Many churches have an annual Homecoming service to reflect back on what God has done for them through the year. At these services, previous members and pastors travel to visit on this special day and enjoy sharing good memories with their friends.
I have been to many Homecoming services at our present church but one particular event keeps coming to mind. Our church was in the beginning phase of building our new sanctuary. We decided to hold our Homecoming service outside on the concrete foundation of the new building. The breeze was gently blowing and we had a beautiful view all around…our church is in the country.
Our precious senior adults gathered together and sang the old hymn, “We’ll work til Jesus comes we’ll work til Jesus comes we’ll work til Jesus comes and we’ll be gathered Home.” What a heartwarming sight to behold! And to think that some have now been gathered Home since that day….their time of work is done.
Our church did the majority of the work in building this new sanctuary. Some of our seniors put in more hours than many of our stronger, healthier young people!
I am reminded of the Apostle Paul who was one of God’s hardest workers. Paul had to endure things in doing God’s work that the majority of us will never face, from beatings to imprisonment! Yet he remained faithful in doing what God asked of him until the end.
Acts 20:22-24 sums up his faithfulness. “And now compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” (NIV)
Exactly what is God’s work? Look at John 6:29 and we’ll discover together that
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (NIV) In other words, what He gives us to do as a Christians while we’re still here on this earth is for the purpose of bringing others to Him.
Paul went from church to church preaching and telling these church members how to live for Christ! He loved the ministry, in spite of the hardships. But most of all, He loved the Lord. His chief goal in life was to win souls for Christ and ”finish the race” set before him. In Romans 15:17 he says, “Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God.” (NIV)
The senior adults in our church who have gone to be with Jesus are now seeing the fruits of their labor. 1 Corinthians 2:9 tells us, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (NIV) In spite of the hardships they may have faced in life here on earth, they are now seeing what God had prepared for them! The have been given their reward for completing the race.
Paul’s teachings will stand written in the Word for eternity! His examples of how he persevered to do what God wanted him to do even in the midst of pain and isolation are ones we need to adopt.
When the road gets tough sometimes we tend to fall away. What will God say to us when our race is done? In 2 Timothy 4:5 Paul tells us, “But I want you to keep your head no matter what happens. Don't give up when times are hard. Work to spread the good news. Do everything God has given you to do.” (NIRV)
When Paul was nearing the end of his ministry, he left us with this thought in 2 Timothy 4:7-8. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day.” (NIV)
We still have a lot of senior adults working in our church, and on many days I can’t keep up with them! They are true prayer warriors and servants, an example for all in “completing the race”. No doubt, they will be doing God’s work until they too, are gathered Home.
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