“But there is still work to be done.” I recall my Chemistry teacher using this phrase I have not forgotten, and I have heard it since repeated by others. In times of oppression and overreach, of injustice and hypocrisy, it is easy for us as Christians to want to stick our heads in the sand, curl up into little balls, and hibernate until winter is over, if it ever will be. It is similarly easy for us to expend our energy mourning over the state of our culture and, quite frankly, the pathetic state of the Church. Yet, I believe there is much to be learned from my Chemistry teacher. “There is still work to be done.” What does it look like for us as Christians to expend our energy doing work we are called to do in a society that is rapidly barreling towards Totalitarianism? Here are some Biblical principles that inform the work still to be done.
Some of us have gained time throughout this season. Others have lost time. All of us, I hope, have realized we have been filling time with activities that have little value beyond momentary pleasure. One work we can do in this time is to educate ourselves in theology. We can take time to learn more about Who our God is and what our God does. Not only does learning about God drive us to worship Him more, but it gives us comfort and peace in times of unrest. Some Psalms, for example, are dedicating to teaching theology. Psalm 78 recounts God’s works, and Psalm 145 recounts God’s character. Each Psalm is to be taught to coming generations (Ps. 78:5-8, 145:4-7), and if they are to be taught, then people are to learn. Theology is simply discourse (or words) about God – Who He is and what He does. These Psalms teach theology, and we are to learn theology. “There is still work to be done,” and one work is to educate ourselves in theology.
We learn theology not just to learn it, but so that we can practice it. Theology is meant to be exercised in our lives, and one such exercise of theology is encouragement. It has been a very difficult season for the Church. Some churches have been divided, others have proven they were not really churches in the first place. Some churches have been forced out of rented spaces, other churches have seen their pastor unjustly kept behind bars. As members of the Church ourselves, we need to encourage the brethren in this time. Paul urges the Thessalonian church to such an end (1 Thess. 5:11), and we must take the same instruction. Encouragement is very simple: Gathering together on Sunday mornings, meeting together throughout the week, earnestly praying for one another, eagerly serving one another. All of these are forms of encouraging brethren in a difficult time. This is work we must do if we are to stay united in times of turmoil.
Education and encouragement are two works that must be done, yet, we would be amiss if we did not consider the last command of Jesus before His ascension: “And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth,” (Acts 1:8b). Though directly given to the Apostles, the command for us remains the same. Our mandate, as the people of God, is to go out into the world and proclaim the Gospel – Who God is, who we are, and what Christ has done. We live in a world that is losing hope with each passing day. Fear has overtaken every aspect of life. How much more are we obligated, as the only people left on this earth with any bit of hope and fear of God, to proclaim His excellencies among the nations? The current season has given many unique and blessed opportunities to share the Good News, whether during a protest or from the bowels of a prison. To be faithful, fearless witnesses for Christ, we must boldly share the Truth that has given us life. And when we are not evangelizing, we are praying – praying that the Word of God penetrates the hearts of corrupt authorities, imprisoned criminals, unsaved family, fearful friends, and everyone else in between. There is still so much work to be done, and that is the good work of sharing the Gospel.
God has raised up these Christians in this Church for this time. Coronavirus did not take God by surprise, nor have the protests and politics that come with it. Lockdowns and oppressive governments have not caught God off guard. God is not like the false gods of the pagans whom Elijah teased as though they were asleep (1 Kgs. 18:20-40). God has raised up His called out ones for such a time as this. Mordecai speaks of a similar sentiment in Esther 4: “‘For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’” (Esth. 4:14). God is faithful; whether we remain faithful or not, He will carry through His plan. But He calls us to be faithful, to do the work He has set before us. He has raised us up for such a time as this. It is our time to exalt Him, our time to pick up where the saints throughout history have left off. From Paul to Athanasius to Martin Luther to our brothers and sisters today in other parts of the world, Christians have always remained faithful through persecution and done the good works of education, encouragement, and evangelism. And now, it is our time. Will we carry on? For “there is still work to be done.”