We Need To Talk About The World

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‘Think differently’, ‘Life made easier’, ‘Play more than music. Play a part’.

These are all successful slogans used by tech giant Apple. They connected the perceived needs of people; the desire for purpose, belonging, identity and community and united them around a product. They created ‘whole new devices and services that customers did not yet know they needed.’ These needs are around us all the time. What answers do we as Christians bring, living ‘in' the world, but not ‘of the world’ at work?

God loves the world.

John 3:16 says ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ Yet we are also warned “Do not love the world or anything in the world.’ 1 John 2:15. 

Jesus has called us to go into all the world; to be fully engaged in work, and everywhere else.

This seeming contradiction needs to be resolved. We are not to ‘love the world’ meaning where the world seeks to run itself without reference to God, we are to love wholeheartedly the world that God has created and for whom Christ died.

Jesus has called us to go into all the world; to be fully engaged in work, and everywhere else. He has left the Holy Spirit to work in and through us there. Many of us live either dangerously oblivious to the needs of the world around us or all too painfully aware of them, and feel powerless to make a difference. How then, do we make the most of living in the world? How can we take a step towards the world we long to see?

 

Understand the World

We, like Jesus, need to understand the world around us. He worked as a carpenter, engaged in his local community and used striking examples from the the world in his teaching. 

In Luke 16:1–8, Jesus says that the ‘people of this world’ are often shrewder in dealing with the issues facing them that the people of light (Christians).

How do we understand the world?

  • Let’s learn from the media, song writers, advertisers and opinion-formers about the needs of the world. Use social media to gain understanding; read a variety of opinions from all over the world. 
  • Meet and talk with people who have different views and backgrounds to you, those who do not share Christian assumptions of life.

 

Critique the World

It is not sufficient merely to understand the world and to show empathy to the world around us. Nor should we be gullible or blend in!

Karl Barth, a Christian theologian, spoke of having a newspaper in one hand and a bible in the other in order to critique the world by biblical and worldly standards. We need a rational and critical review of the world in which we live, holding to account the prevailing values and testing whether these values are serving the interests of society or destroying them.

It depends on having the strength to assert what is right and reject what is wrong. It depends on saying that there are such things.

Take the 2008 financial crisis. One of the outcomes was that it swept away a dangerous idea that business can be conducted without being grounded in considerations other than the purely financial. It reinforced a conviction that had been forming for some time: economic and social progress depends on reintegrating the three-legged stool of the moral, spiritual and financial dimensions of our lives.

It depends on having the strength to assert what is right and reject what is wrong. It depends on saying that there are such things.

We need to celebrate the good and critique that which is out of line with the values of the Kingdom of God. We must say ’no’ to the things that will drive us to a world without reference to Christ. We need a biblical world view, remember we are working in the world, but not of the world.

 

Draw the World to Christ

Are we, then, called simply to be nice people? No. We want people to know the good news of Jesus Christ and see the world transformed!

Sometimes the harsh working environment seems the last place I would expect to meet God, yet Jesus experienced the worst of the world on the cross. My office may seem very far from the goodness of God, but he has gone further. However Godless a workplace may appear, it is not beyond his reach.

However Godless a workplace may appear, it is not beyond his reach.

We are not employed to be evangelists in the workplace, we are employed to do a job and yet we are to witness to the power of God’s activity in reconciling the world to himself. Real change comes from being able to introduce Christ’s teaching and power into a dialogue with the world, not in adversarial ways but as part of a conversation that starts with understanding. As Peter teaches us in 1 Peter we must be ready to give reasons for the faith that is within us but to do so with gentleness and respect. Being ready to give an answer for the way we live our lives, differently from the world around us. The life that we lead is the answer to the questions that people ask.

By understanding where people are we can begin to help to shift the basis of their worldview away from the fruitless search for meaning ‘chasing after the wind’ (Ecclesiastes 1:14), or the deficient solutions offered by the world, to Jesus himself.

 

Find out more right now by watching the full Conversation – Transforming Work Culture

Take this to the next level; there are many practical ways we can do this. I will explore some of these radical ways in our next article.