The National March for Life is tomorrow in Washington, DC., followed in two days by Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Both are timed to correspond with January 22, 1973, when the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision tragically discovered a right to abortion in the US Constitution.
Since that time, more than sixty-three million (PDF) babies have been lost to abortion.
Last June, the Court finally overturned Roe in the case of Thomas Dobbs, et. al. v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. States such as Texas enacted their own bans on abortion as a result.
Now we are learning the practical consequences of these legal decisions, at least in my home state: new data released by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission shows that three abortion procedures were performed in our state in August 2022, compared with 2,596 in June. This is a drop of more than 99 percent. The report also indicates that all three procedures were “medically necessary” abortions.
Between April and August of last year, the number of abortions nationwide declined by 6 percent. If this trend persists, there could be at least sixty thousand fewer abortions this year as a result of Dobbs.
As we can see, five decades of hard work by pro-life legal advocates and their allies is now saving thousands of lives.
Using the secular to serve the spiritual
In yesterday’s Daily Article I noted that “Christians must not depend on the government to do our work for us.” Whatever the courts and legal systems decide about biblical morality, we are still called to declare and defend biblical truth (1 Peter 3:15). The more people reject the truth, the more they need it.
Today, let’s consider the other side of this theme: Christians can—and should—use the government and other secular means to advance the cause of Christ.
Thousands of lives are being saved as a result of Dobbs that likely would not have been saved apart from this legal outcome. Advocates for religious freedom in the US Senate have prevented the draconian so-called “Equality Act” from becoming law, thwarting (so far) what has been called “the most invasive threat to religious liberty ever proposed in America.”
We see a similar theme unfolding across Scripture:
- Joseph becomes prime minister of Egypt and saves his family and thus the Jewish nation through whom one day the Messiah would come.
- King David establishes the Jewish capital in Jerusalem and gives the world the Psalms.
- King Solomon builds the first temple and gives us the wisdom of Proverbs.
- Daniel is promoted to become one of “three high officials” in Babylon (Daniel 6:2); his witness following God’s intervention in the lions’ den (v. 22) leads the king to proclaim to the nation that “the God of Daniel . . . is the living God” (v. 26).
- Esther uses her position as queen to prevent the genocide of the Jewish people in Persia.
- Nehemiah uses his position as the king’s “cupbearer” (a strategic position with access to the king; Nehemiah 1:11) to advocate for rebuilding Jerusalem.
- “Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager” serves as a powerful political figure in Galilee and one of Jesus’ financial supporters (Luke 8:3).
- Zacchaeus, the “chief tax collector” in Jericho, repents of his sin and becomes a public example of Jesus’ mission “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:1–10).
We could add a host of biblical figures who used their wealth and influence to advance God’s kingdom.
Are you a “paid Christian”?
Why are believers in positions of secular influence able to make an impact for the cause of Christ that professional ministers like me are not?
One reason is that the legal separation of church and state has been misinterpreted by our culture as the separation of faith and state. As a result, professional ministers are viewed as irrelevant to secular concerns. But when Christians in the marketplace live for Jesus, the relevance of their faith to the issues of the marketplace becomes clear.
A second factor is the horrific clergy abuse scandal that continues to undermine the credibility of professional ministers. So-called “lay” Christians are not painted with the same brush and have moral authority their pastors sometimes lack.
A third issue is that professional ministers are seen as “paid Christians.” When we advocate for biblical morality, we are only doing our job, or so skeptics say. But when Christians with secular influence stand for biblical truth, especially at a personal cost, they show an unbelieving world that their faith is real and biblical truth is transformative.
“My ministry is ________________”
So, if you are not an ordained member of the clergy, know that you are nonetheless ordained by God to a ministry that is just as vital as mine. You are part of the body of Christ, a “hand” or “foot” doing what no one else can do (1 Corinthians 12:12–27). Whether you are a legal professional advocating for life or a person engaged in other dimensions of secular influence, your work can make an eternal difference.
I encourage you to focus today on your specific calling. If you cannot complete the sentence, “My ministry is _______________,” pray and reflect until you can. Then live every day in alignment with your missional purpose, remembering that “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives” (Annie Dillard).
Wherever God has placed us, whatever our kingdom assignment, our life purpose is to know Christ and make him known.
Will you fulfill this calling more fully today than yesterday?