Suppose the coach of your favorite team were to call you out of the blue and invite you to meet with him (or her) and the staff to discuss preparations for the upcoming game. You’d be beyond shocked, right? But if the offer were genuine, you’d probably be highly honored to be asked to participate in the important strategy session.
Or what if the President of the United States, or the governor of your state, were to contact you and request that you meet personally to develop action steps for addressing issues of special interest to you – and you knew it was a serious offer, not a patronizing gesture? Again, you’d consider it a great honor to receive such an opportunity.
Years ago, many U.S. companies instituted a “participative management” strategy – some called it a “quality circle” – enabling frontline workers to take an active role in corporate decisions directly affecting how they did their jobs. In many cases, this approach had a very positive impact on both employee morale and productivity.
In reality, however, many of us feel that the likelihood of being included in such important actions is very low. Who wants us to be involved in what the “big shots” are doing, right?
Good news: Everyone who is a follower of Jesus Christ has in fact received such an invitation. It’s one that transcends the realm of athletics, government, business and any other earthly endeavor. What am I talking about? Read it for yourself: “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9).
Fellow workers with God? Sounds incredible, but it’s true. The Creator of the universe doesn’t operate solo. He wants His people to take part in the action, to serve as His arms and feet in accomplishing much of the work He intends to get done.
It all began in the opening chapter of Genesis, when the Lord delegated responsibilities to humankind. “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature…. I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food’” (Genesis 1:28-29).
Some theologians term this the “cultural mandate,” God’s directive for men and women to serve as faithful stewards of all He has created. So, when people engage in discussions about the environment, preserving the natural beauty of everything around us, and caring compassionately for both people and animals, we’re only pursuing the work the Lord has entrusted to us.
But there’s more: We all know that we’re finite beings with limited lifespans. As Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 states, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die….” An important question is, ‘Then what?’ We’re born, we live for a specific span of time, and we die. Then what?
The answer to this question is enfolded in another initiative the Lord has assigned to His followers: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Jesus also addressed this in what is commonly referred to as His Great Commission, recorded in Matthew 28:19-20. Just before ascending to heaven, He instructed His disciples to “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
To serve as Christ’s ambassadors, to develop young believers into mature disciples who will reproduce themselves spiritually is a weighty responsibility. No doubt about that. But this has been happening for 2,000 years all around the globe, although it will never be reported on the evening news.
If this charge seems daunting, even overwhelming, we can take heart knowing the Lord hasn’t left us to fend for ourselves. He concluded His commission by offering the assurance that “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
In addition, Jesus said they could rely on the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, for wisdom, guidance and strength: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26).
Isn’t this amazing? We might never receive a phone call or text from a famous football coach enlisting our help in developing a game plan. A top elected official may never contact us to seek our counsel on important matters. The CEO of our company probably won’t invite us to a high-level planning session.
But God, who created the earth and everything in it, not to mention the entire universe, wants to be His “fellow workers,” partnering with Him – having a part in the action of accomplishing His eternal purposes. Think about that!
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Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly published, ”Marketplace Ambassadors”; “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into more than 20 languages and sent via email around the world by CBMC International. The address for his blog is www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.