This is part seven of a 7-part series on the sacred/secular divide.
Paul says to the Colossians: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24). This is important enough that Paul repeats it to the Corinthians: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
All for the Glory of God
We need to stop thinking in terms of church stuff on Sunday and non-church stuff the rest of the week. EVERY one of us is called to “Love the LORD your God with ALL your heart, mind, soul, and strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37, emphasis mine), regardless of occupation.
This is not to say distinctions aren’t helpful or necessary, but only that when some jobs or activities are considered “ministry” and some aren’t, we have moved into the Sacred/Secular divide territory. God has tasked the church with pointing us toward Christ and showing the world what the Kingdom of God looks like on earth. He has NOT tasked the church with governing the world; we see that nowhere in the NT.
On the contrary, we see the government’s job as levying taxes, punishing evil, and setting laws (Mark 12:17, Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:13-15). According to Romans 13:1, this governing authority is from God. Psalm 24:1 agrees: “the earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.”
As much as we don’t want the government choosing our pastors, we don’t want our churches to determine our tax brackets. Yet, the church should seek justice for society, and the government should be concerned with morality and make judgments that are glorifying to God. All have their role, and all are important in restoring the Kingdom to God’s full reign. In some ways, this life is practice for the next.
On Earth as it is in Heaven
Jesus tells us in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) that the way we use the resources He has entrusted us with in this life correlates to what charge He gives to us for Eternity. This makes perfect sense in light of what we’ve seen from Genesis to Revelation over the past few weeks. He is allowing us to practice faithfulness and living according to His Kingdom’s principles now so that we demonstrate reliability and trust to properly exercise domain over His property forever.
Matthew even organizes his material to this end. Immediately after the parable of the talents, Matthew has Jesus talking about separating out the sheep from the goats when He returns in glory. Those who brought justice (gave food, drink, and welcomed Jesus by giving food, drink, and welcoming people in this present age) will inherit the Kingdom (Matthew 25:31-46).
Let us be found faithful when our Lord Jesus returns—faithful not in some abstract way but concretely in bringing justice to His world, in repairing what is broken, in joining Him in redeeming the hearts of man to His image.
Greg is the President of OPEN USA. He used his education to work as a tentmaker in the Middle East for 8.5 years seeking to plant a church amongst a least-reached people group. Currently back in the USA with his wife and children, they aim to return to finish what the LORD used them to start.
To learn more about B4T, read Business for Transformation by Patrick Lai.