What Is God’s Work? – Sacred VS Secular

I find it rather disturbing how people refer to spiritual work as if it is only for a select few. The notion that certain work is only for priests, pastors, or missionaries. If we are honest, we all have our preconceived ideas about what is God’s work and what work is secular. Over time, we have all developed views through our experiences, through teaching, by reading, or by listening to others. If we examen our definition of a missionary as we did in Missions and Missionaries, as believers we must rethink what we view as God’s work? A good place to start would be to look at commonly held views of a missionary and their work. The best place I can think of to find such a view is the good old dictionary.

God’s Work According to Merriam-Webster

Let us refer back to Merriam-Webster’s definition for a moment of what a missionary is as I mentioned in the prior post, The Qualifications To Be A Missionary.

To Be a Missionary One Must:

  • Be sent to a foreign country.
  • Do religious work.
  • Be there to help the sick or poor.
  • Be convincing people to join a religion.

Three out of the four items listed in Merriam-Webster‘s definition inform us about God’s work, but they leave out the most important part of being a missionary. The mistake made here is leaving out why or what compels a missionary. A missionary and every follower of Jesus is compelled to act based on their relationship with God and their desire to follow Him. Let’s look at an example of this through Paul’s story in Acts 20.

“But there is another urgency before me now. I feel compelled to go to Jerusalem. I’m completely in the dark about what will happen when I get there. I do know that it won’t be any picnic, for the Holy Spirit has let me know repeatedly and clearly that there are hard times and imprisonment ahead. But that matters little. What matters most to me is to finish what God started: the job the Master Jesus gave me of letting everyone I meet know all about this incredibly extravagant generosity of God.

Acts 20:22-24 MSG

In this verse, I see Paul’s laser focus and sense of clarity and I smile in admiration. We often think missionaries are sent by a single church, a charitable organization, or simply the Church. The opposite is shown here in Acts 20. Paul went to Jerusalem based on a compulsion brought on by the Holy Spirit. There were no fundraisers or decisions made by committee. Paul walked with Jesus, with a level of intimacy I dream of experiencing. Paul new little about what his work would consist of, only that it would be rough, really rough.

God’s Work For Paul

Yet with all of the warning from the Holy Spirit, Paul didn’t stop to think twice about going. For Paul, God’s work was simple. He focused on the job ahead, to tell everyone about the extravagant generosity of God. Filled with such intent of fulfilling his God-given task, no questions about imprisonment ahead or how it would work out. No coin toss, no second guessing. No request for a sign, no proof needed, simply “yes.”

God’s Work For You

While I certainly believe the definition of God’s work will vary from one person to the next, we often discover God’s work for us in similar ways. Seek God and obey His call. Typically, we might do this by reading the Bible and through prayer. Sometimes, God chooses to reveal His calling for us through other people or experiences or both. So be ready and willing to listen by other means.

The work of a missionary is easily defined. Trust in God and follow Him.

The Takeaway

My rather blunt but hopefully challenging question for you today is this… Will you stop and honestly ask yourself if you have been viewing missions as someone else’s job? Do you feel unqualified to represent God?

God has called you to be his representative in your city, job, or school. Will you accept his calling on your life? If you do not already know where God is calling you, stop and ask God where or how he is calling you to represent him today. In what way, large or small, will you show the love of Jesus today?


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