By: Gary L. Hutchens
The men and women who serve in our military truly are blessings to the rest of us in this nation. They willingly put their lives on the line to protect us from outside danger and to insure our freedom and security. And, the great majority of them receive an income for doing so that is far below what they could earn in the open job market. We should never take them for granted.
While some leave their branch of service after their initial enlistment is up, many go on to become career military. Upon completing the required number of years, they retire from active duty. But that does not necessarily mean they retire from the work force. A great many go on to pursue a second career.
Have you retired from active duty within the Lord’s church? A great many Christians have. They are no longer actively engaged in the work that God planned for His people to do. The apostle Paul wrote, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10). Thus, as Christians we are supposed to be workers in God’s kingdom, the church.
Unlike the military and many businesses in the private job market, there is no designated number of years after which Christians can rightly retire from active duty. Some may become largely incapacitated physically or mentally as a result of illness. Others may find it necessary to slow down somewhat due to limitations of age, but many of those are still actively involved in the work they are able to do.
In fact, a lot of Christians who have retired from their secular jobs find themselves with more time to work for the Lord and become even more involved than they had been before retirement. A group called “The Sojourners” are prime examples.
James was emphatic in identifying true faith as being working faith. “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (Jas. 2:17). Faith alone, without works, is dead faith. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (Jas. 2:26). These verses, and others, do not designate a time period after which we no longer need to put our faith into action through works.
Jesus said He came to “work the works of Him who sent Me…” (Jn. 9:4). Jesus had a mission to fulfill when He came to this earth. Central to that mission was establishing the church (Matt. 16:18). As the church we have a mission to teach the gospel throughout the world (Eph. 3:10). Jesus had work to do when He lived upon this earth, and we have work to do in serving Him while we are still alive on this earth.
So again, have you retired from active duty within the Lord’s church? Are you doing the “good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”? Are you using your time and abilities and opportunities to serve your Lord and Savior who “worked the works” He was sent here to do and died on the cross to pay the price for the guilt of your sins? Let us examine ourselves and always remain on active duty in service to God…
Gary L. Hutchens