Dietrich Bonheoffer once blamed the shallow Christianity he saw in the world on the philosophy of monks. He accused these monastic orders of inadvertently creating a mindset that living a holy life of commitment to God was a special calling for a select few. Most people would look at the commitment to Christ lived by the average monk and say, “Wow! Wat a special calling,”or “I wish I were that spiritual”. Then they would go on to live mediocre lives.
Whoever is to blame for this mindset in the world is not important. What is important however is that this mindset still exists today. We have categorized different types of Christian people into castes that have become inflexible. We say things like he or she is an intercessor, evangelist, teacher, pastor, prophet etc… However we must not confuse gifts with mandates. We all have different gifts that require various degrees of commitment, but we are all called to have an intimate relationship with God regardless of personality type or penchant. I have heard people say, “Wel,l I’m not the praying type but a person who likes to be on the streets getting it done.” They are confusing an evangelistic gift with Jesus’ mandate to follow Him. This could partly explain why prayer meetings tend to be small and attended mostly by intercessors.
The Bible is clear that a life of holiness and commitment is for everyone. In fact it is a requirement in order to see God.
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Holiness by which no man will see God.
Heb 12:14 ESV
Does this imply that every believer is to live the life of a monk? Absolutely not. Most of us are not called like the Desert Fathers to live stringent lives holed up in caves, but we are called to be fully committed to God in the world we live in.
I pray that we would all have an urgency to follow God with all our heats. May we see purity and passion for God not as a calling reserved for the elite but for us all. Following Jesus is not a gift but a mandate.