“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
William Wilberforce was easily one of the most productive people of all time.
First elected to British Parliament in 1780 at the age of 21, Wilberforce was a boy king. At one point in his life, he was officially linked to 69 separate social reform groups throughout Great Britain. Oh yeah, and he was the man chiefly responsible for abolishing slavery across the British Empire and eventually the world. As one of Wilberforce’s biographers said, “It’s difficult to escape the verdict that William Wilberforce was simply the greatest social reformer in the history of the world.”
Early in his career, Wilberforce was ambitious for all the wrong things, namely the accumulation of power, wealth, and privilege. But his ambition was transformed when he submitted his life to the lordship of Jesus Christ at the age...
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)
If you’ve ever watched the TV show Heroes, you’ll likely recall the show’s famous line: “Save the cheerleader, save the world.” The idea was that if the characters of the show could save the life of a cheerleader named Claire, they could save the universe from destruction. And with this charge, the characters focused on that singular goal.
As I’ve argued in this series, the Church often takes an equally myopic view of which activities matter for eternity, believing that the only way in which our vocations matter is if we share the gospel with those around us.
As I hope I’ve made clear, while sharing the gospel is a good, Jesus–commanded thing to do, it is far from the only God-honoring thing we do through our work. As we’ve seen, our work can be a...
But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)
By the time C.S. Lewis turned 17, his atheism had been quite fully formed. According to one of his biographers, “the rational case for religion was, in Lewis’s view, totally bankrupt.”
But something other than reason kept nagging at Lewis, causing some part of him to long for more than what logic could provide. “He continued to find himself experiencing deep feelings of desire,” through “momentary and transient epiphanies” which left “nothing but a memory and a longing.”
The most significant of these moments took place...
The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. (Revelation 21:24-26)
As we saw last week, the work you and I do today matters for eternity far beyond using our positions of influence to share the gospel. But before we go any further, let me clearly state the obvious: Sharing the gospel is a good, Jesus-commanded thing.
As I’ve written many times before, regardless of our vocation, we should all view ourselves as “full-time missionaries” making disciples of Jesus Christ as we go about our work. The point I want to make today is that Scripture hasn’t commanded us to only share the gospel, and by focusing so myopically on “saving souls,” we can miss Jesus’s bigger mission for his Kingdom and the bigger story for our work.
So, aside from using...
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)
In our churches today, we talk a lot about saving souls, and very little about what Jesus called “the Kingdom of God.”
This is startling because it is the exact opposite of what we see Jesus emphasizing in the New Testament. According to the concordance in my Bible, Jesus used...
Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. (Luke 22:25-27)
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the term “essential worker” has entered our collective lexicon and is unlikely to leave anytime soon. Who will be deemed the most essential workers in the Kingdom? Who will hold the positions of highest rank, authority, and honor as we work to serve our King and his Kingdom?
Last week, we looked at one answer to this question: those who are obedient to the Lord’s commands. Today, we look at a second answer: those who take on the posture of servants.
As I’ve written about before, in...
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)
As we’ve seen during the global COVID-19 crisis, the world’s definition of who is and who is not an “essential worker” is a moving target. But not so with God, which should lead Christ-followers to this question: Who will be deemed the essential workers in eternity? Who will hold the positions of highest authority? Or, to borrow the language of our Savior, who “will be called great in the kingdom of heaven”?
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus answers these questions clearly: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of...
Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:19)
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an interesting moment in which who is deemed an “essential worker” has been flipped on its head.
For years, many have been predicting that factory workers, Shipt shoppers, and Amazon delivery drivers will soon be replaced by robots, delivery drones, and self-driving cars. According to these futurists, the workers who are “essential” in our economy are the entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and programmers who will bring these technologies to life.
Don’t get me wrong, of course these jobs are important and eternally significant. And no, I’m not interested in debating if and when the above future will occur. What I am interested in is the fact...
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.’” (Exodus 31:12-13)
We began this series by reading Exodus 31:1-5 in which we are told that Bezalel—an artist and culture-creator—was the first person to be “filled with the Spirit of God.”
The context of that passage is a large chunk of Scripture in which the Lord gave Moses detailed instructions on Mount Sinai, starting with The Ten Commandments in Exodus 19-20. Exodus 31 is the last chapter in this run, but it doesn’t end with the aforementioned scene of Bezalel being filled with God’s creative spirit. Before the Lord adjourns His meeting with Moses at Mount Sinai, he has one last thing to say: He reminds His people to observe His Sabbaths (see today’s reading above).
Now, keep in mind, the Lord has already...
So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the Lord has commanded. Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.” (Exodus 36:1-5)
We’re in a series exploring the few passages of Scripture that focus on the life of Bezalel—the first person the Bible says was filled with the Spirit of God—extracting applications for...