Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. – Ephesians 2:8-10 (MSG)
What comes to mind when you think of “good works” for the kingdom? Do you think it a task that we are to study only to be put to use once Christ returns and establishes His kingdom, or do you instead think of good works as part of our Great Commission in the here and now.
I rolled this question around in my mind recently when listening to a sermon on preparing for time to come. I pondered how many people think of the work of the kingdom as something that is called for in the HERE and NOW vs. the kingdom to come. So many of us think of this world as our training ground, which yes is true, but forget that the training ground is in fact based in hands-on applications vs. classroom (weekly church attendance or functions) learning only. Consider the age old theory that the best candidates for any job are not specifically the ones that spent 4+ years in classroom settings only, but are those that went to school in conjunction with real-time/real-world work experience. How many colleges are now offering credits or accelerated degrees to those that are already practicing in their fields. I’ve always thought that the parallels to the secular life and that of what we learn as part of our walk with God are forever intertwined.
To give an example, what are some of the problems faced by so many recent and upcoming grads? Some hurdles could be the following questions that come up during interviews such as:
“So who have you worked for during your college studies?” (oh yeah blank stare time)
“What is the best or worst thing you that you find as you’ve been working in the field?” (ugghhh how I’m gonna gloss over this one)
Sadly, much to the dismay of many candidates and their interviewers are those that have 0 answers to both of these questions because they have 0 experience! Yes lectures and hypothetical analysis are extremely important but a person at some point must “apply” those analyses in a way to test them out. Until this is done they remain truly only “classroom training” scenarios. I’ll be honest and say that from working quite a number of years serious study is a must to further our learning…but it never stops there. It’s only through real-life experiences AND applying such studies that we learn how companies, projects and innovations are made to be successful. No one in their right mind would want to see a doctor that came out and announced that they completed their degree by completing classroom training but had never seen and treated any actual LIVE patients.
Yeah so where I’m I going with all of this? It’s to get the juices flowing for us to really think is this what we think Christ calls us to when given the great commission? Do we think that He placed in scripture the command to “Go out unto the nations and find those of you with like minds and purposes and help only one another as you attend your weekly church services but only practice in the church.” ? Yes it sounds about as silly as it looks but in reality this is the life we sometimes look up and find ourselves caught in. I completely get it. We get busy, we’re unsure of where to help, we may be part of congregations that have little to no public outreach or if they do we’re still not sure how are small contribution of time and personal sacrifice can help when the need is so large. Worse yet is when we see a need and our human and instinctual reaction is “Oh man somebody should do something about that.”. I keep in prayer that God quickly remind me, if I’m veering down this path, that that “somebody” that should be doing something is probably in fact me! Not that we are always meant to pick up every cause but we can remain open to His Spirit’s leading in areas that we do have the ability and means to contribute to.
During Christ’s ministry on earth a key scripture that comes to mind when recalling what I need to focus on is….
How God anointed and consecrated Jesus of Nazareth with the [Holy] Spirit and with strength and ability and power; how He went about doing good and, in particular, curing all who were harassed and oppressed by [the power of] the devil, for God was with Him. – Act 10:38 (AMP)
Not many of us are called to go about the nations preaching and healing as in the above scripture, but honestly I really think we can achieve the exact same thing by living and breathing our Epistles of life as we go about our daily lives. We don’t have to quote one single word from the bible or sermon to show someone the true face and mind of God and Jesus Christ. By living our lives with what we study and APPLYING IT by sincere kindness toward not only the body of believers, but to our fellow man, do we exemplify all that the kingdom has to offer ALL of God’s children.
There’s not one single person on this planet not considered by our Father as one of His own. We are placed in this world to be part of His perfect kingdom to come yes, but we must also live with His kingdom in our hearts, minds and actions NOW! By holding close to the chest the heartfelt desire, longing and yearning of our commission and that it is to be lived out now will aid us as we are expectantly awaiting the triumphant return of our Lord and King, His command is not some mock-classroom assignment in preparation for a time to come, but our classroom is this very time now with living and breathing patients who include our fellow believers AND non-believers. As Christ works in me I pray to remember that every word I speak and any actions I take can be used as an example of all the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no better time than the right here and now.
Be Forever Blessed,
All scripture references are from biblegateway.com