Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

His Kingdom, With Or Without Weeds

If we are currently living within the Kingdom of God, and the rule of the Creator-Sustainer is a present reality, why did Christ teach us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come…?” (Matt. 6:10)

Describing the Kingdom of God is like the blind men describing an elephant. One man touches an ear and declares, “the elephant is like a fan!” Another touches the tail and shouts, “the elephant is like a rope!” It depends on which aspect of the elephant one touches.

When it comes to the Kingdom of God, there is both a present expression of the Kingdom and a coming expression. They are not exactly the same expressions. To put it in the context of Matthew 13, the coming Kingdom is "the Kingdom without weeds." The Kingdom where “all things that offend and those who practice lawlessness” have been removed (Matt. 13:41). Until then, God's present Kingdom contains weeds.

Even so, it is still His Kingdom, with or without weeds. In its current state of disrepair, the whole “field” of planet Earth, and all that it contains, including every airplane flying overhead, is the Creator-Sustainer’s own possession (Psalm 24:1).

Does this mean Jesus owns everything in the Boeing Company, and the Boeing manufacturing plant just miles from my home lies within the realm of Christ’s rule, under the jurisdiction of His present Kingdom? I say, “yes.” Jesus is Lord of all (Acts 10:36), whether the Boeing Company recognizes Him as such or not!

Why does understanding this matter? The ramifications for our everyday work are enormous. It means there is no type of earthly work that can be done outside the present Kingdom of God, because the jurisdiction of Christ’s rule extends over every human activity, and there is no earthly occupation that takes place outside the borders of the King's domain.

It gets very practical. If I’m sweeping floors, I’m sweeping part of His Kingdom. If I am building airplanes, I am molding and shaping His Kingdom’s “stuff” into machines that fly through His Kingdom’s sky. This gives building airplanes a sublime dimension, and it gives all work an awesome significance: It is His world we are working in, and His stuff we are working with.

But if I limit my understanding of the Kingdom of God to only its coming pristine expression, and I fail to appreciate its present (albeit contaminated) expression, I'll tend to focus on the age to come, and miss the significance of the here-and-now, including the full significance of everyday work in God's present Kingdom. Including building airplanes.

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