As a young boy, when Jesus was found by His parents in the temple He said that He had to be about His Father’s business (Luke 2:49, literally: “in the things of My Father”). Jesus had a vocation and that vocation was doing the work of His Father. A vocation is a person’s calling in life, their unique service while on earth. Jesus devoted Himself to accomplishing the Father’s business and He passed that calling onto us as Christians (John 20:21). But, what is the Father’s business? What is a Christian’s vocation?
Put simply, every Christian’s vocation is to further the Kingdom of God. This was the essence of Jesus’ work (Mark 1:15) and it is the essence of our work. To further the Kingdom of God is to cooperate with God to extend His rule and reign, which ultimately means bringing His goodness to the world. God is sovereign, but because He has chosen to limit His sovereignty by man’s freedom, we live in a world that has an actual potential for love, but also unfortunately, suffering. The Father’s business is to do whatever we can to see the potential for love reached while reducing the possibility of suffering. Specifically, that means extending truth, hope, and love.
“Truth works and lies don’t.” That’s a little aphorism I coined to help bring home the idea that cooperating with reality is the only way to flourish in life. Indeed, the truth shall set us free. In God we live and move and have our being. All reality comes from Him, therefore, the closer one is to truth, the closer they are to God. Extending truth is encouraging knowledge and behavior that reflects reality, for example, rejecting hurtful misbeliefs, having a modest view of oneself, treating people respectfully, learning as much as we can about the world, and being honest. Satan is the father of lies, and his defeat entails shining the light of truth whenever we can.
Extending hope is proclaiming in word and deed the fact that God writes the last chapter. He is good enough for everyone of us and He promises a bright future. There are a lot of dark clouds in this life and suffering is the way of man, but it doesn’t end there. We have a Friend who sticks closer than a brother and One who is preparing a place for us. There is every reason to have hope because there is a God. Optimists are realists. Evil doesn’t have the last say. How we talk to our neighbors, how we raise our children, how we think about our problems, and how we plan our future can all be shaped by this hope, which furthers the Kingdom of God.
Lastly, furthering the Kingdom of God speaks of love conquering all. Love is the delightful dance of community. When we treasure and bow before each other, we find fulfillment that’s at the heart of God. As Trinity, God has His being in communion. Giving and receiving in mutual appreciation is the drama of literature and history and is universally recognized as the point of all our living. Extending love is to treasure people, resolve conflicts well, sacrifice for others, and encourage the wonder of oneness. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:35).
While Jesus had a unique mission, we share the same general vocation, that is, furthering the Kingdom of God. This vocation, expressed by extending truth, hope, and love is targeted toward ourselves, our neighbors, and our world. In a future post I’ll give some practical ways to carry this out.