BECOMING A HOPE ADDICT
Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.”
Over these past 26 weekly letters we have been looking at Kingdom Thinking and considering what it means to think this way and how it should affect us in what we say and do.
I was having a conversation with a brother discussing things regarding our culture, society, politics, etc. that are affecting us. In the conversation we wondered what can we do to make an impact in our culture. The thought that seemed to permeate our thinking was: it is so overwhelming that it seems hopeless, judgment is coming and there is nothing we can do.
Upon further reflection several thoughts came to my mind.
First, I believe that judgment is coming. As a matter of fact I think judgment has already started and is beginning to spread. When God begins to chastise it does not come down all at once, but slowly – giving us the chance to repent and turn from our wicked ways. If we do not repent then more judgment comes upon us. I see this judgment coming through our western economic downturn as well as with the lack of good leadership. Today we have leaders who do not know what to do.
When these things begin to happen, we, God’s people, need to be prepared and ready to step in the gap with a helping hand. Often I have seen this scenario played out in other parts of the world. God is giving us a chance to see people’s hearts changed by the Gospel because through a crisis they are more open than before. Their foundation has been shaken. Often this has been the result of God’s judgment or chastisement and we, God’s people, need to be ready to take advantage of this for the Gospel’s sake. This is one way we will see a change in culture and society.
In my last weekly I wrote about power and influence. Joseph was ready with his influence when crisis, in the form of a famine, came to Egypt and the known world. Daniel was ready when Nebuchadnezzar sent out the order to kill all the wise men because they could not interpret his dream.
I also believe that God is right now preparing His people to be ready for the coming crisis and through their influence to see a great harvest of souls. We need the Abrahams who “against all hope….believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Romans 4:18-19
Another aspect in Kingdom Thinking that I have written about that we need to understand is that our work matters to God. Wherever God has placed us, that work matters to God. When we live out His kingdom principles of righteousness and justice in our home and work place this will have an impact. When we put into practice what Jesus told us in Matthew 6:33 to “seek first the kingdom of God” it will have an impact.
We have an illustration of this in 2 Kings chapter 5. The characters are Naaman, a great man in king Aram’s kingdom (Syria), and the captain of the army. Naaman had leprosy. Another character is a captured little Jewish slave girl who was a handmaiden to Naaman’s wife. Also in this scene there is Elisha, the prophet in Israel.
Here is this little slave girl. Her work was to be a handmaiden to Naaman’s wife – whatever that entailed. Did her work matter to God? I think so. She knew what she believed: the God of Israel is God and not the idols that Naaman and his people worship. She told her mistress about the prophet in Israel who could heal Naaman of his leprosy.
Naaman takes it to heart and goes to Israel with the blessing of his king who had written a letter to the king of Israel. The bottom line is that Naaman gets healed of his leprosy and his testimony is: “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.” 2 Kings 5:15
Do you think that all this had an impact upon the king of Aram and his kingdom? I think so. What did God use? He used a little Jewish slave girl as she did her daily work. We never know what God might or might not do. We are to be faithful in that which God has given us to do.
We need to recognize that we all have a calling, but there are two phases to this calling. First, we are called ‘to be;’ that is, to be a believer in Christ and to become Christ-like. Then we are ‘to do;’ that is, to do what-ever He has given us to do. For this little slave girl it was to be a handmaiden to Naaman’s wife. Naaman was a prominent man in Aram and through the testimony of this little slave girl God was honored and lifted up.
The prophet Zechariah said: “For who has despised the day of small things?” Zechariah 4:10 NKJV
Yes, our work matters to God, no matter what it is, and it should matter to us as well.