“And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49 KJV)
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” (John 14:12 KJV)
The father’s business? Greater works? These can be two of the most intriguing verses to consider especially when you really stop to consider the question, “What is the father’s business?” On the one hand we shriek back when we see the term “father” and “business” in the same phrase because the thought of business transactions in a Church environment turns most people off quickly. Even worse, it tends to attract all the wrong sort of thought. Not to worry as I do not intend to go down that trail. So what is the father’s business? C.S. Lewis calls it the business of heaven, but still, what is it? We have a generally good grasp on what our day to day business is. We work on buying, selling, teaching, learning, debating, studying, listening, speaking, building, demolishing, cleaning, or even making a mess. We spend a great deal of time and effort toward managing a process that has some value to someone else such that we can receive payment for the good or service that we produce. We align ourselves with some practices and distance ourselves from others. We pull together industry standards and government regulation yet it is necessary to maintain a certain independence of how we go about our business. We prioritize works based on the value that they are able to contribute toward the business we are in. If we find it useful, we will find a way to integrate it. If it does not seem to be relevant then it gets set on the shelf for that rainy day when we have more time to consider another purpose for it.
Church activities (and to some degree religion in general) serves a certain purpose. It finds a place in most hearts because it really does remind us of what is good and wholesome. It brings communities together especially when the need is the greatest. It brings healing to those areas which cause us so much pain. It provides answers in a world that produces nothing but more questions. Yet because of it’s marginal value to our business at hand it is relegated to our spare time and energies. I am sure there are millions of people who have attempted to alter this thought process, but only a few do so successfully after they have firmly understood what the father’s business is.
We know God’s Spirit in us brings produce like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faith, and self control (see Galatians 5:22, 23). What ever the father’s business is, it produces these fruits in our lives. It is eventually realized the difference between genuine produce and a really good acting job, but the fruits still help in understanding what the father’s business is. Jesus further encourages us with seeking the order of works in Heaven over the presently seen practicalities we may assign them on Earth. Reread the very first line of the Lord’s prayer that Jesus left for His disciples. “And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.” (Luke 11:2 KJV)
“Greater works” are seen and experienced when you are about the father’s business. Not necessarily (although certainly a possibility of) greater miracles, but rather being apart of changing a heart from a bitter state in isolation to a reconciled relationship through forgiveness and residing in love. It is more than seeing the lame walk and the bind see. It is the seeing those who were lame under the bound of an addiction work through a recovery and persevere in patience, and seeing those who were buried in endless questions deep in darkness suddenly realize the light of the one who is the answer. Paul explained it well to the Corinthians. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 KJV) Keep in mind that I speak not of works that save, but of a salvation that is not dead because of the lack of them (see James 2:14-26). Is it greater to see a person healed of his wounds that have been inflicted upon him by an enemy or to see this person both forgive and learn to love that enemy as Christ has forgiven and loved him? I do not shun the power that is in the miracles that God does and has His children do. They do so well and under His command and they require a great deal of faith (see the dilemma in Matthew 17:14-21). I do however like to remind us of the many wonderful and awesome things we can see while we are concerned with the everyday task of faithfully working about the father’s business.
James reminds us of the dangers of attempting to be in two businesses at once. “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” (James 4:8 KJV) Are we about the father’s business? Can we go about the father’s business daily and not worry? It is both a test and testament to our faith in Jesus as we work through this with Jesus. This will produce surrender in a world where every other business practice is managed. There are greater works that produce better longer lasting fruit awaiting those who make the father’s business their first business.
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.” (Matthew 24:45-47 KJV)