Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Building For the Kingdom, Not Building the Kingdom

We can address problems and bring change, but we don't change the world. Injustice just moves on, or so it seems.

From a World Vision pamphlet:

  • Human trafficking enslaves more than 27 million people worldwide

  • Human trafficking generates $7 billion a year and is the third biggest crime in the world behind drugs and arms.

  • It is estimated that more people are enslaved today than in the entire 400 years of the transatlantic slave trade. (My emphasis)

Which is depressing if we think we are building the kingdom. I have heard N. T. Wright make a helpful distinction between building the kingdom and building for the kingdom. What we do here does not bring in the kingdom, and we will not change the world. But the work we do will be used by God in the transformation to come, which will be historical and material. The way in whcih God uses it is not to just take it over and continue the work, but rather in a surprising and novel way. This is why the small acts of peace and justice, trust and love, are not worthless in comparison to the great problems of the world.


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  2. I always like the throw away quote from N.T.Wright.

    "We don't build the Kingdom, we build the building blocks out of which God builds God's Kingdom."

    It is God's work not ours but we are not passive in God's work.