We’ve all heard or no first hand a story about a successful business which failed after it was passed on from the original founder and owner to a family member; a son or daughter. It is estimated that as many as 75% of businesses passed on to the second generations fail.
I once heard a motivational speaker tell the story of a father who owned a chain of hotdog carts in a major city, perhaps New York. The father made a good living for his family; even buying luxuries. He saved enough to send his son to an Ivy League university, where he majored in business with an emphasis in marketing
The father was looking forward to retiring and turning his business over to his son, which he did. The son created an elaborate business plan like he had been taught in college, a flow chart, and a marketing plan to expand the hot dog cart business into fast food restaurants. One of the first thing the son did was change the price on the basic hot dog, doubling the price from $1 to $2. The father tried to explain why that would be a bad move. The son insisted; after all, he had inherited the business. Within a year the business failed.
Business textbooks, seminars, workshops, etc. are filled with stories like this one about the successes and failures of second, third, etc. generation owners who failed, for various reasons, to keep the doors open and the business thriving.
This little story is the introduction to our Father’s business. When Jesus was 12-years-old, He already had His eye on His Father’s business. No, more than His eyes, He already had made a commitment to His Father’s business. When I was 12, I had my eyes on “monkey business.” How about you?
Jesus had traveled to Jerusalem with His family to keep the Feast of the Passover. During the week, in the midst of enormous crowds, Jesus’ earthly parents, Joseph and Mary realized He was missing (Luke 2:41-44). After a frantic search, they finally found Him in the temple with a group of teachers, listening and asking questions (Luke 2:46, 47). Unusual behavior then and now!
“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. And He said to them, ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about MY FATHER’S BUSINESS?’” (Luke 2:48, 49).
As Jesus pursued His Father’s business He developed character, stature, and acceptance by others (Luke 2:52). How about us, Christians in the 21st Century? How are we managing our Father’s business?
TODAY, WHAT IS OUR FATHER’S BUSINESS?
As a quick reminder, we are adopted children into the spiritual family; God is our Father, Jesus is our brother, and the Holy Spirit is our Helper. We know this because the Bible tells us so.
Today, what is our Father’s business? The same as it was when Jesus was 12. Therefore, we can learn and participate in the Father’s business by imitating our “older brother,” Jesus Christ. Here are some of the many objectives of our Father’s business as taught by His “Only begotten son.”
First, when Jesus was born and when He was given a name, the Father’s business was implied: “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
Second, in His preaching and teaching Jesus referred to the business of bringing salvation to the lost: “And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to SEEK AND SAVE THE LOST’” (Luke 19:9, 10).
Third, Jesus made it clear that His Father’s business was to bring about peace, harmony, and love between His followers, as well as all people. (Read John 15:9-17).
Fourth, the Father’s business is to show a lost and sinful world how much God loves them: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Fifth, Jesus demonstrated that the Father’s business included associating with outcast and sinners: “Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, ‘This man receives sinners and eats with them’” (Luke 15:1,2).
Sixth, Jesus made it clear that the Father’s business included preaching in various towns: “But He said to them, ‘Let us go into the next towns that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth’” (Mark 1:38).
Seventh, Jesus demonstrated that the Father’s business included attending social events, a wedding (John 2:1-12); a funeral (John 11:17-37); and the home of a sick person (Mark 2:1-12).
Eighth, Jesus made it clear that involved in the Father’s business was giving credit to the Father for his power, trust, and assignment: “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me” (John 5:30).
Ninth, time after time in the Gospels we see Jesus demonstrating that the Father’s business included seasons, times, and places of prayer. He specifically taught us to pray to the Father: “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9, 10).
Tenth, Jesus taught that included in the Father’s business was the command to forgive those who sin against you: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14, 15).
These 10 observations about the Father’s business, as exemplified in the life and teachings of Jesus, are only a few compared to all the Gospels and Epistles reveal about Jesus pursuing the Father’s business?
Today, even a casual look around will reveal that some congregations, as well as individual Christians, are no longer faithful to the Father’s business; His model in the Scriptures is ignored.
How are you pursuing our Father’s business? What are you intentionally doing today in working in our Father’s business? What are you presently doing to prepare yourself to be a better business partner with our heavenly Father? The world is lost, the church needs edifying, and the demand for leadership has never been greater. All of these, and more, are part of the Father’s business. Remember, He is counting on YOU!
HOW COMMITTED ARE YOU TO THE FAMILY BUSINESS? What plans are you presently pursuing to increase the expansion of His business? Use the above 10 as a work sheet. I encourage you to expand this study.