The Father’s Business
Newsflash! America is experiencing an epidemic – a busyness epidemic! Well, maybe that’s not so newsworthy, but it’s worthy of note for the follower of Jesus.
You see, according to a recent study by Crossway on this busyness epidemic in America (source), we’re in the middle of a rat race, and may be losing!
A couple of facts from the survey:
First, we work more than almost any other developed country. According to Gallup, adults employed full-time reported working an average of 47 hours per week, which equates to nearly six days a week (source).
We work longer work weeks despite our continued improvements in work efficiency. According to the survey, futurists in 1967 predicted coming generations would have too much spare time. In fact, testimony before a senate subcommittee claimed that by 1985 the average work week would be twenty-two hours! We’ll extend those futurists grace, as they were off, by a lot!
We get less vacation time than many other nations, and we are sleep-deprived overall as a nation.
We get the idea. (Note: For a little levity, here’s a fun, but revealing song entitled ‘Busy, Busy, Busy’ by Kevin Kline on a CD called Philadelphia Chickens).
Our busyness with working combined with our busyness with other time-consuming activities like entertainment can crowd out time from other aspects of our life we may deem important.
When Jesus was just a boy, He declared with stunning clarity His life’s mission and laser-like focus of His mission.
As a boy of twelve years, he made the trek to Jerusalem on Passover with His family. Upon leaving the city to go back home, Joseph and Mary somehow left Jesus behind. Once they realized their son was not present in the traveling party, they went on a search and rescue mission for Jesus.
His relieved parents found Him in the Temple, talking with the religious leaders. Upon finding Him, Mary said to Jesus, “Why have you done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” Jesus responded in Luke 2:49 with simple yet profound words that confront us today,
“Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”
Jesus was all about the Father’s business, and the Father’s business was all about people. Yes, Jesus was busy being about the Father’s business. For you and I, the Father’s business should also be our business. For there are people everywhere who need the Lord, including some in my life and yours.
We all have earthly responsibilities and things that consume our time, to be sure. Yet, to be about our Heavenly Father’s business is essential as a witness for Jesus.
C.S. Lewis felt this way about the Father’s business. “The glory of God, and, as our only means of glorifying Him, the salvation of souls, is the real business of life.”
In business, we’re familiar with the phrase, “time is money.” Well, in the spiritual realm, time is a great gift from our Heavenly Father. While we may not say, “time is money,” we can certainly say “time is precious.”
No wonder, the Apostle Paul exhorted the believers in Ephesus to make good use of their time:
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. – Ephesians 5:16
How then might we use our time well in our witness to be about the Father’s business?
- Abide in Christ
Spend time with the Lord. Simple, yes. Life-transforming, yes. But in the busyness of life, challenging. Have you noticed, it’s difficult to follow if we aren’t close to the one we’re following. While I would commend you to study John 15:1-17, for our purpose in this post I call our attention to John 15: 4, 7-8:
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
Do I have the courage and desire to pray, “Lord, help me redeem the time, that I may be a more effective witness for You? Show me what it looks like to redeem the time you give me.”
- Pray Evangelistically
Jesus’ compassion for people beckoned Him to exhort the disciples to first begin praying evangelistically:
Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38).
Effective evangelism starts on one’s knees. For without the Lord, we “can do nothing” (John 15:5), and “unless the Lord builds the house, we labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1). That’s why Jesus instructed them to pray just before He sent them out in Matthew 10. I’ve mentioned kingdompraying.com in previous posts, but I again commend it to you, as it’s a powerful resource in praying evangelistically.
Remember, go to God on behalf of people before you go to people on behalf of God.
Incredibly, you and I are an answer to this 2000-year-old prayer, a prayer the Church continues to pray. Because we are not only part of that harvest, we are also the laborers as God’s Kingdom-building program called the “Great Commission” (Matthew 28:18-20) marches on!
Evangelistic prayer is powerful, and it is essential to be about the Father’s business. Yet, it must be intentional, and intentional prayer should lead us to intentional action.
- Intentionally Engage Others
Relationships and personal evangelism go hand in hand. Relationships that are intentional are the platform on which the process occurs.
In his book Eats with Sinners, Arron Chambers wrote: “Relationships are the key to reaching lost people. I define evangelism as an intentional relationship through which someone is introduced to Jesus Christ. Healthy relationships are essential if we want to have the kind of life God intended for all of us, and they are also essential if we want to reach lost people like Jesus did” (pg. 14).
Chambers added, “An intentional relationship for a Christian is one in which a person intends to—one day—have the chance to introduce another person to Jesus, and then one day—does introduce him or her to Jesus” (pg. 15).
Yes, the Father’s business is all about people, and His business should be our business!
As we abide in Christ, may our Heavenly Father show each of us more clearly what it looks like to redeem the time. And as we redeem the time, praying evangelistically and investing in relationships, may the Lord redeem people, bringing many into His Kingdom for His glory. Amen!