Friday, January 6, 2012

God's Kingdom and Kingdom Building...

When we talk about community development in God's Kingdom, we sometimes refer to it as, "Kingdom Development." This is not to say that what we do, humanly speaking, actually adds to or even takes away from God's Kingdom. It does not. For God's Kingdom is something that exists wherever He reigns and rules in the hearts of men and women submitting to His Lordship.

It also doesn't imply that our efforts at helping the poor, feeding the hungry and making the world generally better hastens or delays the coming of God's Kingdom. His Kingdom is fixed and appointed to come in fullness at the time of His choosing, no matter what our efforts (or lack thereof). Paul says that creation will one day be set free from its current bondage but that until that day, creation will remain subjected to futility and decay (Romans 8:21-22).

This might cause one to pause and ask, "then why are we concerned with, from a Christian perspective, making the world a better place through relief and development ministries?" If it is all subject to decay and His Kingdom will come in fullness when He so desires, aren't all our efforts "futile" along with creation?

From a Biblical as well as missiological stand point, I view our efforts at "making the world a better place" as a "means" of making Christ known to that same lost and dying world. When we do good community development, in the Name of Jesus, and when we help feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, clothe the naked, we do so because of God's love. And in doing so, we reflect the nature and the heart of God to a world that is broken and fallen. With our actions, and with our voices, we proclaim, "This is not how life was meant to be!" In short, we live to make Jesus known in our words we speak and in the deeds we do.

Jesus said that we would always have the poor with us. He could have equally said that we would always have the lost with us as well. Neither statement or thought should lull us into complacency, or worse, inaction, to not do something about them both.

When I tell someone about Jesus and make a disciple, I do so because it is God's command. Whether I use words or deeds is pretty much irrelevant. I know that my feeding a hungry person doesn't make the King return any sooner. I also know that my verbally sharing the gospel doesn't hasten His return as well. I do know that when the King does return, I pray He finds me faithful in loving others in both word and deed.

To make Him known...

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