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The Heart of a Father: An Eternal Perspective

“Son, you need a sense of urgency.” When I was a boy, my dad would say this to me whenever he wanted me to treat some task around the house with the same importance as he did. Some tasks are time sensitive. Some tasks are really important because they affect other people. Still others are meant to mature us into more skillful workers. The same is true for your calling.

Your Father God first provides you with a job, and then he waits to see how you treat that work before allowing you to partner with him on bigger things. This isn’t punishment or cause for concern; it’s just the natural order of supernatural work. Hammers before jackhammers. Plumb lines before power tools. Agreement with God before awakening in calling. So often we think of our current jobs as if they have nothing to do with our calling, so we don’t approach them with the reverence they deserve. We’ll never discover our holy work with this attitude.

Jobs are provided supernaturally by God’s hand. When we revere God in that work, honor it as holy, and treat it with intention, it demonstrates to him that we’re ready for what we are really meant to do. That ought to bring an importance—an urgency—to whatever job you have.

This is spiritual urgency. It is agreeing with God that the task right in front of you requires an earnest and persistent attitude. This attitude in and of itself will give new meaning to your work—though it’s really just the start of all that’s in store for you. After all, all kinds of things can awake in others a deep desire for God.

God is looking for you to understand that every moment of your workday—even the mundane parts—is ripe for action. This is the same attitude that great men of the faith had by the time they were in the middle of their own called careers.

A HOPEFUL EXPECTATION

Jesus is coming again. We don’t know the day or the hour, of course, but the Bible is clear that the awareness of his imminent return ought to be in our minds, giving urgency to everything we do.

For the Christian man, the reality of Christ’s coming is the undercurrent beneath every calling and job. We all desire God’s will to be done on earth just as it is in heaven (see Matt. 6:10). Since we don’t know when Jesus might return or even what might happen and in what order, the desire to spread his message ought to become the driving force for what a Christian man does during any day, at work or at home or wherever he is. (We still have to do our actual jobs too!)

The opportunity we have as Christian men is to look out over the world and see it as Jesus does: as a field ready for harvest (see John 4:35). God sees humanity—including that portion you interact with at your job—as being full of potential. He has strategically set you in this time and place, not to mention this place of employment, for just such a time as this.

One thing the sobering reality of Jesus’ return may do is clarify for us what is important. It ought to give us a clear sense of what is useless, hamster-wheel work and what is work that will endure. How much time do we have to tell our family, friends, and coworkers about Christ before it’s too late?

This awareness of our finite opportunity to share the good news ought to give our jobs—whatever they are—a new urgency. Talk about finding meaning in your work!

This urgency will lead us to manifest him throughout our workday.

When the Christian man goes to work, he is colaboring with Christ in the expectation of his return. You cannot overlook it. God is “not willing that any should perish” (2 Pet. 3:9 KJV). This truth makes any job an urgent, critical, meaningful, purposeful, mission-related job.

It gives you your calling.

An expectation that Jesus’ return could happen at any moment is a great lens for looking at all your labor and discerning what needs to be done more, what needs to be done less, and what needs to be undone. Paul said it like this:

No one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. (1 Cor. 3:11–15)

In other words, your work matters. No matter what job you have, Paul said you are a builder. If you’re a cook, you’re building with gold or wood. If you’re an accountant, you’re building with silver or straw. Let’s build with the best materials—what do you say? That means having your mind set on demonstrating Christ to those you encounter wherever you spend time.

We don’t know what day or hour the Lord will return. Neither do we know how many days we have on earth if Jesus tarries. In our jobs—and all the parts of our lives—we need to live in light of the possibility that we may not have a tomorrow to talk to our coworkers, bosses, or employees about eternal life.

This article is an excerpt from Calling: Awaken to the Purpose of Your Work, Brantley’s new book (David C Cook, May 2020).

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