Matthew 6:9-10 “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’”
I praise the Lord for the tithes and offerings that come in from God’s people to support the work that is being done. Jesus did say that the laborer is worthy of his hire. “And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.” (Luke 10:7 KJV)
However, with kingdom thinking we go beyond tithes and offerings to see how through the gospel whole communities can be lifted up economically.
Vishal Mangalwati said this about William Carey: “He was an industrialist. An economist. A medical humanitarian. A media pioneer. An educator. A moral reformer. A botanist. And a Christian missionary. And he did more for the transformation of the Indian subcontinent in the nineteenth century and twentieth century than any other individual before or since.”
When Carey arrived in India in 1793 as a missionary-reformer he not only accomplished what was said above, but started what is now known as the Modern Missionary Movement. With this movement came new structures called mission societies and the Gospel began to go out all over the world in a more concentrated effort not seen probably since the early apostles. William Carey was a kingdom thinker.
Historian Hugh Tinker, in his classic study on South Asia wrote a short history, summing up the essence of Carey’s method and its results: “…and so in Serampore, on the banks of river Hooghly, soon after 1800, the principal elements in modern South Asia – popular linguistic identification, the press, the university, social consciousness – all came to light. The West and South Asia were about to come to grips with each other in terms not merely a power and profit, but also of ideas and principles.”
This brings out not only Kingdom thinking, but kingdom action. Vishal Mangalwati went on to say that it was the Gospel, not Gandhi that set India free. Proverbs 19:21 states: “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” It would seem from this verse that we can have many plans, but the only plans that will prevail are those that are in tune with God’s purpose.
What is God’s purpose? The Lord’s prayer sums up God’s purpose quite well: “His kingdom come and His will be done here in earth as it is in heaven.” Kingdom thinking takes God’s purpose and sees how it can be achieved in the community and society where we live.
We know from Luke 17:21 that “the kingdom of God is within you.” This is why our work matters to God, like Dr. Hugh Whelchel said: “Work is not a curse but a gift from God. By our work we employ useful skills to glorify God and love our neighbors.” God has His people in different vocations throughout society and in seeking first His kingdom (Matthew 6:33) we begin to see His kingdom manifested in our different spheres of work.
Tim Keller brings out this definition of work: “Rearranging the raw materials of a particular domain to draw out its potential for the flourishing of everyone.” We are made in the image of God, and God created and so will we. The only difference is that God created something out of nothing, but we create something out of something. We can take a piece of wood and make a table or take a tree and build a house.
I am sure that when each member of God’s household begins to earnestly seek first the Kingdom of God, creative ideas will come forth on how we can see a change in our culture and community through the work the Lord has called us to. Like Hugh Welchel said: “Being in the image of God refers not only to who we are but also to what we are created to do. We are called not just to work but to do certain tasks to achieve a definite goal.”
And the goal is: “His kingdom come and His will be done here on earth as it is in heaven.” This will not be fully achieved until the Lord comes, but we work towards this goal.
Frank Dietz – OM International – Minister at Large