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Our Father’s Business

November 16, 2014

“Christ in the Temple” by Heinrich Hofmann, Photo by Bradley Slade, Riverside Church, NY (PD-ArtlPD-Age-100)

Years ago, as I was passing by a schoolyard on a winter’s evening, the sight of a solitary young boy playing basketball caught my attention.

It was beginning to snow, but the boy seemed unaware of the weather, despite his thin jacket. By the light of a nearby street lamp, I could see an expression of intense concentration on his face. Tirelessly, he shot for the hoop, retrieved and dribbled the ball, then shot again.

Anyone could tell that he loved the game.

Still, I wondered why he wasn’t in a warm room somewhere, having supper with his brothers and sisters at a noisy table. I wondered if his mother wasn’t worried about him, anxious for his welfare. Perhaps she knew from past experience that she could always find him on the court.

While on a trip to Jerusalem with Joseph and Mary, the child Jesus was inadvertently left behind in the city, causing great consternation. He was found three days later in the temple, listening to and questioning the teachers there.

Asked by His earthly parents why He had caused them such concern, Jesus replied:

Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2: 49).

The statement was an early declaration of Jesus’ divinity. While we can make no such claim ourselves, we, too, should be about our Father’s business.

What then is that business? Surely, the God Who made men and women with all variety of abilities and vocations did not intend that we restrict our service to Him to a single sphere of human endeavor. He does not favor prelates over plumbers or stockbrokers over street sweepers.

What prelates, plumbers, stockbrokers, street sweepers, and the rest of us have in common is that we all fall short of the holiness of God. Yet God loves us unreservedly. His greatest desire is to restore our relationship with Him. We might, therefore, say that God is in the Salvation business.

Our role is to know, and serve God; to love Him and our neighbor, then demonstrate that love in every aspect of our lives. While we are to obey God’s law, we cannot merely complete a checklist, and walk away satisfied that we have met our obligations. That is the legalism the Pharisees practiced, the legalism Jesus despised. It misses the whole point.

God’s love for us is more than a matter of points to be accumulated on a scoreboard. It is transformative, changing us from the inside out.

For my part, I want to be like that boy in the schoolyard. Clear about what God wants from my life, and focused on doing His will…for love.



From → Christian, Faith, Religion

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