We’ve all got a Job to do

by Lester Young

My book Kingdom Keys: A ‘How-to’ Guide for Flourishing in the Kingdom of God, is available on Amazon. As a special year-end gift, here’s an excerpt from the chapter “The Kingdom is Our Caretaker, Employer and Paymaster”. Enjoy, and have a very happy and blessed New Year:

Now how does the Kingdom of God assign us our work? Well, first of all, when Jesus called His disciples, He basically gave them only one prerequisite, which was to leave everything behind and follow Him. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Peter, Andrew, James and John were all fishermen. They left their families and their family businesses to follow a Preacher. Matthew was a tax collector, and though probably not particularly popular with the masses (few, if any, tax collectors were, due to some rather heavy-handed tactics), he’d made a lot of money and was living pretty large at the time. Yet when the Master called him, he turned his back on his former life and practices.

If you’ll recall, “Leave all and follow Me” was not really some new idea God just decided to institute when Jesus got here. Psalm 45:10 prophesies of such faithful dedication with the exhortation, “Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear; forget also your own people, and your father’s house.” And going back even further, do you remember the instruction that was given to Abram? God called him by saying, “Get out of your country, and away from your kindred and your father’s house, and go to a land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). Amazing! God wouldn’t even tell the man where He was leading him until after he hit the road in obedience (Hebrews 11:8). And neither did Jesus’ disciples know exactly where they’d end up when they started out after Him.

But that’s the whole point. God blesses, and can only bless, responses of faith (Hebrews 11:6). Those individuals placed their faith in Him for their entire well-being, which was exactly what God intended for them to do. Otherwise, He would never have required them to leave their livelihood and everything else behind. He became their Source for all things, including direction and sustenance. That’s just the way He wanted it, the way He initially planned it from the beginning. How else could God show people that He not only could but would meet the needs of humanity, except by finding some humans who would actually step out and trust Him to do so? (2 Chronicles 16:9)

But why, though, did God require Abram to leave his home? Well, Abram’s father, and his father’s father, worshiped idols. He was brought up worshiping idols. The entire country worshiped idols. Quite simply, he was in the wrong place. God had to get him out of that whole environment so Abram would put his attention – and thereby his trust – upon God.

Along those same lines, Jesus’ disciples, like everyone else around them, were trusting in their jobs and businesses, their money or their families to sustain them. But when they answered the Lord’s call, they switched their ‘allegiance,’ throwing their trust upon Him for absolutely everything that pertained to their life and well-being. That’s the kind of faith and trust that pleases God – the kind He can reward (Hebrews 11:6).

So let’s consider what happened to Abram after he obeyed. We all know the story: God changed his name to Abraham, he and his wife Sarah conceived Isaac in their old (old!) age, and the rest is history… literally. But take note: God took really good care of Abram and his family. Listen, it didn’t take any longer than one chapter before the man was rich (Genesis 13:2). Seriously, God blessed Abram because he showed God that he trusted Him for not only his but his entire household’s welfare. And keep in mind, God doesn’t do things in a small way (Exodus 34:10). He blessed Abram and his nephew Lot with so much gold, silver and livestock that the land couldn’t support them both together – and this was still just the beginning. By the time all was said and done, the man Abraham was so rich it just didn’t make any sense! (Genesis 24:35)

And Jesus’ disciples? Well, let’s see what they themselves had to say about it. Jesus sent them to preach the message of the Kingdom and heal the sick in the surrounding Jewish towns, and He told them to go with just the proverbial ‘shirts on their backs.’ He commanded them, “Don’t take along any gold, silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep” (Matthew 10:10, NIV). Then later, after they’d returned, He asked them a very simple question: “When I sent you [out to preach] without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack any thing?” And they answered, “Nothing” (Luke 22:35, NIV).

The point is that they were working for Jesus, and He knew that. He took full responsibility for their upkeep and well-being; and in case they’d somehow overlooked or forgotten the fact, He wanted to remind them of the same. As long as they were in obedience to Jesus’ directions, they had absolutely no reason whatsoever to worry about their own needs: He was responsible for seeing to them. And it’s the same way with us today, because He doesn’t change any more than His Father does (Hebrews 13:8).

You might say that those disciples were somehow special. After all, they were apostles: part of the five-fold “pulpit” ministry, along with prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11). But those gifts of ministry are only a very small part of the whole Body of Christ. Paul instructs us that all members of the body are important to its proper and efficient functioning. Those esteemed to be more feeble or somehow less beautiful are even given greater honor and protection than the other seemingly more ‘presentable’ parts, because they’re equally necessary to the body’s full development and success (1 Corinthians 12:22-23).

If you’ve made Jesus Christ your Savior, then you’re now a part of His Body here on this earth. Not only do you have full membership in it, you also have a definite and predetermined place there (1 Corinthians 12:18). For instance, if ninety-eight percent of His Body was prophets and pastors and the other two percent sheep, it probably wouldn’t function very well, would it? That’s what Paul was talking about by saying if the whole body were an eye, then there could be no sense of hearing or smell – or movement or speaking or waste disposal or anything else (1 Corinthians 12:17). Just a really big ‘ole eye sitting up on the hot pavement looking straight ahead, not even blinking – because that would be the job of an eyelid – probably trying to roll on over to the river in a mad search for some Visene. But I digress…

The body is made up of more than just one or two large parts. It’s made up of many, many members, each with a specialized job that’s been assigned to it by God (1 Corinthians 12:14, 18). Every person has his or her proper place in the Body of Christ, and when we’re in our proper place doing our proper task – that is, when we’re in His perfect will for our lives – it becomes His responsibility to take care of our needs and see to our total success and well-being. Each member of the Body is given gifts by the Holy Spirit to enable him or her to accomplish the mission God has established for their life (1 Corinthians 12:4-7; Ephesians 2:10).

So then, if you’ve consciously made Jesus your Lord as well as your Savior by committing to obedience, your job is to discover your place in His elaborate orchestra, the place God’s already ordained for you in His Body, and then do whatever it is He’s called you to do. Remember, ‘callings’ from God are not limited to the five-fold ministry; He needs people to “go into all the world” and bring forth the fruits of His Spirit in every avenue of life (Mark 16.15; John 15:16).

 

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