The Lord Jesus Christ in the image of Good Shepherd. Early Christian trsdition of symbolism. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We all want to do “great work” for God. Some see it as fulfilling “purpose”. That is how some people express the longing to be up the ladder in church or gospel work. There is nothing wrong with a desire to serve God in outstanding way; I believe a little understanding will help someone to do it right and reap the reward from God.
Nicodemus once went to Jesus to find out this secret in John 3:1-10, the scriptures says, “Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spiritgives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?” (NIV)
Jesus simply told him, it is not what you do but who you are that makes the difference. Your nature produces your abilities effortlessly. I am sure that I will struggle to live in water than a fish would do.
Jesus answered those who asked the question more directly than Nicodemus the same thing. This is stated in John 6:28-29.
“Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (KJV)
You need to be called and commissioned. This is what determines what you do, where you do it and how. You can see this in the Bible “In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name. ”Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized.” Acts 9:10-18 (NIV)
Ananias was called to go and do the work he did.
The scriptures in Acts 13:1-3 says “Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” (NIV)
Paul and Barnabas were called and sent by the Holy Spirit.
Some years ago at a Youth for Christ camp, some brethren asked me why there were many church denominations. (Then we don’t have them this much) Mine mind went blank for a split second, and then the Lord spoke to me. He told me there are basically three divisions.
1. Those that he called
2. Those that called themselves (these are more numerous)
3. Those that the devil called. (These are deceivers and very cunning)
There are equally a lot of divisions among those the Lord called; this gives people the opportunities to hear the gospel in their own “language”.
Paul says “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” 1 Cor. 9:19-23 (NIV).
God provides variety of ways to reach people and uses different people as he wishes.
It is not my intention here to condemn denominations; I have just told you what the Lord told me. We must be discerning; we do this as we pray and ask God direction as to where to worship and have fellowship. Whatever we do, the responsibility is ours. You can see more examples in Acts 19:13-17 “Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.” (NIV)
You must have compassion. The work of God is great when done in love. The Scripture says“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” 1 Cor. 13:1-8 (NIV)
Obedience: There is nothing that is too small when it is a command or an instruction from God. When we concentrate only on doing “great things” and being great men or women of God, the motive could be wrong. Ananias is a good example of this.
You must be prayerful. You do the work of God as you pray. Most times people may not know you prayed for them but you don’t have to bother about it. God can lead you to do more things as you pray. (Acts13)
Every Child of God has something to do. We should prayerfully seek God’s face on the things he wants us to do. It is not what we want but what he wants that really matters. The case of Mary and Martha provides a good example of this.