Monday, November 4, 2013

Work and the Great Commission

I am finding more and more that God, through His Spirit and His Word, connects the various topics I am interested in or focusing on at a given time. In this case, the focus on missions that originated from the spotlight event at my church, and two books I am reading on the topic, has collided with my long-standing passion for the doctrine of vocation. I have used the hashtag #workmatterstoGod to highlight this topic on Twitter and elsewhere. God intends for us to reach the world for Christ before he returns, and doing so does not just involve dropping everything and living with unreached people and sharing Christ with them. It does mean that. But it also involves day-to-day focus on the global and local spread of the gospel through the everyday work that contributes to the flourishing of the economy and provides people meaningful work.

The Evangelization of the World in This Generation
By John R. Mott

The early Christians preached the Gospel at every opportunity and in all places. This activity was not limited to stated times and places. Every Christian became an active witness within the sphere of his daily calling. For example, trading craftsmen and traders, like Aquila and Priscilla, went about teaching the faith. A mechanic would tell the story of what Christ had done for him to a member of the same trade, one slave to his fellow slave, one member of a family to another. This constant collision of individual souls became the most effective means for the diffusion of the knowledge of Christ.

From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya
by Ruth Tucker

In Labrador, Moravian missionaries supported themselves through trade, with enough money left over to provide basic necessities for needy Eskimos. They owned strips and trading posts, and through their example they interested Eskimos in productive pursuits. The effect of their ministry was not only to bring the gospel to the people but also to make an impact on the native economy and social conditions. In Surinam, the Moravians established a variety of businesses, including tailoring, watchmaking, and baking. As their economic influence grew, so did their spiritual influence, and a thriving Moravian church emerged in that country.

"The most important contribution of the Moravians," writes William Danker, "was their emphasis that every Christian is a missionary and should witness through his daily vocation. If the example of the Moravians had been studied more carefully by other Christians, it is possible that the businessman might have retained his honored place within the expanding Christian world mission, beside the preacher, teacher, and physician."