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Wednesday, 10 June 2015 23:00

What is God's Job?

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God the Father and His Son Jesus ChristOne morning while eating breakfast (because over breakfast or in the shower are when the best ideas come to mind) I had a thought that stopped me in my tracks. It was a question that we all think we know the answer to, but the truth is I'm not so sure that we really do. And the more I thought about it, the stronger the significance of the question became.

Here it goes: what is God's job?

Now, I don't mean the whole creating worlds, organizing universes, forming stars, and so on. We know all that and those are the typical Sunday School answers that most people can recite in their sleep. But that's not personal to me, that's galactic management. No, what I wanted to know as I finished off my orange juice was, "What is God's job in regards to my life and my eternal salvation?

We know that he is our Father and that we are his children (see Psalms 82:6, Ecclesiastes 12:7 and Hebrews 12:9). And like most children, we want to know what Daddy does all day. Did he just create this world through his son, Jesus Christ (see Hebrews 1:1-2), then send Adam and Eve down here and go on vacation once they partook of the fruit and started the whole plan in motion? And even if he did (he didn't), I'm pretty sure he came back to work to watch over the mortal life of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Oh, how he must have wept when the Jewish priests conspired to have Jesus put to death and then succeeded through Pilate and the Roman soldiers by having our beloved Lord crucified on the cross.

So, even if he was on vacation before Jesus' mortal ministry, after Christ's resurrection and ascension to heaven did Heavenly Father disappear, saying, "Jesus, you've got this right? You can watch over things now." That isn't meant to sound sacrilegious, but rather to spark some thinking in your own mind because more often than not this is exactly what we picture; that Jesus is managing this earth and his Church, but where does that leave the Father? We still pray to him (God), worship him, reverence him and praise him, but...do we know what he is doing for us personally at this time? Is he active in our lives? What are his promises and responsibilities towards us? Does he have a vested interest in us and in our return to his presence once this life has been completed?

God the Father and Jesus appear to Joseph SmithWe know he does because he told us what his role, his "job", is: "For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39). Many members of the Church read that scripture and misunderstand that while the Lord (Jehovah = Jesus Christ) is the being speaking, he is doing so while representing God the Father through a process known as divine investiture. Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained that "the Father has placed his name upon the Son, has given him his own power and authority, and has authorized him to speak in the first person as though he were the original or primal Father” (McConkie, The Promised Messiah, p. 63).

If we were to analyze the prior scripture then we would learn that God's "work" would be the exertion or effort he directs to produce or accomplish "the immortality and eternal life of man" (ibid) and since we are all part of mankind that means that God's "job" is to labor for our salvation. And that role, that responsibility, is part of the "glory" mentioned in Moses 1:39. One definition of glory is "very great praise, honor, or distinction bestowed by common consent." Now think about that last part, "a distinction bestowed by common consent." We give God the Father great praise as our father, as the creator of our spirits, as the giver of the gift of this world and our lives on it, and that glory is rightfully his. But the "common consent" phrase stands out to me. When did we give him our common consent to accept him as our God (something beyond being our Father in Heaven) and have such an important role in our mortal/eternal lives?

During our pre-birth life in the Preexistence when God presented his Plan of Salvation (also known as the Plan of Happiness, see 2 Nephi 2:27), and we fought the War in Heaven over God's plan vs. Lucifer's plan (see Revelations 12:7, Luke 10:18, and Isaiah 14:13), we know that Lucifer/Satan lost and was cast out. Those of us who remained gave our common consent (there's that phrase again) to God's plan, including Jesus Christ's role as our Savior. Now when Old Testament Job was going through all his trials, The Lord (Jehovah/Jesus Christ) asked if Job knew where he was when "the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy" (Job 38:7). Well, doctrinally we know that Job was there when the shouting occurs, but here's the question: why was it a shout for joy? 

I can think of three reasons. 1. Because with God's plan accepted we would now be able to go down to this earth-life and progress and get a physical body. 2. Because Jesus, our loving older brother was now going to be "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8 and 1 Peter 1:20) which meant that we could overcome sin and death through his Atoning sacrifice (John 14:6). But there is a third reason that I'm not sure any of us have considered before (at least in mortality): 3. We shouted for joy because God the Father who was the architect of this plan would also be our greatest ally as we sought to see it through until the end, i.e. exaltation. 

So, what is God's job? It is to do whatever he can (within the bounds of eternal law and respecting our agency) to help us through the hard times, to bless us with what we need, to guide in correct paths and to lift us up when we fall. We so often quote John 3:16 which reads, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Now, while this verse has brought immeasurable comfort and peace to millions of faithful throughout history, we only understand half of it.

Yes, God loved us enough to send his son so we could have the opportunity to repent and come back to his presence. But he also loved us enough to send his son so that he, meaning God the Father, could work through Jesus' atonement in our behalf. Because of Christ's sacrifice God can forgive us like he wants to. He can bless us like he wants to. He can give us the right teachings and ordinances and guidance like he wants to. In short, because God sent his son, Jesus Christ, our Father in Heaven can continue to do everything in his mighty power to give us every opportunity to grow, to learn, to repent, to change, to progress and to receive every blessing necessary for our salvation.

We so often forget that God the Father is an exalted man (see Joseph Smith's King Follett Discourse) and as such, he has experienced a mortal life at some point in the eternities. That also means that he is personally acquainted with the sorrows and happiness and the griefs and joys of mortal existence. And as such, how could he, with his incredible depth of soul, of character, and of compassion just send us to this earth and not want to help us do our best? What earthly father (at least the good ones) could ever send his son or daughter into an extremely difficult and eternally important situation and not crave with all their being to help their beloved child achieve success? 

Jesus tried on many occasions to get us to see this loving fatherly side of God time and time again. Think of the father's reaction to the Prodigal Son's return and compare that to Luke 15:7 that reads, "I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven (and thus in God) over one sinner that repenteth..." Or think of the parable of the Lost Coin or the Lost Sheep or the countless people that Jesus healed during his mortal life, the power of which he constantly attributed to his and our Father. Perhaps the clearest communicated example of God's love for us through the Savior came in Mathew 7:9-11 where the Lord asked:

"Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" 

I don't think the Lord was calling us "evil" as in wicked-spawn-of-the-devil people; no, he was pointing out that even a very imperfect, fallible human parent can work their tail off to provide for their children, keep them safe, and teach them how to be happy in life. What Christ was saying is that if human parents are like that, how much more is a perfect, divine, exalted father going to desire our happiness, our safety, our progression and our salvation?

Think of these words by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf:

"Brothers and sisters, the most powerful Being in the universe is the Father of your spirit. He knows you. He loves you with a perfect love.

"God sees you not only as a mortal being on a small planet who lives for a brief season—He sees you as His child. He sees you as the being you are capable and designed to become. He wants you to know that you matter to Him."

In fact, it almost seems like President Uchtdorf has made it a personal mission to remind us God's love for each and every one of us as demonstrated by the number of talks he has given on the topic. As if to reinforce the Lord's teachings from Mathew 7:9-11 about God's love for us, President Uchtdorf said, "Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount—that is the measure of God’s love for you."

What is God's job? What is he doing day in and day out? He is loving you, helping you (often in ways you cannot even imagine) and he is blessing you along the way as you use your own agency to make your way through this world. 

And even if you don't have a great relationship with your Eternal Father right now, even if you're angry with him or have chosen to move away from his commandments and his ways, he still loves you and is working to bless you as much as he can in your current state. And like the Prodigal Son's father, he waiting and watching for even the slightest movement and turn of your heart back towards him.

The Love of God For YouGiven the fact that the very God of our universe is reaching out for us and laboring to give us every needful thing, including the trials and sorrows of this world that provide crucial growth, it is no wonder that President Thomas S. Monson testified, "We were not placed on this earth to walk alone. What an amazing source of power, of strength, and of comfort is available to each of us. He who knows us better than we know ourselves, He who sees the larger picture and who knows the end from the beginning, has assured us that He will be there for us to provide help if we but ask."

So, now we know what our Father in Heaven is doing, what his "job" is, what he is faithfully working for: our salvation. What do we give a Father so incredible, so loving, so hard-working, so faithful and so good? 

We give him our heart, our love and our trust; that is the greatest gift we could present to him this Father's Day and every day thereafter. 


Jeremy C. Holm

Author & American athlete Jeremy C. Holm has spent over half his life in the fast-paced winter sport of bobsled, including as the Head Coach for the US Adaptive Bobsled Team. He has a degree in Journalism and is pursuing a degree in Military History at the American Military University. In addition to motivational speaking and corporate appearances around the world, Jeremy is the author of three books and spends his time camping, hiking, writing and trying to make history, one day at a time.

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