We’ve arrived… at the beginning.
Here we are: New year. New horizons. New expectations. New focus. New energy. New opportunities. Amazing how a revision in the calendar can cause an intellectual and emotional reset on life. Everything that was operative – and, restrictive – about the things that surrounded you before the holidays has now faded into recent history. Today marks a shift…
How will 2019 be different than 2018, for you? What will you be revisiting and recounting in 50 weeks – as you head into Holidays 2019 – that will memorialize this oncoming year as a significant time of initiatives and achievements deemed meaningful in the long-game of Eternity?
In my world – including this weekly thought-provoking conversation we have through my Point of View – we use and hear the term “Kingdom” a lot. It denotes the things that have to do with the strata of life devoted to the work given to us by Jesus Himself. He told us to pray using a powerful appeal: “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…” (Matthew 6:10).
Though the Lord’s Prayer anticipates the day when that request will – literally – be answered with the return of the King and the establishment of His everlasting jurisdiction, the balance of Jesus’ three-year ministry instructed people (and, us) in the way to prepare for that inevitable future reality.
Though the Kingdom has not yet come, we are called to devote our lives to preparing for the day when His Kingdom has come, and – across the face of the earth – every person will be as righteous as God and as faithful as the angels, spending every moment of each day in sync with their Savior.
How much “Kingdom work” will find its way into your priority list this year? Will your agenda include God’s agenda, for you? Before we can even evaluate that question, we need to clarify what “Kingdom work” really looks like. If followers of Jesus – like you, like me – have a Kingdom Calling… how do we evaluate the activities that are reasonable within that Scope of Work?
Last March, the Barna Group released a report on American Christians’ understanding of the Great Commission: Jesus’ directive to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28). Their findings were sobering: 51% were unfamiliar with the Great Commission; 25% had heard the term but were unclear what it meant; uncertainty kept 6% from answering; only 17% could recount what it meant and why it mattered. When assessed demographically, the younger generations were most likely to be clueless. The oncoming wave of American Christians lacks a basic understanding of the mission…
In his book Kingdom Conspiracy, Scot McKnight commends a Chicago congregation that opened and operates a laundromat, health facilities, a gym, and a pizza joint for their neighbors. He sees these activities as examples of “church mission” and therefore “kingdom mission” (p. 98). He calls that the work of “skinny jeans evangelicals,” more focused on social justice than personal conversion. In this new era of relevance and cultural nuance, has the Kingdom of God been reimagined as just another NGO active in community development?
In Matthew’s account of Jesus’ strategic directive to His followers – given as He prepared to return to Heaven and entrust the mission of the Kingdom to them – He clarified the practices that would result in disciples: “…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” (28:19-20).
As we devote the next 51 weeks of 2019 to the myriad demands that compete for our attention, make sure that your Kingdom work is given priority. Your Calling will denote your personal and precise participation in processes that make disciples, worldwide. If laundromats, health facilities, gyms and pizza joints are your end-game, these Monday discussions we have may be unsettling…
Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing,