Doing the Kingdom’s Business
Thoughts about Doing the Kingdom’s Business
As I talk about this subject, I will refer to Luke 14:25-30, Hebrews 11:1-6, Acts 10:19-24, and Matthew 25:14-30. We will be discussing some of the principles that we can follow in doing business in the Kingdom of God.
The principles that I will talk about have to do with our discipleship and obedience to Christ’s commands. Christ has invited us to be disciples committed to Him. He has invited us to hold nothing back but to put Him first in all things. In addition, he has commanded us as disciples to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. His command is crystal clear. It is not an option. Global evangelism is a part of our discipleship.
Discipleship has many facets, but in this series, I will emphasize how we approach money and the use of our abilities or gifts. Money is an important element in the Kingdom’s business. As long as we have to buy tickets, pay hotel bills, produce materials, pay the mortgage, and sustain the lives of the workers, it will take money. The principles of Kingdom business include what we do about money.
Moreover, the Kingdom’s business requires the dedicated use of all of our gifts and talents. The kingdom of God has multitudes of people with many talents. Without the gifts and talents, our part in the Kingdom’s business would not exist. God is the giver of the gifts. He gives them to us for a purpose. We must discover that purpose and use the gifts for His glory.
So, over the next few days, let’s examine some key principles: (1) We must count the cost. (2) Without faith we cannot please God. (3) We must rely on the leadership of the Spirit. (4) We must invest God’s money for Kingdom benefit.
More Thoughts about Doing the Kingdom’s Business
Concerning this subject, let’s begin with the principle that we must count the cost. Jesus told a parable that centers on the cost of discipleship. No one should take lightly the cost of being a disciple of Christ. Salvation is free, but there is a high cost to this free gift. Jesus requires our full commitment to Him. Therefore, we should count the cost.
While making this point, Jesus illustrated a strong business principle. It is important to count the cost of what we do. Here is the story (Luke 14:25-30) from The Message: “Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you’re going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: “He started something he couldn’t finish.”
Well, one might say, “I thought we lived by faith. Where is faith in all this process?” Craig Blomberg says that “Jesus teaches both faith and calculation.” We do our calculations as we prepare our budgets, then we wrap it all up in faith and get on with the Kingdom’s business. Even when we have counted the cost, we sometimes have enough unanticipated expenses to challenge our faith! So, we are not without the opportunity to exercise faith.
Every year, most churches and organizations prepare a budget. The budget is a guide to their activities based on counting the cost and counting the potential income. This is their “counting the cost” time. They take a look at their projects, estimate what they will cost, and see whether or not their income will allow them to proceed.
More Thoughts about doing the Kingdom’s business
In my last “thoughts” we noted that when we do the Kingdom’s business, we must count the cost. Our next principle is that without faith, we cannot please God.
Just as we cannot take counting the cost lightly, we cannot take faith lightly. Faith is an essential element in the work of the Kingdom and our personal lives. The writer of Hebrews has made this abundantly clear. In The Message we read (Hebrews 11:1-6):
“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. . .. It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.”
Verse 6 teaches us two great truths. One, faith is an essential element in the business of the Kingdom. We have many opportunities in life to exercise faith. Two, God is a reward for those who diligently seek Him. God does reward those who seek Him. The fact that some people distort this truth and make unwarranted promises does not diminish the truth.
When we speak about faith, we must recognize that faith often, if not always, involves some risk. Indeed, we can say that risk is the other side of the faith coin. One might argue that there is no risk when you have faith in God and His will. But there is always the possibility that we have not assessed the will of God correctly. And God may allow unanticipated difficulties.
When we do the Kingdom’s business, we must diligently seek the will of God and act in faith. Although the risk is involved, we know that without faith it is impossible to please God. With faith, we please Him.
More Thoughts about Doing the Kingdom’s Business
An important principle in doing the Kingdom’s business is counting the cost. Another principle is to have faith. Today, we will add the principle of relying on the leadership of the Spirit. Our thoughts are based on Acts 10:19-24.
There are always challenges in the Kingdom’s business. There are decisions to be made. If some things were not difficult, there would be no need for leadership. It is not always easy. This is why the leadership of the Spirit is so important.
Peter faced a decision. The god-fearing Cornelius, a centurion, sent men to invite Peter to come to his home. Meanwhile, Peter had a vision of unclean creatures being let down from heaven in an object like a great sheet. I am sure you remember the story, so I will not recount it now. God was calling Peter to be the one to break the Gentile barrier. While Peter was thinking about the vision, the Spirit spoke to him. We read about it in Acts 10:19-24. Here is what the passage says in The Message:
In verse 20 the Spirit says (NAU): “But get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself.” The truth stands out in bold letters: “Go . . . without misgivings.” This is what we all want to hear. We want to know that the Spirit is very definitely leading us. We want to put our misgivings aside and get going.
One of the characteristics of the apostles was that they followed the leadership of the Spirit without letting potential difficult circumstances stop them. They counted the cost, but the leadership of the Spirit was preeminent. In Peter’s case, he knew that eating some foods was prohibited by Jewish law, but when God cleansed the food, he could eat it. He knew that taking the gospel to the Gentiles would pose problems, but the Spirit was leading him. So, he obeyed the Spirit.
We are under orders to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. We have gifts and talents commensurate with the task that God has given us. Now, we must make decisions that will fulfill the responsibility God has given to us. Let us commit ourselves anew to the leadership of the Spirit. We must set our desires, our thoughts, and our will aside. We must let the will of God be made known through the Spirit to us.
More Thoughts about Doing the Kingdom’s Business
We have discussed these principles: (1) we must count the cost, (2) to please God we must have faith, and (3) we must rely on the Spirit. Today, we add that (4) we must invest God’s money for Kingdom benefit.
In Matthew 25:14-30 Jesus tells a great story about investment in the Kingdom of God. This story is known as the parable of the talents. A talent can be a measure of weight or money. In this story, Jesus refers to money, but we can apply the truth to gifts and abilities as well. As written in The Message, this is the story
“It’s [the kingdom of God] also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.’
“After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: “Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner. “
“The servant with two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: “Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner. “
“The servant was given one thousand said, “Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here is, safe and sound down to the last cent. “
“The master was furious. “That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest. “
“Take the thousand and give to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this ‘play-it-safe’ who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness. “
What Jesus says about money is true, also, of our gifts and abilities. We need to put them to use for God. Verses 29-30 nail down the seriousness of this thing. Jesus says (NAU): “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
We should take this parable seriously and use our spiritual gifts to build up the Kingdom of God. Moreover, we should generously invest financially in the work of God. As a reward, we will see a great harvest.
George M. Flattery, Ph.D., is the founder of Global University and Network211.