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The Greatest Work
There are various tasks and jobs in the world. Among them there are many great works that benefit people, awaken the spirit of the age within them, and deserve to go down in history. Then what is the greatest work?
God is indeed great. Everything that our great God manages and conducts is definitely great as well. God has entrusted us with one of His great works. It is to “preach the gospel to all nations of the world” (Mt 24:14).
Things in the world have their own meaning and values, but their splendor only lasts for a while and then vanishes. However, “the work of preaching the gospel” which God has entrusted to us is a valuable mission that brings forth the glory which will shine forever (Da 12:3). Even angels or spiritual beings in heaven are not permitted to do this work although they want to. It is a special and precious duty given only to God’s children who have inherited the flesh and blood of God.
Preaching, the greatest work
Through the Bible, let’s see what God did when He came to this earth.
Lk 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
Jesus came down from heaven to this earth to seek and save the lost. The greatest work that God, who is the greatest of all, wanted to fulfill when He came to this earth was seeking His children who were lost from heaven because of sin and giving them the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
Jesus Himself showed us how to carry out this greatest work.
Mk 1:35–38 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, prayed and traveled from one village to another, preaching the gospel. Then He said, “That is why I have come.”
In the Gospel of Luke Jesus told us He came to this earth to save us, and in the Gospel of Mark Jesus said He came to preach. Here, we can see that preaching is the greatest and most important work we must do to save mankind. The task of preaching the gospel, which we are doing now, is the great work that God, the greatest of all, did for our salvation.
The mission of preaching, entrusted to those whom God approves
The work of preaching is not given to everyone. If you need to deliver something of great value to somebody, whom would you entrust with your errand? You would not ask a stranger to do it. You would only entrust it to your most reliable child who always obeys your words.
God has not given everyone the mission of preaching. He has entrusted it only to those whom He approves.
1 Th 2:4 On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel . . .
From a spiritual point of view, preaching is truly an important duty, which is to lead mortal sinners to salvation. Just as an important duty is not entrusted to anybody, the mission of preaching the gospel is not given to anyone, but only to those who have fully realized the value of salvation. God has entrusted this great mission to us, not anyone else. This proves that God trusts us so much.
Tit 1:2–3 . . . a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior . . .
God, who came to this earth to do the greatest work, manifested His word through preaching and entrusted the work to us. Who on earth can proclaim Elohim, who has come to save us, and the new covenant—the truth of eternal life—to all people in the world? This is something only we, the people of Zion who have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, can do.
The princes and princesses of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea received special education, unlike the common people. Especially the prince, chosen to succeed to the throne, was educated in a very strict way. He had to study the Confucian classics and history and also had to learn the rules of etiquette when talking, walking, etc. If he was not educated properly, he could lose his succession rights as the crown prince. Although the whole process might’ve been a series of trials for him, it was actually the process of becoming a great king.
Now we are preaching the gospel, which not everyone can do. Preaching is the mission God has given us to make us worthy as a royal priesthood who will receive the heavenly inheritance. God has entrusted the great work to His successors who are qualified for it.
If we do not regard the work of an evangelist as important, we will be like a crown prince who does not strive to train himself to become eligible to inherit the crown. Our place will taken by someone else, just as Esau’s birthright was taken away by his brother Jacob.
Those who do not realize the importance of preaching are ultimately no different than the man who hid the one talent in the ground (Mt 25:14–30). Preaching is our duty. But did we not regard the great work as less important than worldly things or have the same mindset as Esau who neglected his God-given blessing? We need to examine ourselves again.
Preach on behalf of God
God has given us the responsibility and authority to preach the gospel on His behalf.
Eze 3:16–17 At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.”
It is the duty of an evangelist to give people warning from God. God has given the power of attorney to us, evangelists, not anyone else.
The king of a nation does not give anyone the authority to act on his behalf. He grants that authority to the person whom he has chosen after long consideration. Likewise, God has chosen us from among all nations to preach His word to the whole world.
As we warn people through preaching on behalf of God, we should conduct ourselves in a godly, sincere and dignified manner. When we preach the gospel, we meet many different types of people and some of them reject God’s word. Although they do not receive the truth right away, we should not express how uncomfortable we may feel or behave hastily. If we do so, how can we say we act on behalf of God?
Let’s think about what God would do if He Himself preached the gospel. This good news God has told us to preach is invaluable. We need to preach this precious gospel in a valuable way.
The Apostle Paul devoted his life to preaching the gospel
Paul the Apostle lived his life so faithfully that everyone who believes in God admires him. After he met Christ on the road to Damascus, he devoted his life wholeheartedly to preaching the gospel, just as Jesus had done.
Col 4:2–3 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.
The Apostle Paul encouraged the members of the church to always pray for God to open the door for their message more than anything else, so that they could proclaim the mystery of Christ. He, too, continuously prayed for God to open the door to preaching the gospel. It was because he realized deep in his heart that preaching is the greatest work entrusted to us by God, the greatest of all.
2 Ti 4:1–5 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season . . . But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
In his letter to Timothy, too, the Apostle Paul exhorted him to be ready to preach God’s word in season and out of season. Paul urged Timothy to do the work of an evangelist and discharge all the duties of his ministry at all times, not only when he had the opportunity.
Paul himself put his whole heart and soul into preaching God’s word, too. He was even willing to die for the gospel of God (Ac 21:13). Five times he was beaten with rods, once he was stoned, three times he was shipwrecked, he spent a night and a day in the open sea (2 Co 11:23–27). In preaching the gospel, he spared no pains. Although he faced many hardships, he was never afraid, nor did he ever give in to any hardship.
The crown of righteousness prepared for us
The great people in the Bible—Jesus who came to save us, Peter and John as well as Paul—whom we should emulate, spent their whole life preaching the gospel. As gospel preachers, they couldn’t keep silent even for a moment since they realized that preaching the gospel is the greatest work among so many tasks which one can undertake on this earth.
2 Ti 4:6–8 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
When Paul perceived that the time had come for him to leave the world, he looked back on his life and was confident he had lived a valuable life. He said in a voice full of confidence that now there’s in store for him the crown of righteousness since he had diligently run the race toward the goal of heaven, working hard to achieve the greatest mission of preaching God’s holy will to people.
There are so many jobs in the world, but all of them are only needed here on this tiny earth. However, the mission of preaching which God has entrusted to us is different. Like the apostles, we, too, should prepare for the eternal world we are going to, instead of regarding this visible world as everything.
The reason God has told us to preach the gospel is because He wants to give us everlasting blessings, not transient ones. God wants His children to receive the eternal blessings of heaven. Our efforts to carry out the duty of preaching are very small compared to the rewards we will receive in heaven. Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (Ro 8:18). Since the apostles realized this, they strove to preach the gospel above everything else.
In this age, we have been given the mission to preach God’s word to all seven billion people. We must not just stand by and watch but participate together in the greatest work God has entrusted to us, so that we can receive the crown of righteousness as God’s children.
Preaching is a great mission given to the greatest people. Let us have enough faith to confidently say at the end of our lives on earth, “Now the crown of righteousness is waiting for me,” like the Apostle Paul. I earnestly ask all of you, people of Zion, to preach God’s good news of life wherever you are—employees at work, university students at campus, soldiers in the army, and housewives in the neighborhood.