Reading time: two minutes. I’ve got a little book I keep handy, given to me decades ago, called “Children’s Letters to God.” It’s always good for a smile when I need a pick-me-up or a break from what I’m working on. I’m reviewing some of my favorite wellness phrases this month, some little nuggets of wisdom that contain a kernel of truth. I found one of them in a letter that Donny wrote to God. I think Donny has a legitimate question, one every church worker needs to ponder regularly. Donny asks God, “Dear God, Is reverend Coe a friend of yours, or do you just know him through business?” Hmmm. Good question, Donny. Sometimes pastors and other professional church workers confuse their vocational life with their spiritual. Here’s a couple of thoughts. When we teach the Lutheran Wellness Wheel, we talk about the foundational relationship we have with God in Baptism, and how the Vocational calling always flows from that first calling. In order to keep clear that first, we know Jesus by grace and second, we know him through business, it’s important for church workers to regularly, (daily, according to Luther) remember and reflect upon our first identity in Christ as his baptized and redeemed friends. Maybe an apt analogy would be that my baptismal certificate is like my passport. It’s absolute, certified, guaranteed proof of my identity. It tells where I’m from, who I am and even where I’m going. Jesus has stamped it “Friend.” That can’t be changed, denied or disputed by anyone on earth or in hell. It’s sealed and certain. Maybe it would be good for us to check our ID a bit more often. This journey through life, the walk of faith, is also a journey of continual discovery of what it means to be a child of God. Our professional responsibility is to share the good news of the gospel by teaching and proclaiming the Word of God. Our Baptismal/Spiritual responsibility is to be lifelong learners, discovering what it means to be called “Friend” by Jesus. Regular, reflective, meditative time in the word of God keeps the friendship alive and fresh. Waking each day with a curiosity about what my friend Jesus has to say to me is how the Spirit strengthens my faith. Donny was right. It’s good to know Jesus through business. There’s no greater business on earth. Donny and his family benefit eternally from your service in the Lord’s kingdom. But it’s also good when Donny can say, “My pastor is good friends with Jesus.” God bless your journey. Thanks for reading. Do you serve on a professional church worker conference planning committee? Our staff has vast experience leading groups of all sizes from every church work background through innovative wellness programs custom designed to meet your needs. Contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman today to begin exploring the possibilities or visit our website to see some of our ideas for your conference!