. Claiming to be a believer and living a life where nobody knows that Jesus is in there is nothing different than making a claim that you are a scholar and without knowing how to read.