You’d think Jesus would have known for sure the work God gave him to do, right? It makes total sense that if you buy he’s God’s Son, then he’d have understood the work God assigned him right from the start.
What do we see? Well, at age 12, he separates from his parents and hangs out in the Temple at Jerusalem and starts by asking wise questions, which eventually become teachings which leave the listeners amazed. At which point his parents find him and say, “What are you doing?” and he says, “But–didn’t you know I’d be in my Father’s house?”
I read that with a shocked tone of voice, as if he had no idea they’d be worried. But after that, he returns home with them, obeys them, learns and grows in grace, and waits another eighteen years.
Therefore it’s not just a matter of doing the work God wants you to do: it’s also a matter of doing it at the right time. Which, in my case, becomes a question of “Is God wanting me to write right now? When I still have my kids to raise?” See, that’s where it all becomes sticky.
We talked here before about how Satan only tempts us with good things, albeit good things we shouldn’t have. That’s why we want them, after all. Most of us aren’t distorted enough inside to want evil for the sake of evil, but most of us want good in a measure we’re not ready for yet, and which might get in the way of the good things God has planned.
In Jesus’s case, I can’t imagine how frustrating it must have been to have been growing in grace, not knowing how much more he had to grow (you never do: at the peak of your growth, you always think, “This is as high as it gets” until you peak again) and having wisdom to share but only sharing it with a hundred or so people who happened to be around him. Wondering if God would ever call him to preach to more, or whether the humbling work he had to do was simply to live his entire life in obscurity and not share what he had to share.
And THEN the call: time to set down the T-square and the hammer and head over to the Jordan to be baptized and preach to everyone.
The work God gave him and the time God had chosen.
God generally puts our work right in front of us. We generally look past it for the better work we know we’re capable of doing. But sometimes, the work God gave us to do is the laundry or putting a band-aid on an ouch. And when that happens, that’s the best work to be doing at the moment.
It’s also the toughest, I write as I look at two loads of unwashed laundry.