We continue our series on Words That Need Redefining
What business are you in? It is a question that gets asked whatever your line of work and invites you to consider your core activity. Although it tends to find a natural application in the context of commercial deals, making products or services, it also gets applied to the caring professions and education. Sometimes the question evokes thinking about business at the top level, and at other times it gets attached to the idea of the business to which you belong, even if you consider yourself to be junior in rank.
For Christians there is a double enquiry emerging here. Your first response may be that you’re in the insurance business, the consulting business or the business of recycling – depending on your job. But there is always another layer of meaning connecting to the spiritual journey you are on.
When Jesus of Nazareth was twelve years old he gave his parents a bit of a shock. On the return journey from the capital city they realised He was missing. After the usual parental panic and subsequent ear bending episode, the twelve year old demonstrated the second layer which characterised His journey. He had to be, in His own words, “About His Father’s business.”
So what business are you in? What business deals did you conduct today? What business activity forms your agenda? There will be a thousand possible answers, but if you are a Christian there will also be just one:you are about the Father’s business.
This has a number of deep implications immediately:
Firstly, if it’s his business, he will want it done in his way; the best practice will be related to his wishes.
Secondly, it’s a secure business to be in. You can’t lose your employer – this is for life. You are not only in his business but he is in yours and he never lays people off.
Thirdly, his business is full of meaning, purpose, fun, challenge and struggle – It weaves its way subtly and elegantly through everything you do, permeating it with people value.
The twelve year old Nazarene knew this, and further, he knew he had to do this. There was something in him that drove him, urged him, and motivated him to see, act and persevere in this lifelong career. That’s the business you’re in.
Luke 2:41-51 (New King James Version)
41 His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. 43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; 44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. 46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. 48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” 49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” 50 But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them. 51Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.
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