Our Life’s Work

“Our life’s work is to model Jesus Christ, to glorify the Father and allow Him to bring us to Glory.”

Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing.

-Matthew 24:46

If we are to be found at work when the Lord arrives, perhaps we should consider what work Jesus is expecting us to be doing.

As part of his homily at a recent Mass, a priest offered the following counsel to his predominantly older congregation. “The idea of retirement,” he said, “is a purely secular concept, you will not find any such word in the Bible.”

His point was not that people should never retire from their secular occupations, or that they should not enjoy their later years, especially if they have worked hard and earned their rest. Rather, this wise old Priest, who could well have been retired himself, was referring to the work we are all called to throughout our lives.

Jesus is our model for the life’s work His Father asked of Him, and that Jesus now asks of us.

But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working still, and I am working.”

-John 5:17

Now we know Jesus worked as a carpenter with His earthly father Joseph. But that is not the work He speaks about in this Scripture verse. Rather, He is referring to the work He told His parents about when they found Him conversing in the Temple – at the young age of twelve.

After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.” And he said to them, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

Luke 2:41-49

By this, Jesus referred his duty to the work of the Father. This work, or business, is the work of converting hearts and minds. It is about calling people to a transformation and the sanctification of their lives through an encounter with the living God. Encountering the living God is what we call prayer. And this process of sanctification means to be made Holy, to allow ourselves to be formed in Holiness. We are called to be a Holy People.

You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 5:48

This is our life’s work, regardless of what our business card says or what other roles we play.

Now Jesus was teaching the teachers in the Temple is because the Temple is an analogy for our interior Temple – the place where the Holy Spirit dwells within each of us.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?

-1 Corinthians 6:19

Jesus promised He would send us a teacher to guide us in our work and lead us into all truth. The Holy Spirit does this work from deep within the interior of our souls, our earthly Temple.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 

-John 16:13

The work we are called to is not exclusively our secular occupation or even our works of charity. These were all given to us by God to allow us to accomplish our real life’s work.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

-Ephesians 2:10

Our individual works are the means for accomplishing the real work we are all called to. This is the very same work Jesus Himself was called to and accomplished during His earthly journey.

And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.

-John 17:19

Our life’s work is to model Jesus Christ, to glorify the Father and allow Him to bring us to Glory.

I glorified thee on earth, having accomplished the work which thou gavest me to do; and now, Father, glorify thou me in thy own presence with the glory which I had with thee before the world was made.

-John 17:4-5

It is never too late, in this life, to begin to accomplish our life’s work. For inspiration we might turn to a saying by Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who certainly accomplished her life’s work.

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.

-Saint Teresa of Calcutta

God Bless

Article Copyright © Deacon Mark Danis

Image credit: Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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