One of the things that made me cringe when I worked as a manager was when an employee would come to me with a new idea. Don’t get me wrong, I encouraged my staff to think creatively and come up with new ways to do things. I love the creative process.
However, every time I was approached by a staff person with a great new concept, I cringed inside, just a little. This cringe, pause, whatever you want to call it was the result of a phrase I had come to fear, “Somebody Oughta.” There are many different ways of saying this. For those that are the grammar perfectionists (You know who you are, and so do I!), it may sound more like “Somebody should,” or “If only someone would…” Whatever form it takes, the phrase means the same thing, “Somebody, other than me, should implement this fantastic idea.” This is why I cringe.
In this world, we all have million dollar ideas (OK, maybe more like $1.50 ideas, but you get the point). However, the urge is to dismiss them unless someone else – somebody with more influence, more time, more resources, more brain power, more hair – is willing to do the work. We are great at dreaming about how things should be, but terrible at following through with the work required to attain them.
It should come as no surprise that this attitude also translates to our Christian faith. We have great desires, ambitions, convictions, and even commands that we all know about. Yet, somehow, we don’t follow through with the work to attain those things. The problem is that we are spiritually lazy. We constantly think that somebody else, somebody who is wiser, more educated, a better speaker, or more outgoing should take on the load. While those of us who are timid, shy, and don’t have all the answers, cheer for them in the background.
Now, let me be very, very clear. Doing good work has nothing to do with earning your salvation. Instead, doing the work of God is a product of our salvation. Check out how Paul puts it in Ephesians 2:8-10:
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Notice that last part in verse 10. He saved us, created us anew, so that we can do the work God has called us to do. He is essentially saying, you are now part of Team Jesus. As part of this team, he will coach you, mentor you, love you, show you mercy, and save you. And, because of these things, he wants you to also help people join his team. In fact, one of his directions (that we tend to forget) is that he is asking you to share your testimony about Jesus Christ with others. Here it is, The Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20:
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
In addition to this, God even gives us a promise that will happen as a result of us following his direction. When everyone on our planet has heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then the end will come, and Jesus will be on his way to begin the greatest reunion in the history of the universe. Check out how Jesus, himself, put it is Matthew 24:14:
And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.
This is where the issue of “Somebody Oughta” comes into play. Instead of following the coach’s direction (Jesus), we instead try to pass off the work of sharing Jesus to professional evangelists and pastors. Essentially, we are saying, “We pay them to share the Gospel, after all. It’s their job to do this work, not mine.” However, it just isn’t true. Jesus asks each of us to share him with others. That is truth.
In actuality, the job of the pastor is far different than we think. The job of the pastor is to be the trainer for Team Jesus. Here is how Paul describes the job of pastor in Ephesians 4:11-12:
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
Oops! The job of pastors is to train us to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Why would this be?
Let’s look at it mathematically. There are approximately seven billion people current living on this planet. About one billion of them are professed Christians, leaving about six billion that have not accepted Christ as their savior. If each one of those professed Christians shared Jesus with six people, our work would be done. If there are only a few million pastors in the world, they would have to do 1,000 times more work just to reach the same number of people that we can if we share with six.
So, why is it so important for us to finish the work assigned to each of us? It’s two-fold. The gospel saves people. I’m not just talking about the privilege of going to Heaven. It also saves them from this life, this world.
Imagine for a moment how your outlook on life was before you fully accepted Christ. Mine was pretty dismal. I just wanted to keep my head down, stay out of trouble, and just get through life. There was no hope of something better. There was no promise that everything was going to turn out OK. Instead, I felt lost, confused, and scared. That all changed when I truly accepted Jesus as my savior, friend, God. This is what motivates me the most. I want others to feel the hope, peace, love, and acceptance that I found in Jesus Christ. I don’t want them to fear life anymore.
The second reason is awesome, too. When we finish our work, we get to go to Heaven. Just in case you forgot what Heaven will be like, let’s take a quick look. Here’s how John records it in Revelation 21:3-4:
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
It sounds like a really awesome place! We will live forever without any pain, sorrow, fear, or even death. It will be perfect. Additionally, Jesus is hooking us up with some major bling! John says it like this a little later in Revelation 21:18-23:
The wall was made of jasper, and the city was pure gold, as clear as glass. 19 The wall of the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve precious stones: the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.
21 The twelve gates were made of pearls—each gate from a single pearl! And the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass.
22 I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light.
All of this is waiting for us. Jesus is waiting for us to finish the work he assigned to each of us. Take some time today to pray for the courage to follow through. Pray for the Spirit to give you the words to share the gospel with your friends. Pray for those friends he places on your heart. And, then, follow-through. Let’s complete our work so we can go home.
Part of the calling in my life, in addition to sharing the gospel, is to equip others to follow God’s leading, and to equip them to share Jesus with their friends and family. If you feel like you are willing, but need help in following through, or even just want to get some tools you can use in sharing, join me at the REVOLUTION conference in Salem. This conference is specifically developed to help give Christians tools, inspiration, courage, and energy to bring the gospel message to the world.