Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the call for justice and reconciliation? Have you ever felt swept away by the multitude of opportunities to act for the Kingdom of God? Don’t worry. You are not the only one. Working towards the Kingdom of God, acting for justice, and raising awareness for the marginalized can seem like a mountain impossible to move. Simultaneously, it is easy to fall into an activism that is fueled by self-righteousness. Don’t get me wrong. It is good to be active and fight the injustice that is happening all around us. However, it is important to realize that we are not working for our own cause. We cannot establish the Kingdom of God out of our own strength. God is building His kingdom. God is the one who is inviting us to join the kingdom work. Furthermore, God entrusts us with the mission to make disciples and become ambassadors of Christ.
The Bible is full of passages where God calls us into the work that He is already doing. In Ephesians 2:10 Paul shares what this looks like: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” God created us to do good not out of our own strength but out of the strength of Jesus Christ. Thus, we are the echo of God’s heart.We already live in the new kingdom that Jesus called out during his ministry. But it is not here fully yet. It’s a work in progress. God continues the restoration work and reconciles the world, through Jesus, unto himself. Hence, joining God’s work is more than a mission. It is a way of life fully inspired by Jesus in everything we do. You could call it missional living.
Being called into God’s ministry of reconciliation
Often we separate our faith and our everyday life. We go to school or to work and get caught up in the busyness of it. We question our calling and purpose in life. It’s not that we want to separate these things; it happens sometimes. Consequently, we need to remind ourselves that we are all called to join the Mission of God. Even more so we are all sent into our world, our communities and our everyday lives to be ambassadors of reconciliation and restoration (2Cor 5:18-20). We are all broken people in need of healing and restoration. Yet, Jesus passes on the ministry of reconciliation to us. Additionally, Jesus uses us to share the Good News of forgiveness with our neighbors, to bring justice to the marginalized and to reconcile people to God.
The transforming power of Shalom
Joining God’s work starts with our own transformation. It starts with our relationships which are broken. In the blog on poverty we learned that there are 4 major relationships in our lives: relationship with God, relationship with people, relationship with creation and relationship with self. In our world we experience brokenness in these relationship. However, knowing that God offers Shalom – the absolute state of well-being and wholeness – we can experience healing and transformation in these relationships when we entrust our lives to God. Furthermore, we are invited to bring shalom to our families, our neighbors, and our communities. Our calling to be ambassadors for Christ, doing the ministry of reconciliation, is a way of life and a commitment to see a revolutionary change in our own lives and restored relationships. It is a life rooted in the way that God intended us to be – people who do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with Him (Micah 6:8).
Joining God’s work of reconciliation, shalom and justice involves realizing that we are all sent into the world, like Jesus was sent by the father (John 20:21). I find this to be extremely good news. Above all, it means that we are not the masters behind this big task. We don’t carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. God does. God sends us with the power of the Holy Spirit into this world around us proclaiming that the Kingdom of God is near. Hence, we need to be rooted in the power of the Holy Spirit as we engage in God’s Kingdom.
The four Gospels give us an account of Jesus’ ministry of reconciliation. We hear how he announced the Kingdom of God and opened the way to be reconciled to God through repentance. We read the stories of how Jesus took care of the broken, the sick, the poor and the marginalized. Matthew 25:35-36+40 gives us the most visual account of what joining God’s work looks like. “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ … Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
Think about this passage and the other ones mentioned in the blog. What does joining God’s work look like in your everyday life?
In conclusion, all Gospels end with a commission to follow Jesus and join God’s work of reconciliation and restoration. Even though we can’t bring God’s Kingdom to earth by our own strength, we know that God is already building the new heaven and earth. We can see glimpses of it here and there all around us. This week, as we seek to follow Jesus and join God’s work, let’s listen to the Holy Spirit, so we can see the work God is already doing. Let’s learn to see the world through God’s eyes, so we can do the things he has already prepared for us.