Tuesday, March 2, 2010

On Official Business

An elderly man was once asked “Why are you still here on earth since your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life?” He replied. “If you look closely, you will see an asterisk next to my name, with the note ‘On leave to earth on official business.’ He continued. “I have lived here on earth for 90 years. When the business God has given me to do is completed, he will take me home. But until then I am going to continue doing the work he has given me to do.”

Do we think of ourselves in this way? Do we see ourselves as being on loan to earth from our heavenly home or do we think of earth as our home? Do we think of ourselves as having been assigned a task to complete?

The New Testament writers frequently speak of our being strangers and aliens here on earth. The author of Hebrews, speaking of the great men and women of faith, states “And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.” (Heb 11:13b) We are God’s ambassadors to earth, representing Him to the world. Yet we often have a tendency to settle in and become so comfortable in the culture in which we live that we totally blend in. We don’t often consider ourselves to be strangers. We also don’t think of ourselves as being God’s representative to the communities in which we live.

God gives us gifts to use in his service. He gives them in order to enable us to better serve and love others. We are to faithfully use them to further his kingdom. He has a purpose for our being here. There is value in asking the questions: “What business has God given me to do during my time here on earth? Am I faithfully carrying it out?” I started this essay a year ago, but was having difficulty completing it. The message I was attempting to write about was forcefully brought to my attention this past summer when I found myself in the hospital with a heart attack, having an artery 100 % blocked. While this could have easily been fatal, I came through it with only minimal damage. This experience clearly brought into focus the fact that God has me here for a purpose and is not done with me yet. He has given me a task that is not yet completed. He has given all of us a mission to accomplish during our time here on earth. Perhaps the larger question is “How faithfully am I carrying this purpose out?”

For many people, the only Christ they may ever see is us. They may only come to know Christ through our incarnational living in their presence, based on how well we live transformed lives. Like a magnet, we can either attract people to or repel them from Christ. For many, the greatest drawbacks to becoming a Christian are the Christians who live in their midst. Their lives may not indicate much of a relationship with Christ, thereby detracting from the call of the gospel. But God expects us to be his faithful representatives as we live out our lives here on earth. This is the assigned task he has given us to carry out. He expects us to be faithful to this calling.

How faithful are we in this? It is worth pondering the question “Am I as diligent and productive at my heavenly job as I am at my earthly one?” Hopefully we will not all find ourselves in Heaven’s unemployment line.

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