|...And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow... (Matthew 6:28)|
Pop quiz! Read the sentence below then fill in the blanks with: (Spiritual, Social) Which one fits into which blank? Which one comes first?
“True _________ transformation cannot happen without _________ transformation.”
Transformation has nothing to do with “making you more like me” outside of discipleship.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
Let me turn our relief thinking on it's head a little. Do you realize that we from the west are far more concerned, "anxious about clothing" (Matthew6:28), what we wear, than any "poor" individual I ever met? Sure, everyone wants to look nice, but I find much more of a concern and dependence on clothing and image in the west than in the global south. This is also exactly why we tend to think that if we just bought someone new clothes, or found a better house, of a better something, we've done the right thing. Not necessarily. There probably was a bigger, deeper need. Much of our materialism and need for comfort and convenience is unique to us in the west. So who should be paying more attention when we read Matthew 6 and Jesus saying, "why are you anxious?" Who is poor and who needs the relief? Poor in spirit, poor in relationships, poor image of self, poor in purpose...
- we believe transformation and wholeness is for everyone
- Any program that seeks to eradicate poverty, has an immature Kingdom perspective.
This is the very reason why the church, the local church, can and should be the most effective agent in transformation. I mention the local church, because this is who we aim to envision and empower to do the work. It doesn't take missionaries to do the work of the church but as missionaries we can help by partnering, clarifying the mission of the local church. The church is fundamentally shaped to thrive on things that are not so measurable: love, faith, grace, hope and dependence on God. The church is positioned to develop and address the spiritual dimension. The church has the theology of “principalities and powers.” In Jesus, we have the power to fight against the enemy who seeks to kill and destroy everything. The enemy, Satan, hates anything that pertains to transformation and the kingdom.
This Easter, we will celebrate that Jesus is risen. He is alive! He continues today to work out and bring in his kingdom. How do we respond to that? He has invited you and I in a relationship with him. He has already invited you to participate in his broad kingdom mission of reconciliation. In your own transformation story, with the help of the Holy Spirit, Jesus will guide you in your response and in what you ought to do daily to reach out to others. Don't dismiss the ongoing work of Jesus in you this Easter season. Transformation is for all of us.