To find purpose in our professional life is essential. To be fair, many academics find fulfilment in investigating life’s difficult questions, pushing the boundaries of knowledge, and making a difference to society and an upcoming generation of students. However, I was thinking of a grander purpose. Like all Christians, I am called to fulfil the last instruction of the Lord Jesus Christ.
On leaving this world, He gave one final commandment to His disciples:
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), and “make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Why didn’t Jesus take His followers with Him back to His Father’s home in heaven? Because there was a job to be done: the gospel was to be communicated, sinners delivered from the wrath to come, and the church built. Christians are here for a great purpose. The Lord Jesus said to His followers, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father” (John 14:12).
The great commission calls on every believer to become involved in the spread of the gospel which, Jesus says, is greater than the works He did on earth. Although He gave sight to the blind, food to the hungry, healing to the sick, and life to the dead, all those physical benefits were transient. The gospel, by contrast, gives spiritual insight to eyes blinded by Satan, lasting satisfaction to those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, and eternal life to those who are dead in trespasses and sins. The great commission prompts us to play our part in sharing the greatest story ever told: the story of God's grace to a needy world.