Do the work that is in front of you

Monday Musings for April 25, 2022

Good morning, Musers,

How do you know you are doing the Lord’s work? By doing the work that’s in front of you, that’s how. God knows who you are, where you are and when you are. Why, then, should what he wants you to do be such a mystery to so many people? Most of it is right in front of you!

If God wanted you to spread the gospel as an indigenous Pakistani, you would have been born in Pakistan, not Poughkeepsie. And do you know why? Because whether you are from Milwaukee or Malawi the job is just the same: do the work that’s in front of you... because the Lord who made the universe is staring at that same pile of work — and he plunked you there!

That’s one of the amazing things about God. Although he created and sustains both the physical and metaphysical realms — and he could certainly affect any changes he wanted to make with a simple decree— he doesn’t. Instead, he built us to engage with life and to advance his kingdom both physically and spiritually. God’s people build hospitals; God’s people build bridges; God’s people share the good news with others. By God’s grace, we affect both realms.

Remember Jesus’ brothers James... the guy who wrote the Book of James? He was not converted in Jesus’ lifetime. He was not an apostle or a disciple when Christ was alive. After Jesus died and was resurrected, then he “got it”... and then he really got it! He became a leader in the first-century church. And what was one big lesson from his book? If you claim to be a Christian, take the trouble to look like one.

James goes on to describe how to look like a Christian in practicable terms: treat everyone in your assembly with equal respect regardless of their status in the world. If you see a destitute person, help him. Think before you speak... things like that. And do you know what all these behaviors have in common? They can only be practiced “where and when” you are.

Now, some of you have a burden for a people group who is not right in front of you... a people who may be on the other side of the globe. If this is true, God either put that desire in you directly or he created you sensitive enough to come by it naturally. In either case, the work in front of you might require college, seminary, language training... training for the future.

But you are never off the hook for how to serve in the present... no matter how consumptive your preparations for the future are. You must still serve locally today. Now, I’m sure that your brothers and sisters will understand that your time and resources are limited, but they might misunderstand your absence. Your mere presence at Sunday service or a special event is “good works.”

You don’t have to preach or organize events if you are already loaded with legitimate work preparing for your future ministry, but you can’t say, “Oh... I’m so busy” ... and unplug from the local assembly. You must serve the Lord continually until he comes... or until you go. So, stay in the game and play in the game. Do the work that’s in front of you.

 

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