By Paschal Chisom Obi
Today, God needs dedicated workers who are willing to follow Him to the end. The work of Jesus is a work of the cross. Christians are followers of Christ, and the work of a Christian is also a work of the cross. Those who live according to the flesh cannot be included in this kind of work, because there is nothing to please their feeling. They can only follow the Lord to a certain point and then retreat.
However, many people work for different reasons. Some work for the Lord only when the work is flourishing, when the work suits their interests, and when their feelings are not hurt. Hence, only those who live entirely for God can work for God. For instance, if a person wants to be skillful in football, music or language, his personal life must step aside to make room for a higher level of commitment and sacrifice. This same principle applies to being an effective strategic tool for God; our personal ambitions must step aside so that God can fill us with His.
Sometimes we are so busy with life's activities that we fall in the danger of allowing the light of our spiritual life to be extinguished. Love for money, self-gratification and over familiarity can make us forget the Lord of the work. I recently came across a saying which goes thus: “as you do the work of God, never forget the God of the Work.” Doing God's work with our own strength leads to what Fr. Joseph Kentenich calls 'mechanistic thinking.'
Our Master; Jesus, never lose sight of the Father of the work who sent Him. The will of God was the source of all He did. In Christ, we see an unceasing dependence on the Father. These were his words, “My treasure is to do the will of my Father in heaven, and to accomplish His work. I must work the works of Him that sent Me. I have glorified Thee on the earth; I have finished the work You gave Me to do and now, O Father, glorify Me with Thyself.”(cf.John.5:34)!
This day, Christ's Church and the world are in distress, not only because so many of its members are not working for God, but because so much working for God is done without acknowledging God. The great majority of those who are baptized are not doing much towards making Christ known to their fellow men. And so, with a finished redemption, and a Church set apart to care for souls, millions are still perishing.
Hence, every baptized Christian is to be a worker for God, without which the evangelization of the world cannot be accomplished. Christ encourages every Christian worker with the promise that God will do whatever the worker asks (cf.John.14:12-14). Christ keeps watch over the work He has left to be done on earth. Since, Christ's heart is in His work, let us, the bearers of Christ's work, not disappoint Him nor deceive ourselves, so as not to end up like the fool in the parable of the five talents, who hid the master's treasure (Matt. 25:14).
Nevertheless, spiritual gifts are needed in doing the work of God. Supernatural empowerment is given by the Holy-Spirit to the followers of Christ so that they can do the work of building up the body of Christ, that is, the church (cf.1.Cor.14:26). These gifts operates through obedience, love and humility. Hence, priests and servants of God should be animated with humility and Divine Spirit of love, while doing the work of life and redemption of souls (cf.Gal.5:6, 13).
Since it is the work of God, let God be glorified in our deed. For we are only a servant and an instrument for our Lord (cf.2.Cor.4:7). Therefore, in every work we do, it is to be Christ using us and working through us.
There is a reward usually attached to every work, but there is no service where the reward is as rich as that of God. There is no higher fellowship with God than fellowship in His saving work of love. Therefore, let our aim be nothing less than to live entirely devoted to the work of God in winning souls for Him. Like the tree planted along the water side, he who does the will of God will ever be fruitful and his branches will always grow from strength to strength. Christ also, will perfect His work in him. Let not our weaknesses hinder us.
On a final note, while doing the work of God, problems will come, endure it. Pride will come, serve obediently. Praises will come, be humble. Pope Francis posits that God provides the power we need through the Holy Eucharist, the Scriptures, and Prayer. Thus, let us not grow weary in good works, for the 'God of the harvest takes cognizance of whatsoever good one does and will never leave His workers empty handed (cf.Gal.6:9). The harvest is plenty, but the labourers are few.
Paschal Chisom Obi
Schoenstatt Fathers, Ibadan. 08164652058
Paschal Obi writes from SS.Peter &Paul Catholic Church, Nyanya, Abuja.