Have you ever felt like you have been successful at your job only to find out what you have been crushing is only a small part of the bigger picture of your job? That’s crushing. Honest, hard work in the wrong direction is ineffective at best and detrimental at worst.
How much more important must it be to have clarity about Jesus’ job—his mission, his reason for coming? Throughout Church history and in current streams of the American Church, different ideas about Jesus’ mission have drawn sharp lines in theology, ecclesiology, and missiology. Some emphasize Jesus’ Kingship and others emphasize his Kingdom, resulting in different philosophies of ministry and combative attitudes about the mission of Jesus’ followers, the Church. This is most obvious in America between the stereotypes of Evangelical and Mainline churches. A lack of clarity has led to distinctions that have become crushing divisions over time.
Looking at Scripture, it is right to recognize a tension some see between two of the most quoted passages that help us understand Jesus’ mission. In Luke 19:10, Jesus states he has come to “save the lost.” A church deeply committed to the work of evangelism over all else can find biblical support for this philosophy in Luke 19; a church deeply committed to the work of justice over all else can find biblical support for this philosophy in Luke 4. The emphasis of the work drives the church’s overarching theology, philosophy, and practice. Clarity on the mission, or job description, is essential.
What would a smashing of Luke 4:18, Luke 19:10, John 10:10, the Great Commission, the Great Commandment, and the Cultural Mandate produce? Hopefully, someone is already working on that project, but for today we can trust that Jesus kept each in his job description and fulfilled them. Therefore, the whole Church and the local church can and must keep all of these as priorities as well.
I want to encourage leaders in local churches (clergy and laity) to seek relationships with leaders in other churches in their city for the purpose of keeping all of Jesus’ priorities in their churches’ job descriptions. In relationship, we see ourselves and the mission of God more clearly. Emphasizing one part Jesus’ job description over the over parts in a local church expression is not a cause of division; it is an opportunity to see a fuller expression of the Triune God’s work with and through the whole Church. But, each local community must work toward Jesus’ full job description.
In our daily work, we must ask ourselves if we are setting our sights on the horizon of the job description given to us. This includes the one we received from our place of work, but it also includes the one given to each of us from our Father. Let us not fall into the temptation of separating those descriptions. In God’s perfect plan, our daily work moves the needle toward the completion of His eternal work.
What step could you take today to better understand Jesus’ mission in your city? Study one of the verses cited about? Seek out a relationship with a church leader who emphasizes one aspect more than you? Ask God to give you understanding about his mission?
If you manage others, have you provided adequate clarity and feedback to allow your direct reports to thrive?
Take a few minutes today to read over your job description at work. Consider placing it strategically at your desk alongside something that reminds you of Jesus’ mission. What questions do you have about your job descriptions? Make a list and seek out some answers.
Father, we know there was no lack of clarity in the mind of Christ regarding his work and purpose for he proclaimed boldly that he is one with you. May we rest in our union with Jesus Christ so we might work with him toward that very same mission. Give us clarity in our work, focus for the tasks given us today, and gratitude for the love and grace you give us that enables us to work with conviction, meaning, and eternal value.