To avoid becoming unsettled and disoriented in this spiritually confused world, one needs to understand his purpose in life and in God's church. Concerning the purpose of the church, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:
Those called now are called for the purpose of getting a job done. They are given the holy spirit for that purpose. God has committed to me His Great Commission—to proclaim Christ's gospel message of the Kingdom of God worldwide. He has called a few thousand to help me get that job done. Those predestinated to be called now—instead of later when the whole world shall be called—are given the job of assisting me by heart-rending prayer, by their encouragement (and I need it), and by their tithes and offerings. And this responsibility is God's means of developing in us His own righteous character. (Plain Truth, November 1976)
But what is the purpose of the church now that Mr. Armstrong completed his commission? Mr. Armstrong once said that everyone God has ever called since Adam has been called for a duty—to do something. And that duty has always worked to prepare for God's Kingdom.
From 1934 to 1986, the warning message Mr. Armstrong preached went first to the descendants of Israel, and then, during the last 14 years of his life, to leaders and nations around the world. But when he died, thousands of brethren remained who had helped him fulfill his commission. Were they now without a purpose?
In his last coworker letter, written six days before he died, Mr. Armstrong explained, "It may be that the Work God has given me to do is complete, but not the Work of God's Church, which will be faithfully doing God's Work till Christ, the True Head of this Church, returns" (January 10, 1986).
So, what is God's work now? If God had wanted Mr. Armstrong's commission to continue, He would have kept him alive doing it. But He did not. He made it clear that Mr. Armstrong's work was indeed finished. In removing him from the scene, God showed He is now concentrating on another vital part of the gospel.
Obviously, God has not been concerned about preaching His gospel to the world since Mr. Armstrong's death. If He had, He would not have tolerated either the dilution of many key doctrines, or the reduction or elimination of the vehicles for preaching it. If God had desired to continue that work, He would have kept Mr. Armstrong alive.
A Different Work
In retrospect, we can see that God's intention was a different kind of work. Mr. Armstrong's work was a unique one. Mr. Armstrong reminded us frequently that for eighteen and a half centuries God's true church existed, much of the time very small and impotent, teaching and even meeting secretly, unable to proclaim the gospel to the world. God had a work for His first-century apostles: giving personal, eyewitness proof of the resurrection of Christ and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom. But after that, the church was unable to preach that gospel until God raised Mr. Armstrong to witness for Him worldwide.
Mr. Armstrong did his assigned work. But when God allowed him to die, He did not abandon his coworkers. They also had been called for a great purpose, but the primary purpose of their calling was now to shift from one phase of preparing for God's Kingdom to another.
The focus of their work under Mr. Armstrong was serving the end-time generation preparatory to Christ's coming. But since 1986 another group of people must (or should have) become the primary focus of the work. Church members have long been aware of their responsibility to prepare themselves now to be ready after Christ's return to serve the survivors of the Great Tribulation and assist their Creator in setting up His Kingdom. The work now is for God's people to get into a frame of mind to do this.
We have been given the tools to do the job, being reminded weekly of the truth to keep us on the right track. Our Creator's command, "Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown" (Revelation 3:11) is directed at us more so now than ever! Hence, we have been diligently encouraged to guard the truth!
God Is Doing a Work Now!
Let's not forget when we see the terrible and escalating evils around us that Satan is on the loose. Our loving Creator is subjecting the few who are called now to that ungodly environment to help us see the need for doing things God's way and to allow Him to do His work in us. His work is molding and fashioning the strong, righteous character we need to have in us to help the millions of weak and helpless survivors of the Tribulation at Christ's Return.
God is doing a work now, preparing those who truly are of His household. The faithful and wise servant in charge of the household is giving meat in due season and will be found so doing—feeding the flock—up to the day that Christ returns (Matthew 24:45-46). Notice, just before the end the emphasis is on feeding the flock, not the world. That is the work of God today.
What a great privilege to have the honor of serving our fellow man in the work of God at the beginning of the Millennium! That is yet another work. Meanwhile, our attention must be intensely focused on the preparatory work God is doing today, even as it was focused on the work of preaching the gospel to the world as a witness before 1986. The purpose of God's work now—and our calling—is to prepare for the next phase of God's work as the wonderful World Tomorrow begins! That is why we are in God's church now—ahead of time—before God calls all of mankind to salvation.