What Shall I Do?

by Jefferson David Tant

One undeniable certainty of life is that it is full of choices. What time to get up in the morning, what clothes to wear, what food to eat, what car to buy, who to marry, what occupation to pursue, what friends to choose. All of them have consequences. And of course, the greatest choice in our lifetime is choosing to follow Christ.

With respect to becoming a Christian, whether at a young age or in later years, there comes the decision as to how we want to serve God. Sadly, there are too many who just choose to become a pew filler. They come to church services regularly and lead moral lives, but that is pretty much the extent of their activity as a Christian. Then we have those who choose to become Bible class teachers, while others are involved in personal evangelism, and some are diligent in extending hospitality and doing good to others. Then there are some men, young or older, who dedicate themselves to preaching the gospel. And this is what I want to write about in this article.

Obviously, the work of preaching the gospel is not for every man. We all have different abilities and different personalities. Just as we need song leaders, it is obvious that not every man is capable of leading singing, as some are tone-deaf, some do not have strong voices, etc.

And, quite obviously, there is a need in the Kingdom for men with the ability to proclaim the gospel. I can think of nothing more important if one has the capability to be engaged in this work. Some suppose that one must be a gifted speaker in order to preach. Not so.

Paul admitted in his own words that he was not an eloquent preacher. “But even if I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not so in knowledge; in fact, in every way we have made this evident to you in all things” (II Corinthians 11:6). Then notice what others said about him: “For they say, 'His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible'" (II Corinthians 10:10). Evidently Paul was a better writer than he was a speaker. But this did not deter Paul in his mission to proclaim Christ.

We read about a young man who evidently decided in his youth that he wanted to proclaim the gospel. His name was Timothy. He did not have a father to encourage him, as his father was not a Christian, but he did have a godly mother and grandmother who taught him God’s word even from his young years. “You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Timothy 3:14-15). Thus, Timothy didn’t have a father to set an example for him and encourage him.

In my own situation, my father told me that even when I was five years old I said I wanted to be a preacher. I was blessed to have a grandfather and father before me who labored in the gospel. And many preachers I know have had a father who preached. But I can’t count the ones I know whose fathers were not preachers. Thus it is left up to the individual to make the choice, with or without a father who was a preacher.

I consider it an honor to be able to teach others. Evidently Luke had this in mind when he wrote to Theophilus: “it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus” (Luke 1:3).

Consider one who is a doctor. How thankful a doctor must be when his patient is cured of a debilitating disease. Think of a school teacher who is so proud of her student who graduated with top honors. Then think of the preacher who rejoices over a soul that has come to obey the gospel that he has taught. Even the angels rejoice in this. "In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (Luke 15:10).

There are many important occupations in the world. As these words are being written, my wife and I are in an airplane flying to see our son and his family. I am thankful for the pilot and his skills. And I am thankful for the flight attendants who supplied us with coffee and a snack. But, as important, necessary and helpful as they are, they obviously are not on the same level as one who proclaims the Word of God in helping to guide souls safely to heaven.

So, good men, young or old, whatever role you choose in life, be sure you fill it well as a child of God whose light shines to those around you. But if you have the ability, give some thought to proclaiming the Word of God to the lost.

And sisters, while you are not to be those who teach from the pulpit to a mixed audience, there is much work in the Kingdom for you. Paul commended various women for the work they were doing.

“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea” (Romans 16:1).

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 16:3).

Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, workers in the Lord” (Romans 16:12).

In the final analysis, whatever choice you make as to your life’s work, whether as a school bus driver, a merchant, a trash collector, a restaurant cook, or a preacher of the gospel, remember that your top overseer is the Lord: “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Colossians 3:23-24).

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