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It's Not My Business


Last evening I listened as another believer prayed to God concerning our church business meeting. It was a good and noble prayer. But it got me thinking a bit deeper about the business of the church. While the church is not a business, it certainly has a considerable amount of business to which it must tend. And so, I went looking for some answers about the proper use of the word business when it comes to the work and ministry of the church.

I scanned though an article by Spurgeon. I contemplated the words of Luke 2:49. I looked at a piece on the website. And I did some brainstorming of my own.

I really don't think it's that complicated actually. There is a lot to it, yes. And the well of God's purpose is always much deeper than our piddling little bucket and rope can plumb. But the stated mission, purpose, work, calling, assignment, or business that Jesus was all about during His incarnation is rather straightforward.

Jesus came to REVEAL God to us, to REDEEM us from our sins, and to RECONCILE us to God. That's the sum, is it not?

So, when Jesus said to his mother (as recorded in Luke 2), "How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" — perhaps He was indeed pointing to the obvious. Or that which should have been obvious. We know from verse 50 that his parents didn't understand what He was talking about (with that question). But we do, right?

You may think, "Well, perhaps Jesus was saying that his earthly parents should have known right where they would find Him." Or, you could conclude that preteen Jesus was expressing His awareness of His supreme obligation to His heavenly Father over any obligations His human parents could place on Him. Either way, He clearly was doing His Father's bidding when He stayed in the temple discussing the Scriptures with the religious experts of His day.

Perhaps the word business doesn't need to be defined for us. We recognize business when we see it. We all busy ourselves in some occupation in order to make money and therefore to live our lives. But Jesus was not in the temple for money. Neither did he work in His public ministry for money. He was a carpenter by trade. But He made sure that He was busy in the work of the Lord; the business of His Heavenly Father. So what was that business? I mean in the simple analysis of things, what tasks must we take up in order to also be "about the Father's business." What is the Father's business?

Consider these revelations.

When Jesus started His public ministry, He read from Isaiah 61, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." (Luke 4:18-19).

Before healing a blind man, Jesus said, "I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work." (John 9:4).

While standing in the treasury in the temple He made the great claim, "I do always those things that please Him [the Father]." (John 8:29).

After revealing Himself to the Samaritan woman at the well, He told His disciples, "I have meat to eat that you know not of. ... My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work." (John 4:32 & 34).

The Apostle John wrote, "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." (1st John 3:8).

Jesus told Pilate, "You say that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice." (John 18:37).

To Zacchaeus Jesus said, "The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10).

In Hebrews 10:20 the unnamed author tells us that we have access to the Holy of Hollies in heaven "by a new and living way, which He [Jesus] has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh..."

And, finally — after completing His work on the cross — Jesus said, "It is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost." (John 19:30).

My father used to speak often about the difference between the singular noun WORK and the plural noun WORKS in the Bible. I haven't memorized the Bible, so I can't point authoritatively to the universal usage of those 2 words, but I do understand the point he was getting at. He was constantly reminding us that our WORKS are useless and offensive to God. But God's WORK in us is an eternal WORK. And when we are judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ, we will be judged based upon the nature of our WORK. Did we do our own thing, or were we cooperating with God doing His thing?

It's not my business. It's not your business. It's His business.

It's like the great passage Paul wrote the Philippians (using verbs rather than nouns), "My beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:12-13).

Jesus was the consummate businessman. He was sent on a business trip from heaven. He came to earth and accomplished EVERY aspect of the mission He was sent on. It was a complete success. He was and is a complete success.

But, now that He has returned from His trip, He has left us behind to run the family business. We are stewards of the gospel. That's the business. We're in the gospel business; the gospel ministry.

When asked by the crowd, "What can we do, that we might work the works of God?" Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent." (John 6:28-29).

And that is what should be central in our lives as individuals, and as congregations. When we meet for a church business meeting, we talk about numbers, and dollars, and programs, and ministries, and facilities, and processes, etc. But ultimately the thing we should be talking about is the gospel. Not that we can't discuss finances and schedules and offices, or whatever else. But each of our topics should be considered in the light of the gospel. How are our dollars contributing to the propagation of the gospel? How can our facilities be used to get the gospel out? How are our programs and calendars having an impact for the sake for the gospel of Jesus Christ? And so on, and so forth.

And notice, it's not just the gospel for the lost either. It's for the saved! "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." (1st Corinthians 1:18). It is the gospel of God's saving grace that motivates us to worship, to fellowship, to service, to evangelization, to discipleship, to prayer, to sacrifice, to faith, to rest in Him, to peace—

This is God's business! It's the great commission. Jesus was sent into the world as the Light of the world. Now He has sent us as the light of the world to point men, women, boys, and girls to Him, the Great Light. It was His work to do the work the Father sent Him to do. Now we teach and preach about a living Savior. We baptize converts and then lead them onward to growth in the gospel. By faith we conquer darkness and relish the gospel's continued impact on every aspect of our lives. This is the Father's business. He is building a spiritual house. He is building a temple to dwell in. We are that temple. And everything we do is only relevant, significant, important, eternal, enduring, and worth consideration as it relates to God's program of revealing Himself through Christ, redeeming a people for Himself through Christ, and reconciling creation to Himself through Christ.

Now, one caveat before we stop for today. Insisting that everything have a gospel-centric purpose does not preclude or exclude practical and mundane activities in the life of the Christian or in the life of a church. Don't forget that Jesus once sent two of His disciples out to find a donkey. So, anything may be a part of the Father's business. "Unto the pure all things are pure." A menial task can be relevant to the gospel. Don't pretend that it is when you know better. But also, don't ever be intimidated or shamed out of contributing in the way God has chosen to use you. Don't let me or anyone else influence you away from God's calling on you. It's His business, not mine; not theirs.

It's not their business; it's not my business, it's His!

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