I opened my Bible this morning to the verse in Luke 2:49 in which Jesus said to His parents, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”
Jesus even as a child put a higher priority on “His Father’s Business” than on the concerns of his parents. The Scripture does tell us later that Jesus returned with His parents and lived subject to them. I’m glad that is there, otherwise I’m sure there would be some kind of movement for children and teenagers to despise their parent’s authority – even in Christian circles. But this is not the main point I want to bring out of the passage above.
You and I, if we are spiritually regenerate people, adopted into God’s family, have the same Father as Jesus. In fact Jesus said to his disciples in John 20:17 “I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God.” So now we have the same spiritual Father as Jesus. The question then arises: “Must we, as children of the Father, share the perspective of Jesus that “we must be about our Father’s business”?”
I suppose when we are first born of the Spirit, we actually have very few correct ideas about exactly what “our Father’s business is”. When my children came into the world, they didn’t know much. They had no idea that I was working in Christian media, or as a real estate agent, or whatever it was I was doing at the time. They didn’t understand my business or know what it was. But over time, they start to understand.
Jesus was 12 years old when he said these words. He was old enough to know what His Father’s business was.
Are we old enough in Christ to understand what Our Father’s Business really is? If we aren’t ready to understand what it is, then we can’t really be expected to “be about it”.
Jesus said to his disciples after the resurrection, again in John 20, this time in verse 21: “As the Father sent me, so I send you”.
Before Jesus could say that to us personally though, we would need to have a real understanding of the dynamics of what it meant in the life and mission of Jesus to be sent by the Father.
In our personal relationship with God, after we have spent some time in the presence of God, learning to live well with the Holy Spirit, we too will ultimately be qualified by God to understand the meaning of those words and take up the call to mission they imply. That is what I believe. However, before we can do that in a full sense, we must also allow our own lives to be recipients of what the Father’s business provides people with. You ought to feed on the “product” before you can provide it to others effectively. This is true even though sometimes we can go beyond what we have personally experienced – because God Himself is ultimately the one who supplies the Spirit. But this scenario is not always the best. Its obviously better to receive God’s peace before you try to preach on it.
What is “Our Father’s Business”?
Tell me what you understand it to be. I will also tell you what I understand by it.
Our Father is into the restoration of His family, and spiritual fellowship. He is looking for children who are compatible to fellowship with Him at higher levels. We are all in a growing and learning process, and this will continue for us also after we die and go to heaven, and then in the New Heavens and the New Earth after we receive resurrection bodies. We will continue to grow in our capacity to know God, to love, to serve, to learn and to fellowship and rejoice in the goodness of God.
The problem we face is all this sin and all these demons running around trying to spoil everything. They are bringing bondage, enslavement, hurt, pain, sickness, death and hardness of heart by whatever means they can, purely out of hatred for God. So Jesus came for the purpose of destroying the works of the devil. “For this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).
Part of “Our Father’s Business” then is destroying the works of the devil. This involves casting out demons, not following the pressure of Satan’s agents, resisting the devil in prayer, and with the Word, and so on. Jesus did this, and we are called to do it.
There is no lack of demons to resist.
Another part of “our Father’s business” is healing. Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit and power, and he went about doing good and HEALING all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him (Acts 10:38).
I refer you to the teaching on divine healing on this site for more information.
All of these things are really related to the provision of PEACE. Peace in Hebrew is “Shalom” and it is a big word encompassing the well-being that God desires for His children. Since “there is no peace for the wicked” (Isaiah 57:21), God’s agenda includes calling on people to forsake wickedness. If they ultimately refuse, there will be no further chances. They will suffer loss forever. We have to warn people about this terrifying possibility.
The foundation for people receiving Peace is in their receiving JESUS, because “He Himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14). So as we go about our Father’s business, our agenda is to persuade people to receive JESUS, who is PEACE, who is the Prince of Peace. This is evangelism. We are to have our “shoes shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15) as part of “taking up the whole armor of God”. This means we have to make sure we are in God’s peace, and ready to share not only the message of peace, but also Peace itself, with all who are willing to receive it / Him.
Must we be About Our Father’s Business?
If indeed what is described above IS “Our Father’s Business” then to what extent “must we be about it”?
I want to state here that “the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh so that ye may not do the things that ye will” (Galatians 5:17). To actually be about the Father’s business means many times laying down our own will. It did for Jesus. He said, “I do not seek my own will but the will of the Father who sent me”. We need to recognize God’s purpose for our lives during those moments where we would perhaps rather indulge our self-interests or run from the demanding implications of His leading at that time.
If we want to be “full of the Spirit” and maintain this, we are going to need to say “No” to ourselves on a daily basis and instead make ourselves available to God. As well as this, if we are entrepreurial types, we need to stop thinking about all the ways we could make money and surrender it all at the feet of Jesus. We need to say, “You are the Lord. I will follow you. Speak Lord, for your servant hears”. I find in my own life that God gives me enough commercial work if I seek His Kingdom first. If I go all out to “make money for the Kingdom” I rarely if ever enjoy God’s blessing. You ask God about this in your own life. Everyone’s situation is different. But similar principles apply.
I could wish that the church today could accelerate its mission by actually putting financial resources in the hands of grass-roots level evangelists who plant churches. There is this assumption that “bigger is better” and certain leaders seem to enjoy gathering all the resources they can towards the self-promotion of their ministries. That is another subject. But the model assumed by such men is that as much as possible, it is everyone else’s job to go out there and MAKE MONEY FOR THE KINGDOM, and then bring it into THEIR “storehouse” so that THE INFLUENCE OF THE LEADER [alone] grows. Nothing else matters. But this is a strategy that will never result in every man coming into the fullness of the measure of the stature of Christ, which is what the “five-fold” ministry is supposedly all about (see Ephesians 4:11-13).
How can preachers preach this message of being about the Father’s business to their people if all they really want is money and attendance? They can’t, and they won’t. Yet, it is God’s desire. He has a business. He can provide for those who are engaged in it. We must trust Him. It doesn’t mean forsaking all secular employment or business where we are of practical service to society. Neither does it mean baptizing our jobs and businesses as Christian so we can neglect God’s stated agenda in the Bible and concentrate more on what we really like doing. I believe it is being in this place of peace with God, in a place of fullness of the Holy Spirit as much as we can, and then intentionally making Christ known to others and endeavouring to persuade others to receive HIM as their Peace also, with all that implies.
With this purpose in mind, it makes plenty of sense to study and meditate on God’s word, to pray much, and to learn to speak to and with others effectively. It all makes plenty of sense once you have really laid down your life so you can be about “Our Father’s Business”.
Let me know if God has spoken to you through this and how you see God getting you involved in His Business.