I will show you the most excellent way…love…does not boast. (1 Corinthians 12:31, 13:4)
George Washington Carver had captivated the United States Congress. It was January 1921, and Carver was testifying about the dozens of different foods he had learned how to make out of peanuts: ice cream, cereal, pickles—the list went on and on.
Amused, one congressman asked where Carver learned how to do this. “From a book,” Carver replied. What book? the congressman wanted to know. “The Bible,” Carver said. “I didn’t make these discoveries,” Carver explained. “God has only worked through me to reveal to his children some of his wonderful providence.”
What a terrific example of the “the most excellent way” Paul calls us to at work: without boasting. The NASB translates this passage as saying, “love does not brag.” The NKJV says “love does not parade itself.” Because that is the...
I will show you the most excellent way…love is kind. (1 Corinthians 12:31, 13:4)
If you had to describe Fred Rogers (of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fame) in a single word, it would likely be kindness—a virtue he learned from his father.
According to Fred’s biographer, Maxwell King, Jim Rogers made it a habit to “walk through the rows of manufacturing machines,” in his businesses, “addressing each employee by name, inquiring about their work and about their welfare.”
Those inquiries helped Jim Rogers discover financial pain in the lives of his employees, which he frequently offered to alleviate. When Jim died, his journal recorded “thousands of ‘loans’ that were never collected.”
The kindness of Fred Rogers’s father led to extraordinary acts of kindness of his own—stories of which have literally filled many books.
So it should be with us. As we meditate on the kindness of our Heavenly...
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you’re bound to see today’s passage popping up in your social media feeds as a reminder of how God calls us to love our significant others. But the context of this passage was not primarily marital love. Paul was writing about how to steward spiritual and vocational gifts.
After listing out gifts such as teaching, healing, and helping, Paul says this: “And yet I will show you the most excellent way….If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (see 1 Corinthians 12:31 -...
And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)
The good news of the gospel is not just that I get to go to heaven when I die but that I get to partner with God in revealing heaven on earth until I die. But make no mistake: God alone will finish that work when he permanently rips the veil between his dimension of heaven and our dimension of earth in the fifth and final act of history (see Revelation 21).
And contrary to the caricature of heaven as an immaterial gathering of disembodied souls, Scripture makes crystal clear that God’s final creation—just like the first one—is spiritual and material. God never intended to “fit us for heaven, to live with [him] there.” He promised heaven on earth and to dwell with us here (see Revelation 21:1-5).
And what will we be doing on earth for eternity? Not reclining in hammocks. Not strumming harps. We “will reign for ever and ever” with God. Which is exactly how the biblical narrative began!
Then [the apostles] gathered around [Jesus] and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:6-8)
As we saw last week, Christ’s death and resurrection was sufficient to redeem every square inch of creation. The disciples knew this, of course, which is why they were giddily asking Jesus when he would reveal his kingdom in full.
But in his final words before his ascension, Jesus turned the disciples’ attention away from the timing of the kingdom and toward a task—specifically, the task of serving as his “witnesses.”
Expounding on the original Greek of this passage, Tim Keller explains that the word “witnesses” here means “more than simply winning...
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Christ], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:19-20)
The dominant version of “the gospel” preached today goes something like this: Jesus came to save us from our sins.
Every word of this “abridged gospel” is gloriously true. But it is tragically incomplete. Because while Christ certainly came to “seek and save the lost” (see Luke 19:10), he didn’t just come to seek and save lost souls. As today’s passage reminds us, he came to redeem “all things,” spiritual and material in Act 3 of The Unabridged Gospel.
But somehow this lie has entered modern Christian thinking that, as the popular saying goes, “The only two things that last for eternity are God’s Word and people.”
Can I be real a second? This phrase boils my blood for...
God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.” (Genesis 9:1)
As we transition in the biblical narrative from Act 1 of Creation to Act 2 of the Fall, we move from glorious light to tragic darkness.
In Genesis 3, the serpent snuck in through the garden gate, Adam and Eve committed the first sin, and the shalom of Genesis 1 and 2 was shattered. Because now the entire world was rightly under God’s curse (see Genesis 3:1-19).
But Scripture makes clear that the curse broke much more than just our relationship with God. It broke everything God deemed “good” in Act 1—human beings, the nonhuman world, and the world of work.
As we saw last week, the First Commission to “fill the earth,” ‘subdue,” and “rule” it —to “make the earth useful for human beings’ benefit and enjoyment”—was God’s first gift to humankind (see Genesis...
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule…God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule…” (Genesis 1:26, 28)
The pervasive “abridged gospel” starts in Genesis 3 and ends at Easter. But as theologian Dr. Sandra Richter explains, “I am unable to share the gospel without speaking of Eden. Because when we ask the salvation question, what we are really asking is, what did [Adam] lose? And…what did [Jesus] buy back?”
That's why, we’re spending the next 5 weeks unpacking The Unabridged Gospel from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 and what it means for our work.
Our journey begins in Act 1 of Creation where God spent six days working with his words (see Genesis 1) and his hands (see Genesis 2:7–21). Then, God created his children to share in his love, creation, and vocation! Genesis 1 and 2 make clear that God never...
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. (John 3:16)
You and I are staking our lives on the gospel of Jesus Christ. But what is the gospel of Jesus Christ exactly?
One mega Christian influencer defines the gospel as “the good news that Jesus came to earth to make it possible for all of us to live forever with Him in heaven.” In one of the bestselling books of all time, one pastor declares that “[God] wants all his lost children found! That’s the whole reason Jesus came to earth” on Christmas Day.
These statements are examples of what I call The Abridged Gospel, which can be summarized like this:
The Abridged Gospel: Jesus came to save people from their sins.
While every word of that statement is gloriously true, there are three major problems with defining the gospel in this way.
First, The Abridged Gospel is incomplete. It distills the good news of God’s Word into a two-act drama—humans sinned; Christ...
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
I’ve said this multiple times throughout this series, but allow me to say it once more: The Great Commission to “make disciples” is indeed great! But it’s far from the only thing Christ has called us to do. And there are serious problems with treating it as such. We’ve seen three of those problems thus far in this series:
Here’s the fourth problem with treating the Great Commission as the only commission: It blocks you and me from seeing how our work matters for eternity—how, in the words of the Apostle Paul, our “labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
If the Great Commission is the only...