Jesus is a model for the believer in so many ways. God has called all Christians to be like Jesus, to be conformed to His image (Rom. 8:29). We do this by taking action against our sinful nature (Rom. 8:13), yielding to the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), and putting into practice everything that Jesus taught (Matt. 28:20), building our lives on the foundation of His teachings (Matt. 7:24-27). This requires putting them into practice.
Christians are also to do the works that Jesus did, engaging in the ministries that He participated in. This is not an impossibility because Jesus said that His followers would do the works that He did and even greater works (John 14:12). As we follow Jesus, we walk out the life that God intends for us, persevering in it while we look to Jesus (Heb. 12:2-3).
The truth is that God has a work for each of us to do, He has things that He wants to accomplish through our lives. This was true of Jesus and it is true of every Christian.
In John 17:4, while praying to His Father, Jesus spoke of completing the work that the Father had given him to do. This included the ministries He mentioned in the synagogue in Nazareth when he cited a passage from Isaiah 61 (Luke 4:18-19) and obtaining our redemption (Heb. 9:12). Jesus stayed His course throughout His life in spite of adversity, inconvenient circumstances, the temptations of the devil, and the hostility of the human race. Following in His steps we are called to be faithful to the end and to fulfill the work the Lord has given us to do.
It is clear from Scripture that all Christians have been called to minister for the Lord; each of us has been given work to do. It is our responsibility to fulfill it. The apostle Paul sensed this in his own life. When he addressed the elders of the church of Ephesus, he spoke about the work that the Lord gave him to do: he was called to testify to the gospel (Acts 20:24). He had been “set apart for the gospel” (Rom. 1:1 NIV); he knew this had been entrusted to him (1 Cor. 9:17 ; Titus 1:3). He faithfully gave himself to what the Lord had entrusted to him, he pursued it with passion. Near the end of his life he could say he had remained true to what had been set before him (2 Tim. 4:7). Like King David of old, he “served God’s purpose in his own generation” (Acts 13:36 NIV).
While pursuing God’s purpose for his own life he urged others to do the same. We find one example in Colossians 4:17, in this verse he urged a man named Archippus to complete the work that the Lord had given him. Disobedience or partial obedience will not do. Fulfill the work, be all in when it comes to serving the Lord. Be the best you can be for the one who has done the most for you, fulfill the work He has given you to do. It is, indeed, an honor.
I cannot help, but believe that the example of Jesus, the example of Paul, and the admonition to Archippus have relevance to us. The example of the lives of each of these individuals is meant to inform our own experience. All who are believers in Jesus are to walk and work with purpose. We are called to fulfill the work that He has given us to do (and be assured that He has given us work- Eph. 2:10). Let us not miss a thing, may we not waste time or opportunities. With God’s help may we each complete the work that the Lord wants to accomplish through each of our lives. We have been given one life. Let us use it wisely to glorify God and to bless others.
John P. Lathrop – United States
John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Western Connecticut State University, Zion Bible Institute, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Center for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME). He is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies and has twenty years of pastoral experience.