Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Father's Business

The age old question still persists, "What exactly is my Father's business?"   We are continually bombarded with overwhelming need and voices calling us to that need.  With my people pleasing bent, I want to throw out a hearty yes to every last one of them.  Yet if I comply I do not quiet the voices, but instead find they shout even louder, making demands until I am bound by chains of slavery.

Jesus did not heal every sick person, nor take every opportunity to perform a miracle. He did not fix every social injustice or make right every horrendous evil prevalent of his times.   Even at 12 years old He had figured out that He must be about His Father's business.  Yet it was not what we might expect.  His Father's business was to be teachable, to learn, to grow, to obey, to wait in the background until the time was right.  And then, when the fullness of time did at last come, he spent only three years in the public eye.  It was not for the purpose of meeting every physical need or to right every wrong, but to die for the sins of the world, conquering the power of death . . . our real need.

As His ambassadors, His representatives, I wonder if we have lost sight of His business.  Instead of attending to people's spiritual need we have decided the physical need is the gospel and stopped at that.  How is the church any different than our world if we only feed the hungry or fight for issues but do not offer spiritual nourishment?  God has not commissioned us to fight issues or to relieve all poverty.  In fact He tells us we will always have them. (Matt. 26:11) But we are commanded to go and make disciples of all nations. (Matt. 28:19,20)

Only as people receive the life giving Spirit of God will there be true change in their morality.
And a nation is only as strong as its morals.

Band aids are good, but not to the neglect of curing the infection.  They will, in fact, ultimately fail if the infection inside is still festering.  If we spent the same amount of energy on sharing our faith as we do on fighting issues or doing good deeds, I wonder how that might change the climate of our culture?  I wonder what affect it would have on the crime that invades our country?  I wonder how that would prevent the silent erosion which filters into our churches?

True, we are to be bearers of good deeds, but in the bearing lets not forget that the primary mission is inward, changed hearts.  So many of our good works are done to fix the outward behavior or to make ourselves look good.   If we are only seeking a feel good sensation and not truly loving those we serve, then what is the good in that? 

Scripture tells us that we will know a person by their works. (James 2:14-16)  But to say that the overflow of my relationship with God in ministry (my works), must look the same as yours is ludicrous.  Part of God's creative character is variety.  He doesn't make us all the same nor expect us to minister in all the same areas.  Mary, the mother of Jesus, was never expected to be queen of Persia.  Deborah was never expected to birth many sons, each becoming a pillar of Israel.  Rachel was never expected to be a seller of purple, lead the multitudes in song, or house a prophet.  Each had their own calling, their own niche.

There is no need to place guilt on someone for not carrying out the other guy's particular passion. If we all ministered to the teenagers, who would care for the elderly?  If we all spent our time in foster parenting, who would teach Sunday School week after week?  Who would teach Good News Clubs in the schools and who would lead in our churches?  Who would write songs and who would be schooled enough to run our sound systems?  Who would build the chairs we sit on?  Come on people!  Let's not flaunt our works before others to be seen by them, to show that we are more righteous than the next guy, to show that our passion is more noble than someone else's. We ALL must be about our Father's business, of sharing our faith.  But our good deeds are expressed in a variety of ways. 

Furthermore, we can produce good works and never have the life of God within.  And ironically, even with the life within, we can still push God aside in order to do our good deeds.  I'm wondering if our focus on the beatitudes gospel is not a distraction from developing the inner, secret, quiet relationship with God, the true gospel of John 3:16, receiving His abundant life through the forgiveness of sins.  If our works are not flowing from a vibrant growing relationship with God, then our works are nothing.  God desires our devotion above our works.
Just sayin'. 

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