As a pastor, I have often lamented that my job is never done. When you are a builder building a house, the job has a start and a finish. It is not a small job, nor an easy job. The list of things that need doing before the house is finished, is a long one and requires great expertise. However, there comes a day when the builder has nothing left to do. The house is built. He hands over the keys and walks away, proud and satisfied.
A pastor builds people and there is always more to do. Always! It has happened to me that, as I listen to somebody testifying of a victory, I am already praying about that person’s next challenge. An event like a Sunday service, might feel like a project with a beginning and an end but not if the event is about the people and not about mere attendance or experience. Whatever ministry people may receive at an event, there is always more needed, always more possible.
While this may feel like a reason to lament, it is in actual fact good news! There are two important things to understand to get the good in this news.
The most important job is finished.
When ministering to people, always remember that there is a job that is finished. Jesus famously and irrevocably called out ‘It is finished’ before he died on the cross. (John 19: 30) The job of bridging the gap between God and man and paying the penalty for our rebellion is done. There is nothing left to be done, no price left to be paid.
Have you seen how hard many people work to gain God’s favour or do enough good to balance their mistakes? It is an endless and futile quest if you try it on your own. The job is done! Jesus did it all and you and I need to tell everyone trying so hard to do it by themselves!
All you need to do is believe him. Believe that he came, that he lived, that he died and that he rose again. Take him at his word. And then follow his lead. (Rom 10:9)
You can be right with God only because of Jesus. Not because you can argue that your sin is not as bad as the previous generation thought it was. Nor because you have a great excuse for acting out in rebellion. And definitely not because you have done enough good to cancel the debt of your bad deeds.
Purely, simply and only because of what Jesus did.
Charles Spurgeon says it like this.
The general religion of mankind is “Do,” but the religion of a true Christian is “Done.” “It is finished” is the believer’s conquering word.The Complete Works of C. H. Spurgeon, Volume 30: Sermons 1757-1815
Philip Yancey wrote these words that make my heart rejoice.
There is nothing we can do to make God love us more and there is nothing we can do to make God love us less.
Good news! Don’t you think?
Your job is fun
Since you do not have to work to earn God’s acceptance and favour, your job can really be fun. And even this job you do not have to accomplish on your own.
As a result of what Jesus did on the cross, there is a person you can become and a life you can live that is truly awesome. The adventure of following Jesus is beyond measure and who you can become in him is more than you could ever imagine.
Yes, the job with people is never done but that is because there is always more they can become. The possibilities are endless. There is always more that can be done.
Live life fully. Live higher. Reach further. Do the impossible. Overcome every obstacle. Jesus came so that you can… have real and eternal life, more and better life than you ever dreamed of. (John 10:10b MSG)
I am glad he is not done with me. I am glad that there is more he wants to do in and through me. And I am very glad that he completed his job on the cross so that I do not have to do any of it.
He is not done with you either. And it is good news!