Have you ever wondered why we refer to what we do as "the Work"? Why does Pastor General Herbert W. Armstrong use the phrase "the Work" to describe the great commission of God's Church today? Is this phrase a mere human invention — just a catchall term used to indicate the Church's activities — or is it a title inspired by God and based on biblical instruction? Rest assured that the phrase "the Work of God" is used in the Bible and carries profound significance for us today.
Work — not play!
The Bible refers to God's Work numerous times, but here is one example: "Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent" (John 6:28-29). Why is this important? For years Mr. Armstrong has taught that God has specially called us now to do a job — to proclaim God's Gospel to the world as a witness. God called and anointed Mr. Armstrong as our human leader to raise up this era of God's Church, to start Ambassador College, to preach and publish the Gospel, to appear before kings and world rulers with God's message and to prepare a people God can use to change the world in the world tomorrow. We refer to all these activities together as the Work. Notice: It's called the Work. Not play! Not leisure! Not entertainment, but the Work! In this world most people, it seems, feel the greatest achievement is to get away from work and enjoy some personal pleasure or recreation. But God enjoys work! He rejoices in His works (Ps. 104:31). He greatly desires to finish us as His greatest handiwork (Job 14:15), so we can, under Christ's leadership, rebuild the world, help bring many more sons into God's Family and then go on to other work such as finishing the universe. Work involves labor, exertion, effort, toil, productivity. Jesus said, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (John 5:17). Jesus spent His time working — preaching the Gospel, healing the sick, helping people, giving of Himself in service to others. He said the greatest people are those who serve the most (Matt. 23:11). Jesus often used the analogy of work to teach lessons about the great commission, as in the cases of the laborers in the vineyard (Matt. 20:1-16) and the laborers in the harvest (Luke 10:2). These examples showed the work involved in preparing for God's Kingdom. In Matthew 24:46, Jesus blesses the faithful servant who will be doing the Work of God when He returns.
Make the best effort
It seems, then, that in light of the very title God uses to describe His Work, He is exhorting each of us to step forward and to give our best effort in accomplishing the awesome task at hand. Whatever our jobs or offices, whether we are ministers, deacons, pillars or members of the work crew, we should take this lesson deeply to heart and apply it to our lives. The next time you hear "the Work" mentioned, remember it's not an ethereal, meaningless phrase. It's a term that beckons us to roll up our sleeves, pick up our tools and go to work!