What comes to mind when you think of mission work? If I am not mistaken, you probably envision someone who has given their life to evangelism in a foreign country. In our own congregation, we support missionaries in both the Dominican Republic and Zimbabwe, Africa. These are very important works and it is a great thing to share in the fruit of souls saved in a foreign land. We should thank God for these kinds of opportunities and do all we can to inform ourselves about what takes place in those foreign places. But as important as that kind of mission work is, I think it is equally important to understand that the work YOU do, if it is honest and good work, is also a part of God’s mission in our world.
We don’t usually think in that way, do we? It has been my experience that the average person who is a Christian, and works in a so called “secular job,” often carries around a measure of guilt that maybe their life is given to a lesser cause than someone who “works for the Lord” in a professional way. They may feel more justified in their life’s work if somehow they are able to share their faith with others in their workplace, but their view of mission is still limited to various forms of evangelism. I think we make a mistake in seeing mission only in that limited sense.
If you recall, God’s original mission for human beings, as expressed to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:26-30, was to subdue the earth and flourish in it. Due to the sin of our ancient ancestors, we never got to see that work out in the ways that God fully intended; but despite the fact man has often thwarted God’s original purposes because of his sinfulness, that has not, in any way, stopped God’s desire for our original mission to be carried out. God has a desire to see his children flourish, and in order for that to happen humans must work together in varying degrees to see that accomplished. Sure, evangelism has become a part of that mission in a fallen world, as people need to be called back to God, but it is only one out of many things that need to be accomplished for humankind to flourish as it was intended. We also need engineers, construction workers, teachers, repair men, government officials, parole officers, postmen, farmers, businessmen, bankers, doctors, nurses, secretaries, lawyers, salesmen, real-estate agents, stay-at-home moms, and any number of other professions that we don’t have space to list here. All valid work is a part of God’s mission to provide for the world’s needs and we should see ourselves and the work that we do as an essential part of God’s purpose. The key to this is what Paul says in Colossians 3:17: “Whatever you do, whether in or word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Paul does not distinguish between lower and higher work, he simply states that WHATEVER it is you do, do it as if you are doing it for Jesus, because in truth, you are!
So if you have ever been tempted to think that the work you do is not important because it is not “mission work” in the sense that we usually speak of it, I hope you take encouragement this month from these words. Evangelism is a very important part of God’s mission, and we should all do it where we can, but the work you do is also an important part of God’s purposes for mankind. The world would not function without it. God is pleased with good work that is offered in thanks to him. May we all keep this in mind as we go about the daily tasks of whatever it is that is “our work.”
(Don’t forget to join me for A Message from the Heart radio program Sunday evening at 8:00pm on KJAK 92.7FM, or streaming live at www.kjak.com) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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