FOR THE KINGDOM Part 1: What Would You Do If You Ruled The World?

Have you ever mused, in a moment of megalomania, about what would you do if you ruled the world?  Capitalism says the answer to the world’s problems is the protection of property and the freedom to buy and sell under the rule of law.  Communism says the answer to the world’s problems is a new society where goods and services are produced by each person according to their ability and supplied to each person according to their need.  Socialism would say you can achieve such utopia through a revolutionary socialist government with absolute power to create the right conditions for a future communist society.  By contrast, democracy would say the answers to the world problems lies in freedom of speech, the rights of the individual, universal suffrage, and the accountability of government to the will of the people.  And for centuries, in the midst of suffering, bloodshed and poverty, people have debated, advocated, plotted and fought to seek a better world in the name of some philosophy of economy and government.

Globe-in-HandSo what is your philosophy of government?  What would you do if you ruled the world?  Most philosophies of political and social economy focus on what we need to do to change the external structures of the world—that is the world’s economic, social and political systems.  The argument is that if we change the government, change the economy and change society, people will change.  An alternative view is that changing the world has to start with a change of heart.  For example, poverty is not ultimately caused by population growth or some technological or ecological constraint on food availability.  Famine and poverty can mostly be traced to corruption, war, internal conflict, and ultimately human greed.  The earth has the capacity to feed a significantly increased population.  The issue is the violence, the greed and the oppression that undermines society’s capacity for good.

A change of heart seems a simplistic answer to global problems.  It doesn’t seem to satisfy our desire for political solutions and governmental change.  Even as Christians who believe we have found the answers to our personal search for God, global issues can seem difficult to understand and even more difficult to address. I have seen many short team members leave the comfort of their homes on a missions trip and confront the reality of the wounds that are in this world.  Without necessarily blaming God, a number have started asking, “Why is this happening?”  Some have captured a vision for making a difference in the world themselves.  They start to ask, “What can I do?”   Others have for a period questioned the power and ability of the church to make a difference.  There have also been times when people have gone through periods of getting angry at God and saying, “What are you doing about this”?  And it’s OK to ask that question now and then.  I believe the Bible does suggest an answer to those important questions.  That answer begins with a change of heart and ends with us partnering with God in his mission of changing the world.  It is an inside out answer. In the next few blogs we will explore these thoughts in more depth.

– Andrew