The Secret of Working for God by Bola Olu-Jordan
What a relief to finally know the secret of working for God!
People come to ministry through different means. Some, by burden for the lost, others, by qualification and yet to many others, it is by ambition, or even, survival! But we know that the only credible means is by the call of God (Heb. 5:4). Even in this, some answer to man, like Samuel answered to Eli when God called him. But Eli was godly enough to recognize that it was God who called little Samuel. He led him back to God. Today, people in the office of Eli simply give duties to such neophyte.
However, there are many called by God and who answer to God! First hurdle crossed!
Jesus spoke a parable of a man and his two sons. He asked them to go and work in his farm. The first one said he wouldn’t go, but he later repented and went. The second promised to go, but did not go. The question is: who did the will of the father? (Mat. 21:28-31).
Our fulfillment should not be just to come to God and or to receive instructions for others, but to do His will (Deut. 5:32; Mat.7:21; Mar.3:35; Jas.1:22). However, doing His will is not as important as doing it His way. It is his call.
We have a way of doing things for God and making it appear as labour to men, and vice-versa. To us, that is ministry. A man conscious of his call either joins a traditional way of fulfilling the call or take the path he feels acceptable to God. Either way, it is us doing ‘something’ for God. We end up helping him build the tent he wants to pull down (Pro. 14:12). Man has the innate ability to do so well, what he shouldn't have done at all. Yet, Jesus said “without me you can do nothing” (Joh. 15:5).
Man is doing mighty things without God; more in the spiritual than in the secular. He builds mega churches without Him; performs miracles with mighty testimonies in the name of Jesus, yet, without Jesus’ knowledge and offer Him sacrifices of praise and worship in a spiritually and emotionally soaked atmosphere, without even an angel present. Man also operate super religious centers, organizations and ministries without being sent and successfully build a tower that reaches heaven and embarrass God so much he has to disperse them in a hurry - saved by the whiskers!
Christianity is another ingenious ability of man. God gave us Christ; man institutionalized Christ to give us Christianity. When the institution of man failed and cannot save, God gave us His son to follow. But in man’s usual characteristic of ‘doing’ something, he is now doingChristianity, instead of following Christ.
Martha would understand better. She willingly laboured to please Jesus; gladly gave all she had and it didn’t matter a bit to her. She did it all for Jesus. What did Martha have that Jesus needed? In the end, she was disappointed and frustrated by Jesus remark: “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things. But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luk. 10:41-42), Jesus told her.
Mary, which Mary?
Martha accused Mary, her sister of lack of hospitality, discipline and insensitive attitude to a visitor. While Martha rightly found her way straight to the kitchen to give Jesus the best treat, all Mary did was to sit at the feet of weary Jesus; not allowing him to rest from such a long journey; not offering a glass of water to the Messiah and not washing his leg or taking his coat! All attempt by Martha to correct her sister and make her show a little decency or decorum to the visitor failed. She had no choice but to voice out and asked Jesus to excuse her sister for such childish indiscipline. But all she got was a rebuke from the same Jesus, whose interest she was trying to foment. Jesus insinuated that her efforts were unwarranted labour, unsent errand and unappreciated favour. Mary was right, after all.
There is a secret to every profession and the secret of our profession in Christ is to abide in Him, not busy for him. BUSY means Being Under Satan’s Yoke (Mat.11:30).
The word ‘abide’ doesn’t suggest any further effort than to abide. As long as the branch abides in the stem, it bears fruits. Although, it has no nutrients of its own, but a steady supply, enough to bring the desired fruit comes as it abides in the stem. The task is not ours, but the Lord’s. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psa. 46:10). Prophet Elijah learned this in a hard way but we don’t have to.
Martha asked Jesus: “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me”. This is the prayer of many to God: to send help for the labor he did not approve or to help build a ministry he does not honour. Only if Martha knew what the Messiah desired! Only if we knew that God is not interested in our labour, effort or ministry, but us! He wants relationship, not activities.
Jesus ordained the twelve disciples primarily to be with Him and then, to send them forth (Mar. 3:14). It’s the same calling for us today: to abide in Him, because without Him we can do nothing (Joh. 15:5). Then, we are to follow him. He will work in us and then through us. When we are in trouble, it is an indication that we do not follow him. He doesn’t get into trouble. We should follow him wherever he goes, even when we don’t understand. Even into fire! He want our walk with him more than our work for him.
This is the secret of working for God (as if we really can)!