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  • Writer's pictureJoni Topper

Heavenly Job Description

Updated: Sep 21, 2020

I recently had a conversation with the owner of a company. I knew he had just hired a new employee and I asked if things were going well for both of them. He expressed a little frustration and said he was not sure if it was going to be a good fit. Feeling the anxiety of this employer and drawing on my own work experience as an employee, I wondered if expectations were clearly defined. Sometimes we take on a task naively thinking we understand the goal.

As we are working for the kingdom of God, sometimes we also assume we know what the result of our labor should look like. The problem with this is as stated in Isaiah 55:9, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

One day during COVID19 season in 2020, I found myself frustrated by the seemingly simple task of watering the plants. The summer was the one of the hottest on record here. I had to reserve an early morning hour to tend the garden before the day melted into 100 degrees or more if I hoped to save some of my plants.

On this day, I prayed as I sprayed. “Lord, why am I stuck home watering plants? I should be doing something noble and great. Something that would benefit mankind, not just these plants.” The response I felt in my spirit from God was, “The first job I ever assigned mankind was to tend a garden. Who are you to decide this is not important?”

Those words have come to mind numerous times since then and they always affect me the same way. They cause me to reflect with humility. God knows that I long to be great in His kingdom. The question is, do I understand that the greatness I long for may not look great to anyone but God? After all, from his perspective, obedience is the assignment.

The Bible is riddled with stories of people who we consider having taken brave risks or bold actions. Sometimes they were acting deliberately for God. Sometimes God just used their actions for his divine purpose. Do you think that the prostitute who hid spies under the hay on her roof in return for safety in the midst of a siege was acknowledged by her piers as great? She was just trying to save her own life, but God used her actions in a great way. Was she great, or is God great? Perhaps her action would best be described as obedient.

What about the day you directed a friend away from a dangerous situation involving drugs because you knew they might feel trapped? Or the time you befriended someone whose loneliness had them considering suicide? Or the day you helped your spouse with a chore because you could see the day had them feeling defeated? Are these not acts of greatness or are they acts of obedience to be the hands and feet of Jesus?

As a disciple it is easy to get caught in the lie that I understand everything about a situation but that is seldom the case. That person you steered away from drugs may have a child at home who is going to desperately need their parent later that day. The lonely person could be the sole caretaker for someone who is ill. Your spouse may be rejuvenated in their spirit by your willingness to help bear the load. Are we the great one in any of these situations or is God the great one?

A friend recently expressed a strong desire to be noble on a Facebook post. She is in her 30’s. In a matter of minutes people chimed in who were in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s expressing that they longed for greatness as well. I realized these desires of our hearts are rich and full and they spur us on in our mundane moments. They spur us to more than our own self centered actions. Yet the truth is the greatness we tend to seek is that of our own name and the recognition we long for is from the world. Oh, that our hearts would seek the face of God rather than the applause of man.

May we live and move and breath in His likeness trusting that the desire of our heart to be great in God's kingdom will be fulfilled as we are obedient.

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