It’s a relief to know that God has given us certain work. I’m responsible to get that work done, but I can then ignore a lot of things that aren’t my work.
- I’m responsible to know and love God. It’s my daily work and joy to cultivate my love for God and to know him and serve him better. He’s given me resources that I want to use for his glory.
- I’m responsible to my family. I’ve promised to love my wife, and God has given me children (and now a grandson) to love and serve.
- I’m part of a church. We have a membership covenant. I’ve bound myself to follow God and to keep the promises I’ve made to the other members of my church.
- I’m an elder. I made certain promises to the church. I’m responsible to God to shepherd the flock that is among me (1 Peter 5:2-3).
- I have a vocation. My paid role comes with a job description. I’m responsible to get that work done.
- I encounter people every day. I’m called to love my neighbors.
This is the work that God has given me to do. It’s challenging work; I don’t need more than this. But it’s noble work, and God has given me his Spirit to help me.
But there’s other work that I’m free to ignore.
- I don’t have to enter every controversy.
- I don’t have to follow every news story.
- I don’t have to have an opinion about every issue.
- I don’t have to police every church.
- I don’t have to keep up with every book, blog, social media post, or podcast.
- I don’t have to follow every scandal within the church.
- I don’t have to build a platform or become well-known.
- I don’t even need to listen to everyone’s opinion.
One day, we’ll all have to give account to God for the work that God has entrusted to us. The work he’s given us is challenging enough that we don’t need to worry about work that isn’t ours to do.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to do additional work. By all means, read the news. Go on social media. Form and express opinions. Just remember that you don’t have to, and that sometimes these things that aren’t your work can distract you from the things that actually are.
Knowing my work helps me with focus and contentment. I know where to direct my energies. It also allows me to be, as Francis Schaeffer said, “quiet before the face of the Lord.” He explains:
Quietness and peace before God are more important than any influence a position may seem to give, for we must stay in step with God to have the power of the Holy Spirit. If by taking a bigger place our quietness with God is lost, then to that extent our fellowship with Him is broken and we are living in the flesh, and the final result will not be as great, no matter how important the larger place may look in the eyes of other men or in our own eyes. Always there will be a battle, always we will be less than perfect, but if a place is too big and too active for our present spiritual condition, then it is too big.
Some things are our work. Some things aren’t. It’s important to know the difference, and to live in line with what God has called us to do.