A missionary to China wrote home to his parents outlining his grim prison ordeal. The details were not pleasant, but each paragraph ended with the triumphant words: “The Lord reigns”. This was the way he kept things in perspective. He recognized with the Psalmist: “…my work is for a king”. When our earliest Christian forbears were challenged to declare: “Caesar is king”, they replied: “Jesu Christos Rex”, Jesus Christ is King! Their bold assertion led to death in the arena, torture at the stake, or being stretched mercilessly on the rack. Instead of slowing down progress in the gospel and the truth, it seemed to accelerate it, to the ire of their Roman tormentors. These Christian disciples did not need to declare “my work is for the King”, for their very lives proclaimed it.
What of today’s spiritual royal family? Those who comprise the little flock, to whom was given the kingdom (Luke 12:32) – those proclaimed by Peter as a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9)? We are not thrown into prison, tortured or massacred because we pledge our allegiance to Jesus as King. Yet, it is still essential that we recognize, and others know, that our work is for the King. It is so easy to be discouraged and depressed by society’s response to the word of God; easy for apathy, malaise to replace our former zeal; to lose faith in the effort of distributing leaflets, and in the personal work of sharing Christ with a desperate, needy world. Perhaps we need to convince ourselves on a personal basis that “my work is for the King”.
On the positive side there are Christians who cheerfully fill jobs which need more grace than others. Nursing care, for example, in the home, in hospital, or at geriatric centres, where very unpleasant tasks have to be undertaken. How depressing and discouraging such work can be if it is not undertaken in the spirit of, “my work is for the King”. This realization, with all its encouragement, enables us to bring our lives into perspective, with the added help in these words of Paul: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).