Shalom Makers: Development in the Way of Christ – A More Human(e) Way – Part XII
You can check out the outline to connect to the previous sections of this essay. We are in the seventh part of the second section entitled A More Human(e) way.
Love that Serves, Faith that Works, Hope that Surprises
John 13:3 tells us that “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power and that he had come from God and was returning to God.” In other words, Jesus knew who He was. He didn’t feel the need to prove himself. We are told that he had all power and that he was going to show the full extent of his love. What was he about to do? While the disciples were arguing over who was the greatest, Jesus bent down to wash their feet. Jesus taught us that when you have all power and don’t want to corrupt yourself with it, you serve others.
Besides having a love that serves, when we live in God’s story, we are called to a faith that works. We are to pray that God’s kingdom would be more fully realized here on earth and if we are praying in faith, we must have actions that follow. The Good News is not just for another time and place, but also for here and now; the kingdom of God is at hand. We must engage in a love that serves, a faith that works, and finally a hope that surprises.
One of the biggest reasons to intentionally integrate faith into development is because the story of God brings genuine hope. We are promised by the Creator that he will make all things new. Shalom was how the prophets talked about the day when all things would be made right again. Those things that have become corrupt and polluted will be remade to take our breath away. Through imagery and story, their words painted a picture of how things are supposed to be. We will no longer view the poor as tools and property, but as people in the very image of God. People will not try to build our kingdoms to rule in our own way, but would gladly be a part of the kingdom of God, so that peace would prevail. They picture a world in which the original environment will become free from the curse. They speak of a place in which people will genuinely love each other. This is the future that God imagines for us and that He is bringing about.
John Howard Yoder reminds us that: “It is abundantly clear in the New Testament, as all exegetes agree, that this final triumph over evil is not brought about by any human or political means. The agent in judgment is not the church, for the church suffers nonresistently. Nor is the agent the state, as it is for the judgments of God within history; for in fact the state, refusing ever more demonically Christ’s dominion, becomes God’s major enemy (Antichrist). God’s agent is His own miraculous Word, the sword coming from the mouth of the King of kings and the Lord of lords who is astride the white horse (Rev. 19). Just as has been the case ever since the patriarchs, and most notably at Christ’s cross, the task of obedience is to obey and the responsibility for bringing about victory is God’s alone. His means beyond calculation. God’s intervention, not human progress, is the vindication of human obedience. The Christian’s responsibility for defeating evil, is to resist temptation to meet it on its own terms. To crush the evil adversary is to be vanquished by him because it means accepting his standards” (Yoder 1971:62,63).
The next entry will be the conclusion.