What business are we in, and how's business?
It is the business of the Christian church to go into the world and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all of Jesus' teachings and commands until He returns at the end of this age (Matthew 28:18-20).
Fulfilling this mission leads to numerous sub-missions: education, evangelism, worship, world missions, social ministry, and others. The challenge is always to stay focused on the central "business" of the church.
What if, instead of going away for two weeks, a company president turned over the operation of the company to his leadership team for twenty years?
That analogy parallels a parable Jesus spoke to His disciples about how He wanted them to carry on in His absence. In Luke 19:11-26, Jesus told a story of a man who left his servants in charge of his business while he went on a journey. He left them resources and instructions: They were to accomplish His objectives with the resources he left. When he returned, two of the three had been faithful while one had not. That one received the owner's great displeasure: What he had been given was taken away, so he was left with nothing.
How's the church doing at fulfilling our Master's instructions, "Do business until I return"? How should we determine whether our actions and activities will result in the accomplishment of the Master's main mission, the discipling of the nations?
I believe the Lord would be pleased to return and find us engaged in the following ten activities comprising Christian discipleship, the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
As you read this list, ask yourself, "How's business?" If it's anything less than what the Master would expect, then this is a call to action!
1. Refuse to neglect the church. Build up the body of Christ by joining and contributing to the life of a local congregation of believers (Hebrews 10:24-25).
2. Respond to life spiritually. Respond to life with the mind of Christ as revealed through the Word by the Holy Spirit. Life is a spiritual undertaking first and foremost (Colossians 3:1-4).
3. Relate to one another in love. Conduct all ministry with love, or it's all for nothing. Be known as a person of love (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13).
4. Refrain from judging others. Judge yourself, not others. Settle your differences with humility and love, leaving judgment to God (1 Corinthians 4:5).
5. Recommit yourself to ministry. Ministering with and for Christ is a full-time calling. Christ is active in the world, therefore every believer should be playing a part in His ministry (2 Timothy 4:1-2).
6. Reach the lost. Jesus came to seek and save those who are lost. His disciples are to go into the world to continue that mission. We are to save all who will be saved (Jude 1:21-23).
7. Remain steadfast. Jesus Christ and His twelve apostles are models for us of the difficult steadfastness necessary to invade the Enemy's territory with the gospel message (James 5:7-8).
8. Renounce sin in your life. We cannot love God and mammon simultaneously. If you are serious about doing the Master's business, you will be serious about not sinning (1 John 2:28-29).
9. Restore the bereaved. We are engaged in a spiritual battle. And as in all combat, there will be casualties. Part of our mission is to extend Christ's love and compassion to those who grieve, for whatever reason (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
10. Remember the Lord's Table. During the Master's absence, we have spirit-to-Spirit meetings with Him as we gather around His communion table. There we remind ourselves of what He has done for us and what He has asked us to do for Him (1 Corinthians 11:26).
How's business? Let this list serve as a call to action. Recommit yourself to the mission and purposes of God on earth in the absence of Christ the Master. Only then will we hear Him say when He returns, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord."
This article was excerpted from Turning Points, Dr. David Jeremiah's devotional magazine. Call Turning Point at 1-800-947-1993 for your complimentary copy of Turning Points.