We live in a world which says there is no God, he does not care, he has forgotten, he will never see it. Post-Christian Britain.
In this world without absolute moral standard, those who are born into poverty can be crushed. Selfish desires rule, and the oppressed are stepped on. The poor are drawn into nets of debt, and cannot escape on their own.
Does this sound distopian? Perhaps a little OTT?
Go and have a quick read of Psalms 9 and 10. Here's the link.
These Psalms recount a single Hebrew acrostic poem of David, and move from a foundational worldview to a highly personal and individual plea. The first two paragraphs above are drawn from these Psalms.
- the LORD is enthroned, and judges the world with righteousness (Ps 9 v7-8)
- trust and praise Him, because in the end His strength and power will prevail
- at times, it may seem like He is "hiding Himself" (Ps 10 v 1)
- the arrogant and wicked will cause injustice, deliberately and selfishly causing pain, because they do not see God, fear Him or believe in Him - they assume they can get away with it (Ps 10 v 2-11)
- but in the end the LORD is king forever and ever, and he will do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed (Ps 10 v 16-18)
- and in the meantime, we should be calling out to God for those who are afflicted (Ps 10 v 12)
Why mention these Psalms in the context of mission, or indeed missional business?
Because it can be easy for us to lose sight of our Father's desire and heart for justice and righteousness. We can allow the injustice of this world to become second nature to us. Perhaps we assume that it will all be made right in the End by our God, and until then, we just need to survive as exiles and foreigners in this world, safe in our communities in the local church.
But as we live as adopted children of God, we strive to become more like Christ, who himself reflects the Father's heart. We want the following to be true:
- We love others
- We don't acccept injustice, because God's heart is against it. We cry out to Him, and where we can do something, we do.
- In doing so, we do not align ourselves with those who would oppress the poor.
- We also help demonstrate God's goodness to others.
In saying this, we do not lose sight of the emphasis of the New Testament's call to announce the good news of the Kingdom, as entered into and continually lived by repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the greatest hope and ultimate justice-bringer. To do this, we must speak the Scriptures in a way that can be understood by those we are talking to.
But if this Kingdom can be defined as 'the rule of the Lord Jesus', perhaps we should be reflecting his heart, desires and character more fully, as revealed by all of Scripture?
So mission through business seeks to make Jesus known, help people to follow him in faith, AND address injustice and poverty (for example through job creation). This is done by crossing barriers... to socially deprived areas in the UK, to refugees in Europe, or to those around the world who have never heard of Jesus Christ and the hope found in him.
Note: there was an interesting blog written recently here at Think Theology with a summary of the Scriptural verbiage attached to the concept of Kingdom-now. There's not time in this blog, but it should lead us back to a study of what God says in His Word regarding His Kingdom.
I also note that some of the background to the thoughts above comes down to your take on covenental or dispensational paradigms. Regardless of how much we take of the Israelite Kingdom paradigm in today's church, hopefully we can all agree that God's heart and character remains the same yesterday, today and forever... and across all eras or promises.