Okay, here’s something I’ve been thinking about. I first need to lay down a couple of working assumptions. I believe that when God renews the earth, human advancement will not be destroyed, but renewed along with the rest of creation. In other words, culture, business, economics, politics, government, technology, and the sciences are all natural developments of what humans are to accomplish as image-bearers. However, because of our brokenness and sin, these developments have themselves been broken and distorted and have been used primarily for selfish gains at the expense of others. But I truly believe that at the consummation of God’s kingdom on earth, these things, like the rest of God’s creation, will not be destroyed but renewed and filled with God’s glory and presence to create an entirely new order of life. As a corollary, I also believe that all of life and creation is sacred. There is no secular/sacred split as presumed by the Enlightenment.
I also believe that the task of God’s people in this moment of his Story is to embody the future New Creation in the here and now. This begins primarily with spiritual formation since the small piece that we have to work with is primarily our own lives. This then works outward into our relationships and the world around us. The point is, it’s our vocation as God’s people to be foretastes of his future New Creation in the present — to live right now in our broken world as if the New Creation has already come and by doing so, ushering in a bit of the New Creation from the future into the present. And since all of life and creation is sacred, we embody the New Creation in EVERYTHING that we do.
I also believe that the good news of God’s New Creation is embodied through a genuine community committed to pursue a common rule of life as Jesus’ apprentices. This is a community not just committed to spiritual disciplines and worship, but a community committed to being Jesus’ presence in the world as a natural expression of the community’s life.
So, one thing that a few of us in our faith-community did a few years ago was start a business. This new business partnership had a couple of goals. One was to make money since Mark and I had both left our careers as professional pastors. But the other was to be a missional presence in the business world through our talents and practices as an expression of our faith-community’s life. So we started a wedding video business. We are now in our third year with each year bringing in a bit more business.
So here’s what I’m thinking about (it’s almost anti-climactic after such a long introduction): What does a small business look like in the New Creation? How should we run our business in anticipation of a new economics in which reconciliation, beauty and goodness are the primary goals and the bottom-line is not sheer profit? How should we run our business in a heavenly kingdom that values the poor, the marginalized, and the hurting? How should we run our business in a manner that provides our clients a foretaste of the New Creation with our talents, artistry, and business practices more than canned evangelistic methods? Specifically as wedding videographers, how can we go beyond documenting the beauty of the wedding day and invest into our clients’ eternal marriages? Can our product contribute to the reconciliation, beauty and goodness of the New Creation now by taking our world’s brokenness, selfishness, and disharmony out of commission in small, but real ways?
Now I realize that some theology will make all of this thinking a moot point. If you believe that this world’s burning up in the end, replaced by a completely new world, then a lot of this questioning is for nothing. Also, if you believe that marriages and weddings will end completely at the “renewal of all things,” then, again, all of this questioning is for nothing and we’ve started a business that is transient and void of any significant value.
But I believe that what we have started has eternal value now in many ways. My vision of God’s glorious future is much grander than the discontinuation of projects begun in the present. Instead, I envision God’s renewing and transforming presence altering these projects as much as it will alter our bodies and our earth into something so wonderful and so good that it fills the imagination with blinding glory. My desire is to follow in Jesus’ way and, like him, bring some of that future into our present.