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Our Father's Business

By Rod Rutherford

religion, articles, christianity

Only one incident is recorded in the life of our Lord between his birth and descent into Egypt, and his baptism. When he was twelve years old, Mary and Joseph took him with them to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of the Passover (Luke 2:41­50). On the return journey to Nazareth, they did not see Jesus, but supposing he was with relatives and friends, they did not worry the first day. When he was not found after this time, Mary and Joseph anxiously returned to Jerusalem to search for Jesus. At last, they found him in the temple discussing the Law with the learned teachers and scholars. Mary gently chided Jesus, saying: "Son, why have you done this to us? Look, your father and I have sought you anxiously." Jesus replied: "Why is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father's business?"

Jesus came into the world to do his Father's business. He came to teach and preach and die for the sins of mankind (John 3:16; 1 Cor. 15:1­4). His "food" while on earth was to do his Father's will (John 4:34­38). The Savior succinctly summed up his business at the house of Zacchaeus when he said, "The Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).

The business of every disciple of Christ is the same as that of the Savior! We must be about the Father's business. This means that we must be busy seeking and saving the lost. Before he left earth, the crucified, resurrected Lord commanded, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). Every Christian in every generation has the responsibility and the privilege of walking in the Lord's footsteps. His business is our business (2 Tim. 2:2). The blood­bought body, the church, is given the business of being "the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15). The church of Christ must defend and extend "the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).

After more than 40 years of observing the church in many parts of our land and overseas, it is my conclusion that most congregations can be placed in one of two categories. On the one hand, there are those congregations whose spiritual overseers understand the Father's business. They lead the flock among which they labor in saving souls at home and abroad. Such congregations are usually united, loving and growing. Their zeal for lost souls at home is expressed in helping take the gospel to those in other places. Rod Rutherford They do not stockpile funds in savings accounts or certificates of deposit. They understand their resources are committed to them to be used in the Master's business and that any "emergency situation" which might arise can usually be taken care of with a special appeal.

On the other hand, there are congregations that have confused the Father's business with worldly business. The concept their overseers have of their work is that of business managers whose chief purpose is to maintain the building and grounds and keep a healthy bank account. Their lack of faith in the Lord's promises and their ignorance of what the church is all about are apparent in their financial practices. I have encountered a good number of churches through the years that have accounts ranging from several thousand to several hundred thousand dollars. They will not turn loose of it for saving lost souls. When challenged to justify holding on to such large amounts, they contend that it is necessary in case of some unforeseen and unspecified emergency.

Friends what about the church in which you have membership? What business is it in? Is it doing the Father's business with the Father's funds? Is it using the money contributed to seek and save the lost? Or, has the church been turned into a banking business? May the time quickly come when it can never be said of any church that wears the name of Christ is merely in the banking business. Let us all be busy in the Father's business committing our time and resources to the saving of lost souls. Only this will pay eternal dividends.

Published August 1997