Guest Post by Mark Lawson
About Our Father’s Business
Luke (2:41-52) contains the story of the twelve-year-old Jesus becoming “lost” to his parents after leaving Jerusalem and the feast of the Passover. Mary and Joseph return to Jerusalem, where, after three days, they find Jesus “in the temple,” surprising the teachers with his “understanding and answers.” Mary scolds Jesus, who seems surprised, and he reassures his mother that he is always about his “Father’s business.” It is as though Jesus could not conceive of any purpose or activity apart from God’s work or purpose, and he is amazed that anyone, especially Mary, could imagine his serving any other purpose. The Bible relates that “they understood not” what Jesus meant by his statement, but Mary “kept all these sayings in her heart.”
Later in life, Jesus heals a cripple at Bethesda (John 5:1-19), and in the process, he angers “the Jews,” who seek “to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.” Jesus seems surprised by the furor, and he explains simply: “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” In other words, God has set in motion the divine law that I must fulfill, because I am the expression of that law. The Jews seek “the more to kill him,” because he not only “breaks” the Sabbath, he claims that “God was his Father.” Again, seeming somewhat mystified by events but compelled by divine logic, Jesus says: “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” Jesus has no choice but to fulfill divine law and purpose.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “The divine nature was best expressed in Christ Jesus, who threw upon mortals the truer reflection of God and lifted their lives higher than their poor thought-models would allow, — thoughts which presented man as fallen, sick, sinning, and dying.” Thus, Jesus refused to let restrictive human thinking control his “work” or purpose. To the contrary, Jesus proved that each of us can demonstrate divine power to live up to our highest potential. He says (Matthew 5:48), “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
With this same perspective, we should approach our human jobs, which we may mistakenly consider to be our “work.” Whether we make widgets on an assembly line, build houses, practice law, or teach high school students, our “work” is always to be about our Father’s business, and that includes expressing honesty, industry, compassion, grace, and other God-like qualities. If we think that our “work” is merely a human job, we miss the point of Jesus’ teaching. Our “work” is to express God, just as Jesus did. Each of us is God’s expression, and we should strive to make this real in our lives.