Going Out Of Business

Have we “sold out” to an earthly purpose for living in order to embrace a Divine Purpose for life?

Rate this:

He left there and returned to his hometown. His disciples came along. On the Sabbath, he gave a lecture in the meeting place. He made a real hit, impressing everyone. “We had no idea he was this good!” they said. “How did he get so wise all of a sudden, get such ability?” But in the next breath they were cutting him down: “He’s just a carpenter—Mary’s boy. We’ve known him since he was a kid. We know his brothers, James, Justus, Jude, and Simon, and his sisters. Who does he think he is?” They tripped over what little they knew about him and fell, sprawling. And they never got any further. (Mark 6:1-3, The Message)

Going Out Of Business Sale!  We see such signs so often that we don’t pay much attention to them (until it says “75-90% Off!”).  But in an obscure dot on the map town like Nazareth, it was probably very noticeable.  There on the corner of Jezreel Street and Cedars of Lebanon Lane was the Carpenter Shop.  They always thought it would be there.  His father ran it before him, as did his father. All assumed he would eventually get married (if Mary was any kind of a mother, he would) and his son would continue the family business.  Need a new platter for Passover this year?  Go to the Carpenter’s Shop.  Chair broken because Uncle Jethro has a tendency to eat way too much charoset?  Go to the Carpenter’s Shop.  Need a new dining room suite?  Well, you get the idea.

But then there is that sign:  Going Out Of Business Sale!  They wonder what could be more important than being a carpenter?  But He knows!  He knows his purpose is not to make oxen yokes, but to show humanity that His yoke is easy and his burden light.  He knows his purpose is not to repair plow handles, but to show the world you don’t need to look back, but look forward to be a part of God’s Kingdom.  He knew His purpose wasn’t to make dining room tables, but to build a table where all kinds of people are made to feel welcome, especially broken people; it is broken people who need the broken bread. 

His purpose was not to make another platter for the roasted lamb at Passover, but to become the Passover Lamb and in one single act for all time and eternity to pay the penalty for our sin and folly.  His purpose wasn’t found in the wood pile at the Carpenter’s Shop in Nazareth, but on two rough beams of wood on a hillside outside Jerusalem!  He knew His purpose!  And when he went to His home synagogue and those with whom He had lived with for nearly 30 years rejected His “new” vocation, He refused to give up.            

And what about us?  Have we “sold out” to an earthly purpose for living in order to embrace a Divine Purpose for life?  Any vocation becomes a holy vocation when we do it with only one objective in mind:  To make the love of Jesus known!  Whether we are a cashier or construction worker, sales associate or security guard, a C.E.O. or a PTA Mom—each of us has the wonderful opportunity to make our vocations holy.  It happens when we live our ordinary daily lives with the sense that God is with us and that He wants to use our ordinary life to express His love and grace in extraordinary ways.  Go about your Monday (and Tuesday and Wednesday and…) not with a sense of dread (Oh Lord, it’s Monday) but with the sense of power that comes from purpose. 

Now go and love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to HIM!

2 thoughts on “Going Out Of Business

  1. Well said, sir.

    Are you familiar with Luther’s doctrine of vocation? He came to the same conclusion – that all vocations are God-given and there is no distinction (in God’s eyes) between the so-called “holy” vocations (priest, monk, nun, etc.) and the humbler, everyday vocations that most of us occupy.

    Luther rightly pointed out that it is primarily *through our vocations* that we serve one another.

    I am a mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a neighbour and a volunteer worker. This is where God has placed me in life and these are my vocations. My love and service in each of these vocations is going to look different from one vocation to the next; for example, it would be very natural for me, in my role as mother, to tuck my kids in and kiss them goodnight at bedtime, but it would be just creepy if I started going around tucking in all my neighbours’ kids the same way! That’s simply outside of my vocation as “neighbour”.

    In all of our vocations, we are to perform our service as if unto the Lord. (That’s in Phillipians, I think. I’m too lazy to look it up…) This implies to me (though I may be wrong) that the Lord sanctifies our service when it is done as if unto Him. In this way, even the lowliest service to another – changing a child’s poopy diaper, for example – is elevated to holy service.

    To serve another according to one’s vocation is to literally be God’s Hand in and to the world. It’s not the only way He shows up, but it’s one of the primary ways he works in the world – through us, in our every day vocations. The baker bakes his bread and the hungry eat. We rightly say this is God’s provision and give the glory to Him.

    The beauty of this doctrine is that it points us away from self and orients us back towards God and others, and we begin to understand the place of good works in the Christian life.

    There is no benefit to God to our good works. God does not actually have NEED of our good works…but our neighbour surely does!

    And so the Christian, when he is serving according to his vocation, never really “goes out of business” – he is actually going about his business – that of doing God’s good works out in the world, for the world, to the glory of God.

    This is such a comforting, freeing thought! There is no need for me to seek out “good works” – I need only look to see who God has placed before me to know what, according to my vocation, He would have me do. I may simply go about my day, serving – and being served by – others, as God places them before me.

    If you are faithfully going about your various vocations, you are doing God’s high, holy work. He promises to sanctify it and use it for good. What a comfort that is for terrified consciences!

    It can be tempting to think that our everyday actions don’t matter, that in order to do something pleasing to God it must be super-spiritual. The doctrine of vocation turns this on its head and insists that it ALL matters – that even the smallest kindness, when done unto the Lord – is every bit as holy an act as…well, the most pious thing we can imagine!

    May we always be about the business of serving others, as unto the Lord!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.