"Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he." — Genesis 6:22
I believe that all Christians have a special assignment from God. All believers are part of the spiritual Body of Jesus Christ, so we are His arms, legs, ears, and mouths. The only way the lost and dying world will see Jesus is through His spiritual Body as we believers walk and work outside of the four walls of our churches and into our communities. God will give us many special assignments in our lifetime, and in some cases He gives us a big or a major assignment that will totally disrupt our life.
In the case of Noah, God told him to do the unthinkable. He told Noah to build a giant boat on dry land, a land that had never seen rain before. It took him over 100 years to build the ark, and I can’t imagine the opposition, the ridicule, the mocking and scorn that Noah must have endured during this long season of being faithful and obeying what God asked him to do. God called Noah a preacher of righteousness, letting us know that as Noah built the ark he must have preached many sermons, warning the people of the coming judgment and calling them to repent.
"And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;" — II Peter 2:5
Most people think a great leader is someone with a great following. But if that were the case, then Hitler, one of the most wicked people the world has ever known, would be considered a great leader. In my books Noah was a great leader because he did the right thing. Yes, Noah only had seven followers, but he did the right thing. I am sure that the many people to whom Noah preached called him a big failure, a fool, a crazy man, and worse, as in the entire 100 years of labor, he didn’t win any new converts to his cause. Only his seven family members got on the ark with Noah when it was time to enter the ark. But believe me when I say that when the waters started rising and when the people realized that the door was shut that many of them became believers as they watched their friends, family, and ultimately their own lives drown in the floodwaters. Noah’s obedience, faith, and righteousness condemned the world who shunned and rejected the Word of the LORD that was preached by Noah.
"By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." — Hebrews 11:7
Jesus said that the days prior to His coming will be like it was in the days of Noah. People were wicked and perverse, and their imagination was evil continually, just as it is in today’s world in which we live.
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." — Matthew 24:35-39
The thing that jumps out at me about the above Scriptures is that heaven and earth will pass away, but the Word of God shall never pass away; it shall endure forever. Understanding the brevity of life and the temporal nature of all created things should focus our minds on eternity. James said it well by comparing life here on earth to a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
"Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that." — James 4:13-15
We all have only a short time remaining on this earth. No matter how old we are now or how much longer we may live, our time on earth is extremely short when compared to eternity. Another fact to consider is that we all will give an account for everything we think, say, and do while we are living in these human bodies as we walk on planet earth.
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." — II Corinthians 5:10
We should live our lives with an awareness that every choice counts. Every thought, word, and deed matters to God and is important. Nothing we do or say is irrelevant to God. We are eternal created beings, created for God’s glory, honor, and pleasure. We are here for Jesus, and everything we do or don’t do matters to Him. Jesus is our Creator and our Redeemer; therefore, He owns us twice. He created us out of His Blood Life, and He redeemed us out of His Life’s Blood.
In fact, Jesus died on the cross and saved us from our sins so that we ultimately would be reconciled to God through Him, so that we would one day come under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and become His faithful servants, doing only what the Master asks or desires us to do. Therefore, we need to become aware that Jesus has something for us to do for Him, on His behalf, each and every day of our lives. It is imperative that we learn to hear the voice of Jesus clearly so that we can obey Him each and every day He grants us to live on planet earth. Once our time is up and God calls us home, then our opportunity to obey Him by our own free will shall be gone. We get only one shot at life on this earth, so we need to get it right the first time.
In the book of Matthew, there is another picture of Jesus judging people after their times on earth have expired, separating the sheep from the goats. He paints a very clear picture of some of the things that He wants us to do while we are living on this earth. It is obvious that He wants us to reach out to the poor and needy and love and help the people that nobody else is loving or helping.
"When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: Naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me. Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred, and fed Thee? or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me." — Matthew 25:31-40
The Apostle John writes a blistering truth when he calls into question whether or not the love of God is really in the heart of someone who will not reach out and help someone in need.
"But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth." — I John 3:17,18
Jesus compared someone who hears His Word and obeys to a man that builds his house on a rock, and He compared someone who hears and disobeys to a man who builds his house on sand.
"And why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great." — Luke 6:46-49
The Apostle James says we should continue in the Word and be a doer of the work. It is interesting that obeying the Word of God means doing the work of God.
"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." — James 1:22-27
When the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he told them to abound in the work of the Lord.
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." — I Corinthians 15:58
Paul then speaks of his student Timothy who works the work of the Lord.
"Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do." — I Corinthians 16:10
In Colossians, Paul wrote from a Roman jail cell, asking them to get a message to Archippus,
And say to Archippus, “Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you.” — Colossians 4:17 (NLT)
It is obvious to me that all members of the spiritual Body of Christ have a ministry or a particular calling of God for their lives. All Christians have different gifts of the Spirit and different talents, skills, and abilities. We are all are a part of one Body, but we as individuals are all unique and different. God calls each of us to do His work while we are on this earth. It is not enough not to be guilty of the sins of commission, but it is equally important to not be guilty of sins of omission. What are we not doing that God is asking us to do? This is the big question that we should all be asking ourselves. What is God calling or asking you to do? To whom does He want you to reach out with love and kindness? What is your niche or what is your special assignment from the Lord?
I have previously thought that my purpose on earth was to continue to learn or to continue my spiritual education. Then when trials and tribulations or pain and suffering came my way, I thought that this was all about me learning my lesson. It was all about me seeing my flesh, repenting, and turning back to God in a greater way as I passed through each experience. Today, I still believe that; but that is only half of the story. The reality is that not only am I to continue to be a student of Jesus Christ, but I also am to take what I have learned from Him into the World and share it with others. It is not enough that we just keep learning theory, but we are to go into the World and share the Gospel with others. We are to reach out to needy people and offer them the love of Jesus. We are to do the will of God and not our own will. We are to do what God has called or asked us to do. We are all called to Evangelizing to Discipleship.
Yes, I am aware that Noah was probably the only person that God ever asked to build a boat that would take over 100 years to build, but thank God that Noah obeyed because if he would have rebelled, the entire population of the human race would have been destroyed. In the Bible, we see that God asked many difficult things out of a lot of common ordinary people.
- Abraham was asked to offer up his son Isaac.
- Moses was asked to confront Pharaoh and lead God’s people out of Egypt.
- Joshua was asked to lead them into the Promise Land.
- Gideon was asked to go to war with only 300 soldiers.
- Shamgar was asked to kill 600 Philistines with an ox goad.
- Ruth was called to follow her mother-in-law back to Bethlehem.
- David was asked to kill a giant.
- Esther was asked to risk her life to save her people.
- Nehemiah was asked to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem.
- Ten of the twelve original disciples were asked to spread the Gospel to the world and then die a martyr's death.
- The apostle Paul was asked to take the Gospel to the Gentiles, and while doing so, he would suffer greatly for the LORD’s Name sake.
Archippus had a ministry given to him by the Lord. I am not sure what the ministry was, but it was important enough for Paul to write in his letter to the Colossians to make sure that they tell him to carry out the ministry of the Lord. In a letter that was to become part of the Holy Bible, it is amazing to me that Paul would send this man a message. It shows me how important Archippus’s ministry was to God.
God used a lot of ordinary people to do extraordinary things for His kingdom. I only write here of a handful of people who had a work to do in this lifetime for the LORD, but the Bible is full of such accounts. There are hundreds of examples of people who simply trusted God enough to obey Him, even if it put their life at risk or in danger.
What is Jesus asking of you today? What do you feel that your ministry is? What is the work that Jesus is asking you to do? If you don’t know, then I urge you to fast and pray. Seek the LORD while He may be found. Humble yourselves; draw near to God so that He may draw near to you. Jesus is speaking to you, but you have to get your ears clean in order to hear His voice. What is Jesus asking you to do?
Maybe your ministry is just to go and visit lonely people or go to the hospital and pray with someone. Maybe you are to go and clean your neighbor's yard or haul off his trash. Maybe it is to buy someone a meal or bring someone to church. Maybe you are to preach the Gospel on the street corner or visit someone in jail. Maybe you are to lead a prayer meeting, or maybe you are to fast one day a week and be the prayer warrior God is calling you to be. Maybe you are to help in the thrift store or give away Bibles on the streets of Portland. Maybe you are to be a greeter at church. Or maybe you are to teach a children’s class. Maybe you are to use this season in your life to be a great Bible student because God is preparing you to be sent out to share His Word. Maybe you should send an inspiring anointed text message out every day to your friends and acquaintances. Maybe God is calling you to be a small group leader. Maybe you should write a blog. Maybe you should work harder at your job in order to be a better testimony for Jesus.
Maybe. Maybe not. I’m not going to even suggest that I know what God wants you to do with your life. It is your responsibility to find the will of God. You don’t need me or any other pastor to tell you what the will of God is for you, because we have a perfect Mediator between us and God: Jesus Christ. He wants to instruct you, lead you, and guide you. In fact, He wants an amazing relationship with you so that He can whisper in your ear, and you will simply respond, "Yes, Lord, I will do what You ask."
My entire goal and objective for 2016 is simply to hear the voice of Jesus and then to obey Him. No matter what He may ask, I want to say “Yes, Lord, I will do whatever it is that You want me to do.”