Genesis 39:1-6 (ESV) Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. 2 The LORD was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 His master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. 4 So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. 5 From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had, in house and field. 6 So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate.
Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV) You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Bear with me for a moment. Please don’t cast me into the fire just yet. Hang with me.
Perhaps our first task is not to find a way to share the good news of the kingdom with folks as the first order of business.
What if our task is to set out to be the absolute best I can be at executing my vocational task?
Jesus, eternal God, Creator, came and lived and testified to who God is, what his mission is, and displayed his glory for the world to see. He lived the perfect sinless life. He was crucified as the eternal plan of the Triune God at the hands of Rome. He was buried in a borrowed tomb. In his death he entered the most holy place in the presence of God the Father. He entered by means of his own blood, and he provided atonement for anyone who will turn to him in faith so that they can be adopted in the family of God as daughters and sons with a security that is written in stone. On the third day he was raised to real physical life.
Note: Jesus was raised. Raised to what? He was raised in a real body that is the very firstfruits of the new heaven and earth. Jesus was raised to a real physical existence. The implications of this are off the charts!
If Jesus would have been raised to a ghostly / spiritual existence, we could have an argument that physical life and systems and the creation as it stands don’t matter. But that is not what happened.
God made creation good. Sin injected a viral curse. God promised to crush the serpent and the curse. The prophets talk about the Day of the Lord in which new creation begins to happen as the fulfillment of the work of God’s good news. Paul calls those in Christ “new creatures”.
Peter (1 Peter 2:10) talks about the elements being burned up. The rest of the canon talks about the restoration of creation. Revelation 20-21 is a glorious exposition of Isaiah’s preaching.
I believe Peter is describing the refining of things, particularly the rooting out of final sin, with figurative language. Fire is a refinement in Scripture. Peter is using that language like that here. He is aware of the rest of the canon, and his point is that creation is going to be finally refined, not destroyed.
Here is my point: creation and created order matter because Jesus intends that all of it be brought under his glorious reign (see Colossians 1:15-20).
This means there is a relationship between the fall and redemption. There was a fall. The redemption is real because Jesus was raised!!!! He was raised to a real physical existence. This shows us he has purpose in creation.
We must sound out our roles in the relationship between the fall and redemption. How is God redeeming all of creation from the fall with Jesus’ work through disciples he has sent bearing his good news?
Do not misunderstand me. He wants to save sinners. No doubt. But where do we start? How do we unleash all of the church into the world as proclamers of his salvation?
We do this by sounding out our relationship between the fall and redemption and acknowleding that good works done in the world, order brought to chaos, healing brought to sickness, restoration brought from destruction and the life lived by followers of Jesus in the public square signal something amazing.
Those good works put on display a light, when done by Jesus’ people, that causes glory to be given to God, and it provides our platform to now tell the world who supernaturally works through our vocational labor for supernatural ends and for the rescue of anyone who will come to Jesus in faith.
Joseph just worked his job, and somehow God made sure Potiphar knew it was Yhwh who prospered Joseph’s effofrts. It never tells us Potiphar believes in Yhwh. We do know for sure that on the last day, Potiphar can never say he didn’t know. He knew, and he knew because Joseph brought the knowledge of Yhwh near as he did his slave job. Joseph brought order, and good and right, and it put Yhwh on display as the God of order and good and right.
Jesus said to let that light shine so the world will know and give God glory.
Hey, that may result in salvation for many or none, but that proclamation of the good news will stand on the evidence of lives and vocations executed to bring right to wrong, healing to sickness, order to chaos and restoration from destruction, and those who come in contact with us and hear us and experience God’s goodness through us may believe, but on the last day, they can’t say they didn’t know or see.
- Thinking this way and in this order redeems your vocational desires. Vocation means “calling”. Jesus made you with a calling in mind. That should be your job, and it is the means by which you can worship daily. Don’t demean yor vocation. Do it to the glory of God.
- This way of thinking mobiliizes the whole church not just a few “called” ones. We are all called. When we all take seriously our calling as missionaries to the vocational domains of society, there is no place we can’t carry the good news of the kingdom.
- Our sending is exponentially increased with this strategic shift.
- Finances and access are different. Churches don’t have to spend to send, companies do that, and churches partner to care for their members. Access is rarely denied to vocational domains where value is added through one’s job.
- This way of thinking does something with the priesthood of the Christian beyond just saying we are priests of God. It relocates God’s ambassadors to every corner of created order to bear witness to Jesus as we heal.
By all means preach the good news. Start with being excellent in the physical world because Jesus was raised to physical life to redeem physical life as well as humans who follow Jesus. And these humans will live in a redeemed and restored physical existence forever to God’s glory.