13 Jan #051 – Integriosity – RENEW—Keep First Things First—Kingdom—Where We Are Going—We Have a Role
ESSENCE: For a leader to lead an organization to faithfully “do right”, they must recognize that what they believe about “where we are going someday” profoundly impacts “how we act today”. God’s restoration plan for His Kingdom means work and business have relevance in God’s grand design and eternal significance. A BIGGER GOSPEL reveals that we have the opportunity to beautify the world and “build for God’s Kingdom” through the way in which we work and the way in which we conduct business and lead organizations.
We are exploring the idea of a BIGGER GOSPEL (four parts instead of just two)–one that starts with Creation and goes all the way to God’s restoration plan for His Kingdom on earth (with the Fall and Redemption through Jesus sandwiched in the middle), and in our last post we explained the Biblical basis for expecting God to restore His Kingdom on earth. But the most exciting part of God’s restoration plan is understanding the role we are called to play in it! It is impossible to understand the relevance of work and business without looking at Revelation and God’s plan for His Kingdom.
Where We Are Going: We Have A Role
While the last post about a Restoration view of heaven vs. a Rapture view of heaven may be one of the most theologically controversial posts we write, this may be one of the most exciting posts we write. Our understanding of “where we are going someday” profoundly affects “how we act today”. How do these two views of heaven impact how we act today:
- Rapture. If people going to heaven are whisked off to an ethereal heaven and the earth burns up, what we do on earth doesn’t matter much in the long run (assuming you belief in salvation by faith rather than works)–it is all going away and, ultimately, our efforts to improve the world are in vain.
- Restoration. If heaven is here on earth in a restored Kingdom that unites God’s dimension with our earthly dimension, then things get exciting because what we do here may last into eternity. 1 Corinthians 15:58 tells us “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.“
At Integrous, we believe in the Restoration option. For a beautiful picture of what this means, we again turn to one of our favorite theologians. In his book Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church N.T. Wright describes the implications of the Restoration option as follows:
What you do in the present—by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbor as yourself—will last into God’s future. These activities are not simply ways of making the present life a little less beastly, a little more bearable, until the day when we leave it behind altogether. They are part of what we may call building for God’s kingdom.
Work matters! Business matters! Organizations matter! We have the opportunity to beautify the world through the way in which we work and the way in which we conduct business and lead organizations. Every decision has the potential to move God’s Kingdom a little closer to God’s perfect Restoration.
What you do in the present—by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbor as yourself—will last into God’s future. These activities are not simply ways of making the present life a little less beastly, a little more bearable, until the day when we leave it behind altogether. They are part of what we may call building for God’s kingdom. (N.T. Wright)
What we believe about where we are going someday profoundly impacts how we act today. The Restoration understanding of heaven we learn from Revelation gives forward-looking purpose to the underlying importance of work we can only learn from Genesis. They are the book-ends.
We have been looking at a BIGGER GOSPEL because a first principle in the Bible (and one of our “Integrity Priorities”) is to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33). That makes it critical to understand God’s kingdom, which requires looking at the nature of the kingdom that the Bible tells us is coming and the implications of that nature for what we do today.
Work is where we spend most of our waking hours, and it has a greater purpose than just “to pay the bills”. A leader can’t lead an organization to faithfully “do right” without understanding and embracing the relevance of work in God’s restoration plan. We believe it is time for “business a better way” in alignment with Biblical values and priorities–it is time to begin faithfully “doing right” through Integriosity®.
SPOILER ALERT: In our next post, we will pull together all the lessons from the Creation and Restoration parts of the Four-Part Gospel to see what they teach us about God’s purposes for work, business and organizations.
PERSONAL NOTE (from PM): When I first heard N.T. Wright talk about “building for God’s kingdom” and read Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church I got excited. It suddenly occurred to me that every human interaction I had mattered, because it moved the world a little closer or a little further away from God’s perfect restoration. Nothing is neutral–we have the choice to make the world a tiny bit more beautiful or a tiny bit uglier. That realization reminded me of a song I loved by Sara Groves called Add to the Beauty. In fact, I got so excited that I immediately went online and bought the domain addtothebeauty.com! Click below to listen.