The way I see it, there are at least three different fields we can work in. We can work in our own field, we can work in others’ fields, or we can work in God’s field. Most people probably spend their time in their own fields or others’ fields. When it comes to working though, how much of a priority is dedicated not just to BEING in God’s field, but to WORKING in God’s field? Most of the time people spend what time they have working in other’s fields and their own fields because they have the feeling THAT work is what provides for them. How do we pay the car note, the house note, pay for the kid’s karate class, pay for vacations, etc.; it’s by working in other’s fields. When we work for them, then they pay us money so that we can buy all those things as well as the necessities of food and clothing.
Also, we work in our own fields by making sure all those things we bought are maintained; such as the house being fixed and decorated, the car in good working order, and us taking care of ourselves and doing things that are relaxing to us. What time is usually left over is usually time in God’s field. However, in Matthew 6:33 it shows us that our FIRST “concern” should be His field. We should be seeking His kingdom and righteousness FIRST. Note, I didn’t say MOST, and that is where a lot of people get confused. What God said was FIRST. God never asks us for all of our time, or to spend all of our time working in His field; what He asks is for us to seek Him FIRST.
The other problem many people might have is the idea of work. Are believing, confessing, repenting, being baptized, and being faithful all works of the Lord? Certainly they are, but are they the “only” work of the Lord… CERTAINLY NOT! When the Holy Spirit says, “… be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”; (I Corinthians 15:58) is the work restricted to being baptized, or attending worship services, or singing and praying? When the Holy Spirit says, “For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name;…” is ministering to the saints the only work we should do, or the only work that God will not forget? As pointed out in last week’s article we have numerous examples of New Testament Christians who were NOT apostles that WERE active in spreading the word of God. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favor of maintaining God’s field, but is that the ONLY work to be done in God’s field. I think it would be a foolish oversight not to realize our personal responsibility in also planting seed in the Lord’s field.
Another problem, is realizing that perhaps our specialties do not excuse us from other responsibilities. Different workers in the field have different strengths and weaknesses, but their strengths do not necessarily excuse them from doing work they may be less comfortable with. In the church it is said, “He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers…” (Eph. 4:11). This scripture is not stating those are the ONLY responsibilities that they have, but instead is emphasizing they have these positions, “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;” The truth is, that some individuals may have been apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, AND teachers. Others may not have been ANY as relates to this text, but that doesn’t excuse them from the responsibility of teaching or spreading the word of God. Someone may be better at singing than you, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sing. Someone could be better at being hospitable than you, but that doesn’t mean it excuses you from needing to be hospitable. And finally, some may be better at planting potato seeds (sharing the gospel) than you, but it doesn’t excuse you from your personal responsibility of planting those potato seeds in God’s field. Let’s commit to not only seeking God’s field FIRST, but also seeking to do WORK there, AND seeking to PLANT there.