So Bono says to Matt Damon, “Drop everything, go to Zambia.”
Matt Damon’s passion for clean water in Africa began with Bono. Damon gets off the plane and immediately spends the next half a day walking with a little girl from a village to get water for her family: 2 hours, one way.
Damon is transformed, returns home, and immediately wants to know who to see about clean water wells. Matt was told “There is this Christian guy in Texas who has been digging wells for 25 years. You need to meet him, talk with him.” The rest, as they say, is history.
What is our responsibility? We are ambassadors of redemption-reconciliation (2 Co 5:17-21).
“Common grace”—God gives good gifts through creation to everyone
“Beneficence”—God sets the standard for and approval of goodness
Dr. Brantley stands as an example of working for good, grace, and care. Three Scriptural principles include:
- John 13:33-35—best apologetic is love
- 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12—best testimony is hard work
- 1 Peter 2:11-12, 3:13-17, 4:12-19—best conduct is goodness
“As an atheist, I try to make choices based on evidence and reason. So until we’re finally ready to invest heavily in secular medicine for Africa, I suggest we stand aside and let God do His work.”
Peace pulls the pieces together. Three times in Jeremiah 29:4-7 the word “Shalom” is used. The Hebrew word means many things depending on the context. Shalom at its root, however, means “wellness, wholeness, flourishing.” Our gift to the places where we live is to bring wellness to illness, wholeness to brokenness. Important principles to follow might include:
- Work with others, agree to disagree, toward the common good (Mark 9:38-41)
- Celebrate the good works of others, no matter how they got there (2 Chr 33:1-20)
- Belief is nothing without action, action is impotent without belief (Matt 25; James)
- We should not second guess another’s intentions, motivations (Rom 14:10-12)
The Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics “Freedom to Flourish” video explains in two minutes.
U2’s front man sends a plane for the star of The Bourne Identity.
Christians work in a broken world for the common good, for the common man, with God’s common grace.
Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” summarizes the truth:
There is a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in.
Questions to Ask
- How can I view my work as a reclamation of creation? a reconnection to God’s original intention?
- Why is the word “restoration” so important to a Christian understanding of work? How does a biblical view of sin establish a need for salvation in my whole life?
- How do I define “excellence?” Do I understand what excellence means in my vocation, what it takes to maintain a standard of work, praised by God and man?
- What creative, innovative thinking can I do that would use what is in me, around me, with me to refashion my world—the world in which I live—for God’s glory?
- How should we be who we are, where we are, with what we have?
Mark has been teaching the phrase “vocation IS ministry” since teaching teenagers in high school. All vocations are important for the believer because God has given understanding of His world through those vocations (Is 28:23-29). Dr. Mark Eckel now shares these insights with students at Capital Seminary & Graduate School. Entries here over the next weeks are based on an adult class Mark’s pastors asked him to teach at Crossroads Community Church, Fishers, IN.