The ” real work”
In your mind imagine a large company with lots of departments. They have a department for sales, production, admin etc. There are managers and directors and even a CEO. Who does the ‘real work’ in that company? Is it the sales department, because they generate orders and make sure money comes in? Or is it the production department, because they make the actual product? Or is it the admin department because they send the bills and process the money coming in? Or is it the CEO because he has the vision and is leading the company?
In my opinion there’s no right answer to this question. Every worker is important and has an essential role. If the tasks are distributed well everyone contributes in an important way towards the company’s effectiveness and profitability. Everyone’s contribution is appreciated, as they work according to their gifts and talents to build up the company.
What is the ‘real work’ in the Kingdom of God? In missions the ‘real work’ is often seen as being done by the people who do frontline church planting. Preferably in the most difficult and remote area as possible. But is that true? Do you only do the ‘real work’ if you’re out on the frontline planting that church? Does a missionary do more than someone in Holland who is evangelizing his/her own people? Is a mom teaching Sunday school ‘less important’ in Gods Kingdom? Where does this thought come from? Why do we see missions and/or work in God’s Kingdom like that?
Jesus describes the ‘real work’ in Matthew 25 as: ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
The bible calls Christians ‘the body of Christ’, and similarly they work together to achieve a common goal just like workers of a company. Jesus is the head and that we are the ‘many parts’ in the body. The hand cannot tell the foot “I don’t need you!”. Every part of the body is vital to see the body function to the full potential that it was created for.
As company exists to make money, our ultimate goal as the body of Christ is to glorify God. That’s why we exist. All the other things we do are a temporary necessity because God has not been glorified in fullness yet. Missions is part of that for sure! But also, so is serving in your local church, praying for missions and those who are persecuted, caring for the poor and the sick, being the light of the world and the salt of the earth.
God has given each of us gifts and talents to serve Him for His Glory, that’s our calling. In this realisation you need to be open to God’s leading and willing to follow his calling on your life. He may direct you to become a church planter in Thailand, or the admin manager at the mission’s office in Bangkok or to be an elder or serve the kids in your local church. You may end up with a full-time job in God’s Kingdom as missionary, pastor, evangelist, or you may end up having a secular job such as a teacher, businessman or medical professional. Whatever occupation God leads you to, He wants you to follow the same biblical guidelines in how you conduct yourself in that role and with how you use the salary or support you receive.
We often love to divide our lives into different areas. A spiritual part for when we serve the Lord and a secular part for when we do our ‘normal job’ but God doesn’t make that separation. What you do back home from 8 am till 5 pm is not less spiritual as planting a church in Thailand. There is no secular and spiritual part to our lives. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord as it is the Lord you are serving.
If you allow God to lead you as He desires and obey Him in this leading, you are doing the ‘real work’. Be faithful and Glorify Him!