“Jesus said to them, ‘My father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.'” (John 5:17)
Why does it matter?
What hope should it give us that our father is not “sometimes working” but always at work and “to this very day”?
Here are three reasons.
- We Don’t Have a Passive God
In post-modernity it is quite easy for the Christian to adopt (subconsciously) that our spiritual life is important but it pleads to a passive God. Perhaps we know in our mind this may not be true, but in our daily actions, and fears, and hopes, we may believe that our prayers echo to an empty room. “God is not in right now” – we may believe, and so we offer obligatory prayers not expectant ones. Yet if God is working it means He cares and He’s involved. Caring and involved: like the best Father. God is not passive.
2. We Don’t Ever Work Alone
The disciples didn’t just decide to follow Jesus one day. Saul didn’t think, “You know, it’s time I stop persecuting Christians) and join them. Rather, Saul was invited in and then became Paul. We live in an increasingly isolated and individualistic society. It is therefore, all to easy to assume that when we desire to do work for the Church, for our Father, for our Savior – that we are initiating not joining. This attitude can quickly bring paralyzing fear (as I have both witnessed and experienced myself) as we forget “my father is always at work to this very day”. From sanctification to our jobs to our families – we do not work alone but experience God working in us, through us and many times despite of us.
3. God Works even When People Say He Can’t
The context for the above verse is this: Jesus just healed a man and the Jews were persecuting Him for working. They were saying things like,
“It’s not possible.”
“It’s not legal.”
“It’s just not right.”
This is much deeper than just the negative voices we may encounter in our journey of faith. In crisis, in cancer, in divorce, in joblessness, in barrenness, – there will be those that say, “God does not work here. He is not working.” And we will certainly struggle ourselves to believe God is working.
But He is. He is working through, and in and around.
He is always at work.
And His work is good and beautiful in harvest.