With so many exciting projects occurring in God’s Work at all times, and a myriad of huge doors being open, many long to be “employed” by the Church — thinking if only they were full time in God’s Work, then they would really be able to serve God. If only they could open the mail, answer the phones, work on the land, repair equipment, mop the floors — anything to be “in the work.”
Yearning to serve in these capacities is completely natural, quite common, totally understandable, and even commendable. But there is something you must first realize: You are already serving full time in God’s work!
Whether employed by the Philadelphia Church of God, Inc., or not, you are actively serving God and His work — 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Yes, despite age, financial status or education, YOU are being used in God’s work!
Called to Be Laborers
When God calls a person into His service, He does not call them to a part-time job. The Bible is replete with evidence of this.
Firstly, God has not called just anyone into His service. He shows, in His Word, that He will open up salvation to all humanity only after His Son returns to restore the Father’s government to Earth. Meanwhile, God has called a special few to help prepare for Christ’s Second Coming — to deliver His warning message and the good news of the coming Kingdom of God to the nations of Israel and the whole world.
John 6:44 states, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” God draws the individual.
Notice what Jude, in the opening to his epistle, states about this special calling: “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.”
As our Jude booklet points out, the Greek word for called means “invited.” Consider how much thought and consideration God puts into the selection of every member He invites into His work in this age. Who can know how long God was working with us before He called us — how intimately He worked in our lives?
Christ says that those called must be willing to forsake all they have (Luke 14:33). Would God require such sacrifice if we were to become anything less than full-time “employees”?
Scripture indicates that the membership of God’s end-time work, at Christ’s return, will be around 10,000 strong (Deuteronomy 33:2; Jude 14-15; see our booklet No Freedom Without Law for further explanation). That is 10,000 out of a world population of close to 8 billion. This means each member will have been chosen now over 800,000 others. Would God choose someone at such vast odds and not make them a critical part of His work force?
Paul wrote about this in I Corinthians 3:9: “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.”
The phrase labourers together is one word in the Greek. According to Strong’s Concordance, it means “co-laborer … companion in labor … workfellow.” That is what we are with God! He calls us to be His co-workers, workfellows and companions in labor.
In Paul’s second epistle to the Corinthians, he refers to this again: “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain” (2 Corinthians 6:1). Workers together is from the same Greek word of the previous passage.
In 1 Corinthians 12, the apostle shows the importance of each of these co-laborers. “For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him” (verses 14-15, 17-18). God set all the members in their respective offices and duties. Every member has a God-ordained responsibility — possibly even predetermined before he or she was called.
Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in Mystery of the Ages, “[T]he apostles, evangelists, pastors and elders could not carry on the work of God without the loyal backing and continual encouragement of the lay members. Neither can the individual lay member develop and build within him God’s … character without the operations of the apostle, evangelists, pastors and elders. All these various members God has set in His Church are … mutually dependent on one another. They form a team — an organized spiritual organism ….”
Laborers together! All “in the work”!
Now, how are you a full-time participant and worker in God’s work? Let’s inspect your “job description” more closely.
The job’s responsibilities can be summed up in three major, critical points: 1) prayer; 2) financial support; 3) being a light to the world.
Full Time With Prayer
“In the first century [the work] was done by personal proclamation,” Mr. Armstrong wrote. “Then what partdid the individual lay member have in it? much! Without this larger body of lay members the apostle could do nothing! … [Peter and John] needed the backing, support, encouragement of the brethren. They fervently prayed! Peter and John sorely needed this loyalty, backing and the prayers of the lay members. They were all a team together!” (ibid.).
This first point, this first requirement our Boss places on us, is the key to our overall effectiveness in the work — and even the effectiveness of the entire work! It determines the effectiveness of the other two points mentioned: what kind of light we will be, and what kind of financial support the work receives — whether that means God blessing us financially in order to serve the work, or God bringing more financial contributors into the work.
The Bible is quite clear about how powerful the prayers of the righteous are. Our prayers can change lives, save lives and work miracles! In fact, that is why God’s work exists! To change and save lives now — for the greater cause of saving more lives in the future, when God sets His hand to save the world.
James 5:16 states: “… The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Moffatt translates it: “The prayers of the righteous have a powerful effect.”
Of course, it is only through God’s mighty hand that this work can even get done. But God requires ourprayers on the work’s behalf before He will step in mightily.
God’s work is known as the daily, or the continual (Daniel 12:11; write for our Daniel booklet for an explanation). Part of that continual is God’s people praying continually. Praying daily. Paul wrote, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Moffatt translates it: “Never give up prayer.”
Never give up your job! Never quit praying for the work! It is what you have been called to do full time! It is top priority in your job description.
Nothing will stand in the way of God’s work. Still, God calls weak human beings to be His instruments in doing the work, and He wants us to call on the power that fuels this work. God wants us to recognize that we — in order to do the work — need things that only He can provide. This is partly how He builds His character through us as we do His work.
Imagine how your prayers can help the work. Though you may not be directly helping create the Key of David television program, your prayers are making it better. Doors are opening because of your prayers! Of course, all glory and credit goes to God, but He listens to your prayers!
Your prayers are doing the work!
How many human beings are there in the world who can edit a television program, design magazine covers, stuff envelopes or answer phones? There are countless. But it is not through those physical acts alonethat the work gets done. It is through your prayers. How would a work by such a small group of people, preaching such an unpopular message, even survive otherwise?
Mr. Armstrong would tell God’s people to ask themselves, as they prayed, how would the work do today based on my prayers alone? That was no gimmick or selfish effort by Mr. Armstrong to get people to pray about the work more. It was truly how the work got done!
The prayers of the brethren and co-workers do wonders for the work — whether it is a super cable station opening up, or perhaps someone at headquarters finding a more economical way to do his or her job.
To carry out this job effectively, we must know what to pray for. In addition to praying specifically for Mr. Flurry and the ministry supporting him, we should pray for the crew of employees that work for the headquarters office and regional offices around the world.
Pray that God would provide more laborers — from more ministers and headquarters workers to more members, co-workers and donors. Pray that God would bless the existing brethren, co-workers and donors so they can do the work even more effectively through their prayers, their financail contributions and their light to the world.
Christ said in Matthew 10:8, “[F]reely ye have received, freely give.” Because of this command, God’s work offers His message to the world at no charge. All literature is given absolutely free of cost or obligation.
Just as God could do the work entirely by the power of His Spirit — without requiring humans their part in asking through prayer — God could just as easily fund it without the help of the scattered few members and co-workers who support it today. God is creator and owner of everything (Psalm 24:1). Haggai 2:8 states, “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts.”
Of course, God chooses to do the work through human beings — for our character development. Though God is all-powerful, He requires our prayers and supplications on behalf of His work. And though God is the richest being in the universe, He requires our financial support of His work — through tithes (10 percent of our gross income) and freewill offerings (given on the annual holy days and other times of the year).
The main objective of this is to build character in His people. We learn God’s way of give — perfecting His outgoing love in us. Through it, we learn to put God first in everything. We learn to put His goals, His commission, His work, ahead of ours — even by putting our money into it. Through our financial support, we help move the work forward financially.
The pcg has no organizational sponsors or endowments. All it has are the donors, co-workers and members — all at varying degrees of contributing ability, most being small by the world’s standards.
The example of the widow’s mite in Luke 21:1-4 shows how much value God places on the character and sincerity behind an offering — no matter what the amount. “And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had” (verses 3-4). She had devoted herself, and her resources, full time to the work.
Most of those God has called are not the wealthy of the world, yet He still expects them to contribute from the money He blesses them with to His work. Those small contributions combined move the work forward. This is a team effort.
A $10 offering would fund the printing and mailing of a number of periodicals, booklets and toll-free calls. Combined small offerings can take this work far — even if they only touch one life directly. God places incredible value on each offering — because He sees the big picture. In Malachi 3:8-9, He condemns those who withhold their offerings and tithes from His work, showing them the true effect it has: “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.”
Mr. Flurry explains in The God Family Vision that the word nation means “whole, totality — the whole world! So a better translation of that is, you have robbed me and this whole world. … If you … use tithes and offerings for something other than serving the entire world, you are robbing God.”
Yes, our tithes and offerings serve the world. That is how significant they are — even the smallest of contributions, as the statistics above should illustrate.
Never underestimate your part in the work. Since most do not work for the physical organization of the pcg, they still have a full-time job in the world — making them full-time contributors to this great work, through the tenth of the income they receive from that job.
A Work of Light
There should be no doubt that doing the work through the two aforementioned means develops God’s character in a person. Another significant way to do the work while also taking on God’s nature is in this third point: being a light to the world.
The Apostle John often equated God’s nature with that of light. In his first epistle, he sums up God’s message this way: “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). God is light. This describes God’s character, but it also describes His spiritual appearance. John describes God’s spiritual appearance in the first chapter of the book of Revelation (Revelation 1:14, 16).
John writes that our incredible human potential is actually to share the same illuminating appearance that God possesses (1 John 3:1-2). But, to get to this point, God requires that we become light as physical human beings — referring to our character.
Christ told His disciples, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).
The world out of which God’s people are called — the world in which they are to do this work — is a dark world. Yet, through their works, they can shine. Christ says, this will cause men eventually to glorify God the Father.
But does being a light mean going around and preaching to everyone we contact? Does it mean handing out pamphlets or pocket Bibles on the street corner? Does it mean going door to door distributing literature?
A Good News article published in the January 1974 edition put it this way: “God does not want you to preach your witness — that is the calling of His ministry. God has called you to be that witness, letting ‘your light shine before men …’ (Matthew 5:16). We let our lights shine forth by learning and putting into practice God’s laws.”
Solomon wrote in Proverbs 6:23, “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light ….”
If we emulate God’s nature of light, by keeping this law of light, then we are witnessing through our example about God’s awesome, perfect way of life. That is what is to “shine before men,” Christ said: our “GOOD WORKS” — our obedience to God’s righteous law.
In The God Family Vision, Mr. Flurry writes, “That witness can be more powerful than preaching, because it is a person letting Christ live in them, and thereby letting the light shine! … [I]n time our witness will have more of an effect on people. … If you have a mate who doesn’t believe as you do, your example can be a wonderful light and have a dramatic impact on that person’s life. The Bible says it might even change them and bring them into God’s family. … That’s how powerful this example — this light — can be!”
Remember how intimately God must have worked with all of His people before He invited them to join this work. Remember also that God is eventually planning to invite every single human being who has ever lived. The Bible reveals that innumerable people will repent and turn to God at the end of the Great Tribulation, to be worked with in the Millennium of Christ’s rule after His Second Coming.
These people will turn to God because they will know where to turn. They will have heard the preaching.Could God also be working out the light that His called-out ones are to some of these millions right now? Just as God worked with His people long before He actually called them, could God be dealing with these people to be called in the future in a similar way?
The Good News quoted above asked the same question: “Could God have preplanned the hundreds of human beings to whom you would be giving a personal witness? Could He have ordained that your shining example — remember, not your preaching — would eventually become the
critically influential factor in their calling and conversion in the future?”
Do you not have a huge part in this work? Think of the number of people you regularly come into personal contact with since you’ve been living by God’s laws. Think of the relatives, neighbors, friends, fellow employees, schoolmates, local merchants. Perhaps there could be hundreds.
Though it may not seem like it at first, this could be the most visible way you can DO the work! It may be the “critically influential factor,” as the Good News pondered, when it is that person’s time to be called. It could be “more powerful than preaching,” as Mr. Flurry wrote.
Daniel prophesied that our light — our teaching by example — can “turn many to righteousness” (Daniel 12:3). Our reward for doing so is actually to shine in spiritual appearance as God does!
What makes the light so powerful, Mr. Flurry continued, is that Christ — the light — is living in us. “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come [or, is coming] in the flesh is of God” (1 John 4:2). Christ is coming in the flesh through His people. He is the true light (John 1:9) — and we bear witness to that light (verses 7-8).
The more we let Christ shine in us, the greater the work we can do.
Christ leads this work. He is in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, or lamps, picturing the seven church eras of His Church (Revelation 1:20). Christ said that the work would never die — that the lamp would continually burn until His return.
The effectiveness of God’s work weighs heavily on the kinds of lights we are. How important is your full-time responsibility in this work? Can you even measure it?
Maintaining Job Security
We have seen through these three points how invaluable every full-time member or “employee” of this work truly is. We have not just been called to sit on the sidelines as cheerleaders to God’s man or his headquarters staff. We are part of a mutually dependent team effort — hinging on every single member’s full-time responsibilities: mainly those of prayer, financial support and being a light to the world.
We’ve been given real jobs in this work. How can we keep those jobs?
A department head at headquarters tells his employees that the key to job security at the pcg is, “be a hard worker, and submit to God’s government.”
As full-time members of the work, this is how we maintain job security — whether on the pcg’s payroll or not. Those who have their hearts in God’s work do not fall away.That is job security.
Be a hard worker for God. Pray without ceasing. Never compromise with God’s tithing laws, and take thoughtful consideration to every offering that you give to God’s work. Always strive, with God’s powerful help, to be the best example, witness and light you can be to those around you — exuding God’s perfect law and perfect way — all the while, submitting wholeheartedly to God’s government. Put your heart into doing these things, and you will never fall away.
Stick with the continual, and you have job security — because this company is secure. It will never fail. The gates of hell will never prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). Its light will never go out. It will never go bankrupt.
What a job we have been called to do! How significant is each and every job! How important is every responsibility of every member of the body of Christ. You are a worker with God.
Never give up your full-time job. Always remember that you, as a full-time employee, are doing the work.