Always Keep busy working for the Lord

John 9:4 (NIrV)
While it is still day, we must do the works of the one who sent me. Night is coming.

Luke 10:38-11:2 NIrV
39. She had a sister named Mary. Mary sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 
40. But Martha was busy with all the things that had to be done… [the Lord answered]
42. …Really only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better.

Wait a minute…. This seems to be a contradiction. Jesus speaks in both instances.  But notice the difference. As he shares with the disciples in John 9, He is emphasizing that His time on earth was brief and so he must be about the Father’s business. As He speaks in Martha’s home, He is emphasizing that Mary is doing the better thing – listening to what He is teaching.

How am I supposed to be busy working for the Lord – but also be resting in Him and hearing what He says? How am I supposed to fit anything else in between breakfast, school drop-off, work, lunch meetings, trips to the grocery store, cooking dinner, laundering the outfit that your daughter needs for tomorrow, and oh yeah, I need to have time with God today. I still have to get the pieces cut out for Mission Friends this week. It’s 10:30 pm and I’m tired and you want me to also fit in “working” for the Lord?  Ummm… help!

In both cases, though, look at the emphasis. It’s less on the busyness, but on the business! Christ, in both places, is asking the listener to focus on Him and on the work of the Father – on the ultimate Unshakable Pursuit of God.  

When you read 1 Corinthians 15:58 in some other translations it helps to flesh out what “Always keep busy working for the Lord (CEV)” is trying to encourage.

NIrV – Always give yourselves completely to the work of the Lord

ESV/NASB – always abounding in the work of the Lord

CSB – always excelling in the Lord’s work

NLT – always work enthusiastically for the Lord

MSG – throw yourselves into the work of the Master

I believe the emphasis that we can take from this as we seek to continue our Unshakable Pursuit is to make sure that we are always doing our work (whatever it is) with a kingdom mindset. While sometimes that may mean removing something from our schedule in life because it is not part of pursuing the calling to be serving Christ while we are still here on earth (for night is coming). But, it also means to cook dinner with a mindfulness that it will give you strength to walk and share God’s love. Wash that outfit with prayerfulness for the people who will be in your daughter’s school, and maybe even call blessings on those around you in rush hour traffic. It may also mean, committing to give more this year for missions endeavors; taking time off of work to go on missions or ministry trips; or more simply, giving more of your time each week to serve God where He as gifted and blessed you. 

It isn’t just the work or the “busy”ness that we are to be giving ourselves to. It is that we should be giving ourselves, so that what we do becomes a part of His work of reaching the world with the gospel.

Don’t forget the end of the scripture (which we will focus on another time) is that everything you do for him is worthwhile. Our pursuit has a great purpose – knowing Christ and making Him known. Be in the business of sharing that with your world until He comes or calls you home!

Father God, you are my source of strength in the busy-ness of life. Thank you for your gift of life and strength that I can be about serving you. Grant me eyes to see where you would have me walk, serve and give so that you will be glorified in all I do. Amen.


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