Begin with the end in mind
Stephen Covey is famous for his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. His second habit is a key one at this part of our study of the cure for poverty, begin with the end in mind. If we want to cure poverty according to the Bible we need to remember what the beginning looked like, and then apply all of our energy toward recovering and pursuing God’s design for the world.
God created the universe and all that is in it in a state of shalom and beauty. Living in this state, the first Man and Woman enjoyed perfect flourishing and the fullness of their four foundational relationships - with God, self, other, and creation. Sadly, as we know so well, sin entered into the world when the Man and Woman rebelled against God’s loving rule and brokenness began its reign on earth.
But the Bible reminds us in Romans 5:8 that while we were still enemies of God and living in brokenness, Christ came and died for us. Believing in that truth - the gospel - we are set free from our brokenness and given the power of the Spirit to recover and pursue God’s design for ourselves, our communities, and the world.
But how do we do that? The Bible gives us many ways but let’s examine three today.
Restore Self - Romans 12:2
Romans 12:2 (ESV) — Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Restoring our relationship with self begins with being transformed through the “renewal of our mind.” Renewing our minds is the process of filling our minds with the truths of God’s Word. As we expel the things of this world from our minds and are filled with God’s thoughts, we are able to truly understand who we are called to be and living out God’s will to restore all things broken by sin into things of beauty.
Restore Others - Matthew 28:18–20
Matthew 28:18–20 (ESV) — 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Gaining an understanding of self allows us to begin to see God’s desire to save all mankind through the gospel. Indeed, the Lord Jesus calls us to pursue all people and call them to repent and believe in Him, and then teach them how to live under the rule and reign of God on earth.
Restore Creation - Colossians 3:23–24
Colossians 3:23–24 (ESV) — 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
While many people who are not believers in Jesus are able to work hard, the restoration of believers to creation shifts the perspective. While before, we worked hard for self, as new creations in Christ we now work hard to and for the Lord. We do this not to gain all for self, but in order to provide for our families and care for others for the renown of our King.
This is the mission of the church, to join God on His mission to restore all that sin has broken into that which is beautiful.
Will you join?