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, January 8, 2010

Kingdom "Actualization"

Last week we saw Jack vanHartesvelt aligning his real estate dealings with the will of God. He reconciled what he is doing on Monday morning with what he is hearing on Sunday morning. (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJRU2EEqcaQ for Jack's story.)

When Jack started doing this, the Kingdom of God “came to light” in his workplace. As a result, people’s lives were touched. Transformation occurred. Over time, the city of New Orleans was blessed by a man who had been stirred through the way Jack handled business. (Sounds like that great film, It’s A Wonderful Life, doesn’t it?)

What do I mean when I say the Kingdom “came to light” in Jack’s workplace? The Kingdom of God was already there, wasn’t it? Doesn’t the earth and all it contains presently belong to God (Ps. 24:1)? Isn’t God exalted as head over all (I Chron. 29:11) presently? Isn’t Jesus presently Lord of all (Acts 10:36)?

Yes! So why did Jesus teach His disciples to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven?”

We have such a difficult time holding this truth in tension. If the Kingdom of God is already present (Jesus is Lord), why does it need to come?

Here is how I manage this tension: I see the whole world as God’s "turf." The “field” is His (Matt 13:24-43), the earth and all it contains presently belongs to God (Ps. 24:1), and Jesus is Lord of all, right now. His Kingdom is as broad as creation is wide! At the same time, things happen in this present Kingdom that are in conflict with the King, or, "out of alignment" with God. Lots of things on earth need to be reconciled to God, including the way we handle real estate. (Remember 2008!)

But when a follower of Christ, like Jack, by the grace of God applies the "ministry of reconciliation" to a situation, and the will of God is done, the Kingdom is "actualized." It is "realized." It “comes."

Yes, legally and geographically, the present Kingdom is already here. But until it is recognized and submitted to, it remains “hidden.”

The Kingdom will fully come when Christ returns. But in the meantime, Kingdom "actualization" occurs through human recognition of the Kingdom and submission to the King right now.

God’s Kingdom [though always present] "comes to light" when God's will is done.

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