1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
— John 17:1-4
PAUSE. Go back to verse 4 and read it slowly.
“I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.”
How many of us can say that?
How many Christians, at the end of their lives, will be able to say that to God?
There are two simple questions we will all have to ask ourselves:
1 – Have I glorified God?
2 – Have I finished the work He gave me?
In regards to the first question ‘have I glorified God?’, some of us will say “no”.
Rather they will say “I have glorified ME on earth: I have finished the work which I gave myself to do”.
In essence, we forget Who put us here and we build legacies for ourselves.
In regards to the second question ‘have I finished the work He gave me?’, some of us will say no.
Rather they will say “I have TRIED to glorify thee on earth: I STARTED the work which thou gavest me to do, but I did not complete it”.
In essence, we forget why we are here and we get distracted.
As a follower of Jesus, God has given you work to do – don’t forget that and don’t let anything distract you from it.
Do not forget Who (God) and do not forget Why (Work).
Some of us aren’t doing our work, but we’ve reached the highest pinnacles in our chosen careers.
Some of us aren’t doing our work, but we’ve gotten married, had a few children and a lot more grandchildren.
Some of us aren’t doing our work but we have done serious good around the world.
Some of us aren’t doing our work, but we’ve made serious money.
As I read John 17, I was reminded of The Parable of The Rich Fool in Luke 12. He had forgotten Who and Why, and he had his own ideas about why he was here. Verse 20 tells us what God thought of that….
So what IS the work God has given us? Good question – We find it back in John 17:3…
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
It couldn’t be clearer. Our work is encapsulated in this simple verse: to help people know God through Jesus Christ.
We can’t MAKE anybody know God. We can’t FORCE anyone to follow Jesus.
We can only share, point, direct, speak, promote, discuss, publicise, signpost, converse and any other verb you can think of.
THAT is the work we must do, the same work given to us in Mark 16:15, the work we know as ‘The Great Commission’.
I was so challenged by John 17 that I’ve decided to start a new 30 Day Evangelism Challenge: to share Jesus with at least one person per day. This is how I will keep myself focused on this work, and I want to encourage anyone who feels led to do the same.
My vision is a Church that is working for the Kingdom, and a Body that functioning well. Do not forget the work God has given you and do not let anything distract you from it, because when you do meet your Maker, will you be able to offer Him an excuse?
So why not set your own evangelism for this month of May. It could last for a week, or it might last throughout the year – whatever it is, it’s never too late to start. The way you carry out your work is between you and the Holy Spirit, but as followers of Christ, we cannot deny that this is our work to do.