By Pierce Brantley
Special to Inside The Pew
“Jesus, have pity on us!” they cried. Ten lepers, forced to distance themselves from the social settings of Samaria and Galilee, called out to Jesus as he traveled along the region’s outer border (Luke 17:11-14). They were quarantined. But Jesus still heard their voices echo through the Samarian Hills.
He healed each of them. But only one of the sick, when he saw he was healed, came back and praised God. The Bible says the man threw himself at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
As our world and workplaces bunker down, this story of Jesus’ kindness hits me hard.
Jesus had places to go
Jesus had things to do.
Jesus likely didn’t have time to stop his business trip and talk to these unwell men.
Jesus, like us, also had priorities. He was called, first and foremost, to the chosen people of Israel. But for Jesus, his daily priorities and his eternal calling co-existed. For him, there wasn’t a mental separation between his daily, called work and the turmoil that people experienced around him.
We see evidence of this in the fourth chapter of Luke:
…and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down.
The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.
He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Jesus took as his main job the same job God has always had:
- Proclaim good news to the poor.
- Proclaim liberty to the captives.
- Bring recovery of sight to the blind.
- Liberate those who are oppressed.
- Proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
WORK IN WORRYING TIMES
God is doing a big work in the world. He is accomplishing a great task. The work that Jesus did, God’s Spirit is still doing—only now he does them through a calling: a specific partnership with willing Christians (see John 14:12). This special calling-led work is unending, so long as the earth persists. And it’s beautifully applicable to every situation and age; especially for times when life feels uncertain.
Which is important. Calling gives us focus in fearful times. Calling helps orient our hearts when storms feel certain. Calling, through our work with Christ, is an anchor. Moreover, the call of God on our lives doesn’t change when COVID-19 spreads, working from home becomes the new norm, or our job situations evolve.
THE FIVE FRUITS OF CALLING
Partnering with Christ can also be a point of witness — if you know the work to which you are called as a Christian. The question then is, what is the specific work God has for you when times are tumultuous? To start, we model the same mission Jesus had in Luke 4:16–21.
Proclaim good news to the poor
The good news of the gospel doesn’t go grey during hard times. In fact, it may be the only good news available right now. Don’t let the cries of the disenfranchised — either the literal sick or the homebound, stop you from sharing the light and life of Jesus. If you’re working from home, begin to engage your mind and spirit to think about how you can show the love of Jesus when you’re not directly in the room.
Proclaim liberty to the captives
Many of us may feel like captives, right? But our freedom in Christ has little to do with where we can go. Demonstrate faith and inner freedom — even when the world doesn’t want to leave their house. Spend time with God so that the joy of the spirit will be evident in everything you do.
Bring recovery of sight to the blind
Fear can blind us. It can debilitate us to the point where we only see a dark outcome. But much of this has to do with what we dwell on and what we do with our time. Through your actions, help people see the truth of God’s word when other sources may be creating a fearful atmosphere. Demonstrate the reality of heaven by speaking loving truth over the people you know.
Liberate those who are oppressed
The sick man who came back to Jesus was a Samaritan. He was not only sick, but also a societal outcast. Forget gathering with no more than fifty people, he wasn’t even allowed within the city walls. During times like these, those who feel marginalized are moved to even farther edges of the social sphere. Make a point to encourage those you know who may struggle with mental health. Where you’re able, take on some of their load at work or help buffer difficult situations for them.
Proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
In the story of the lepers, only one of the sick came back to thank Jesus. I can’t help but wonder if he were the first to call out to him as well. Right now, in the midst of crazy news and on-edge people, the Lord’s favor is ready and available to any who want to receive it. We can kick-start that process by being present to those around us. When we do this, and we stay in a prayerful posture, we are positioned to show God’s loving kindness to those who are hurting.
A HIGHER CALLING
As I wrote about in Calling: Awaken to the Purpose of Your Work, these are the five fruits of calling. If these five things are happening in and around you, then the fire and passion of God are working through you and you’re building the kingdom — even when other “kingdoms” seem to be in disarray.
So get excited. Christ has come. His work is finished. The veil between labor and love is torn. Now there is no separation between the presence of God and the indwelling of his power within you. You are set in the saddle. The reins of righteous living are in your hands. Through resurrection your work is made new in his life.
Pierce Brantley is an author, speaker, entrepreneur and businessman. He has successfully launched, run, and sold his own company, served as an executive for a top-ten PR firm in Dallas, and consulted with numerous Fortune 500 companies. Today he puts that same intense motivation into teaching men how to lead themselves and their families well. On May 1, he releases Calling: Awaken to the Purpose of Your Work from David C Cook. In his book, Brantley shares a transformative guide with actionable steps to inspire men to redefine the unique purpose of their work and discover what it means to have a fulfilling, “called” career. Pierce and his wife, Kristie, live in Dallas, TX.