The Five-fold Offices get a lot of attention these days, but there are many other spiritual and social offices available to us outside the construct of the local church.
Many times a person is in the role represented by an office, but they are not “in” the spiritual office itself.
Take the simple office of a husband. A ring and a ceremony do not make a man a husband. He can be in the role, without being in the office.
This is quite common when the marriage was not based on the right objectives. From time to time we will find a male who is not in the office of manhood marrying a woman because he wants a mommy to pick up after him and feed him, etc.
She on the other hand, has deep maternal drives and is marrying a little boy who she can mother, instead of being a wife to him.
So it is a simple codependent marriage as neither is in the office of husband or wife, although they have the rings and the roles.
Let’s imagine that the man gradually grows up, finds joy in being a responsible provider, protector and leader to the woman he married. This happens over time. He moves into manhood gradually, without pomp and ceremony, and likewise moves into the role of husband with a thousand little steps.
In some cases, a man never actually comes to terms with the office of husband. Other times, there is a dramatic or traumatic event that brings that out of him. Often it could be the birth of his first child that causes him to subconsciously transition into that office.
But what about a conscious transition? What would it look like?
I see three components needing to be in place. First is the will of God. He has designed us for a specific task (Ephesians 2:10) which is time sensitive on the stage of world affairs. So when we reach for something that IS our design, but is not in the time of God, it does not put us into an office no matter how vigorously we reach for it.
Think of Abraham trying to be a father 13 years too early. Moses trying to be an emancipator 40 years too early. Jesus trying to be a rabbi 18 years too early. Nothing came of their attempts.
A huge number of people confuse design and calling with office. The fact that God made Jesus to be a rabbi is design. The fact that He knew at 12 that He was called to the office and He could do some of the skills of the office right, did not mean it was God’s time for Him to be in the office.
The second component is the individual’s willingness to be in the office. It is amazing the number of mental barriers that the devil can place in our heads to cause us to avoid actually being in one office or another.
Take Saul. He was clearly designed for the office of King and placed in the office by the will of God and of the people. And he just as clearly was not willing to step into the office. He was a farmer, thank you very much, so he went back to the office that he was comfortable in.
Once God has determined that the time is right for you to step into an office and you become willing, the third step obviously is for you to embrace the office. For Saul, the Servant, it happened when Nahash the Ammonite assaulted Jabesh Gilead, and the terms of surrender were that Nahash would gouge out the right eye of each person in the city, so as to shame Israel.
Well, something snapped in Saul. His Servant software for protecting people from shame popped open on the monitor in front of everything else and screamed, “Not on MYYYYYYYYYY watch! Those are MYYYYYYYYYYYYYY people.”
And suddenly he was barking orders and threats to the whole nation as he launched such a savage attack on old Nahash that no two Ammonite soldiers were left together. It was the most extreme rout ever recorded in Scripture.
And guess what! The next day, Saul was not plowing dirt! He had stepped into the office of king, and there was no going back.
Now notice that the approval of other people doesn’t factor in. When it was God’s time for Jesus to become a rabbi, it mattered not a whit whether anyone signed off on it. Stepping into an office is a personal transaction witnessed by God more than any other.
BUT, on the flip side, you have the fact that people generally know when you are in a role without the office, and they really know when you are claiming an office God has not qualified you for.
Back to Saul. When he was crowned king by Samuel, with the blessing of God, but didn’t step into the office, a bunch of people spurned him. They knew he was a phony. After he stepped into his office, people wanted to kill those who spurned him, but he stopped them, because he kind of sort of knew that it was mostly his own fault they spurned him.
So what does it look like on Monday morning for you?
First of all, consider design and figure out who you are called to be. I had an amusing chat with a friend today about a farmer they know. He is obviously in business, but he is a farmer, not a businessman. But the smile is that his father, who worked the same farm, was clearly a businessman, not a farmer.
It was unmistakable which man was in which office even though they would never use those terms themselves, but everyone around them knew!
Don’t confuse your job or your social role with your calling. Look at your design. Find language for it. Are you a healer or a builder? A mother or a father? A prophet or a priest? A strategist or an implementer? A researcher or a compiler?
There are hundreds of language pictures to be pulled out and used. Don’t be limited to familiar social titles. And be crystal clear that you may do a lot of things that you are not. Many people are successfully in business for years, without actually BEING a businessman. That is what they did, not who they were.
Many people teach and have the job of teaching and the title of teacher, but that is not the same as being designed by God for the office of teacher and being fit for that office.
Then, once you know what you are supposed to be when you grow up, see if you can identify where you are on the time line of God. You have to unpack a significant amount of the resources God designed you with before you are allowed to step into the office.
Too many people get a prophetic word about their life, and they interpret it as being installed in an office, when it was really just an announcement that they needed to report for boot camp.
You should be able to identify several offices that are “in process” in your life, but you are not there yet! Double down on preparation for that office, instead of claiming what is not yours yet.
BUT, when you can clearly see that God has been systematically preparing you for decades for a particular office that He first designed you for, and when He has agreed with you that it is time and you are ready, then have a ceremony.
Spend time alone with the King, review the process, give Him credit for growing you up, look forward to the responsibilities of your office, then commit yourself to fulfilling those responsibilities when you step into the office.
Whether anyone else knows with their soul or not, their spirit will be able to tell the difference in you, if you are rightly in your office.
Copyright February 2015 by Arthur Burk
From the Hub, just before heading to the airport