We like to be seen by a professional such as a doctor, accountant or lawyer. It is reassuring to know that they are experts in their field with letters after their names. They bring specialist knowledge and experience to advise us in our need. In fact, the more senior they are and the more letters of distinction, the better we feel. Amateurism is a word that conveys weakness and uncertainty, for can an amateur really be trusted? Here’s a variety of views, some of which are amusing, thought-provoking or deeply challenging. If you research the backgrounds of any here you don’t know, it certainly adds to the interest! Hegel finds something to share as he considers shoes!
- ‘We do not need to be shoemakers to know if our shoes fit, and just as little have we any need to be professionals to acquire knowledge of matters of universal interest’ - Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
- ‘You shouldn't vent and open up to your husband, your boyfriend, your friend, because they're not professionals; they don't know the right thing to say to you and putting them in that position is tricky. You have to look at it from their standpoint. It's so much pressure’ - Kendra Wilkinson
- ‘All my friends were going off to be professionals and I said I wanted to be an actor’ - Harrison Ford
- ‘Banish professionalism from our midst, Oh God, and in its place put passionate prayer, poverty of spirit, hunger for God, rigorous study of holy things, white-hot devotion to Jesus Christ, utter indifference to all material gain, and unremitting labour to rescue the perishing, perfect the saints and glorify our sovereign Lord’ - John Piper
The actual meaning of the word ‘professional’ is unsurprisingly ‘a person who engages in a profession’ but the distinction is that their chosen occupation is for paid employment. This broadens the concept considerably from the traditional view of someone with a stethoscope or judge’s wig, extending to actors, sportspersons, factory workers and even those engaged in the so-called ‘oldest profession’. Are you a professional? In 2002, John Piper wrote his book entitled, ‘Brothers, we are not professionals’ in which he was particularly challenging the motives of church leaders. ‘Professionalism’ can justly be used as a term when describing a job well done but it can imply an overly detached or self-important attitude. Are we not called to be ‘human’ before ‘professionals’? Does someone have to be a ‘professionally trained’ counsellor to give another person encouragement, helpful advice or wise counsel?
- ‘There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good’ - 1 Corinthians 12:4-7
- ‘And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God’ - Isaiah 61:6
- ‘He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God’ - Micah 6:8
- ‘Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus’ - Philippians 2:3-5
When you consider the value that various societies place on the roles carried out by fellow humans, do you think it is right that someone who is good at kicking a football should be paid so much more than someone who makes it? Be it the hitting of a tennis ball, a baseball, a golf ball or being able to run with the oddly-shaped rugby ball, are we really right in paying fellow humans millions in professional earnings for doing so? The more a person is paid and the higher a person is promoted, the further they have to fall from that pedestal. The unemployed, professors, refuse collectors, dentists and children are of equal value in the sight of God no matter what anyone else may think.
- ‘For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted’ - Luke 18:14
- ‘There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus’ - Galatians 3:28
- ‘See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!’ - 1 John 3: 1
- ‘Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you’ - John 13:14-15
As ever, it is the example of Jesus that we should follow. Although the mighty Son of God, he came as the Suffering Servant spoken of by Isaiah and was even willing to wash the dirty feet of his disciples. That takes us back to those shoes - our feet are to be well-fitted with the ‘gospel shoes of peace’ (Ephesians 6:15) for this makes them like the feet of Isaiah 52:7: ‘How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”’ Let’s be those who do things well, but remember that we are children of God before we are professionals. Next time you look for shoes, bring these things back to your mind and you will find comfort for your soul!
TAGS - motivation, reputation, pride, esteem