by Joseph Vijayam
BAM Conference 2018 Speaker, September 21-23 – Visit bamconference.com
We who form the Church of Jesus Christ are called to usher in the kingdom of God in all its fullness. Bringing in the kingdom requires the Body of Christ to do many things. One of these is to create wealth.
In Ephesians 5:25-27, Paul uses the imagery of marriage when he refers to Jesus Christ as the Bridegroom betrothed to His bride, the Body of Christ. We are the friends of Christ the Bridegroom, and in that special role we have been entrusted with the task of hastening the day of His wedding. It requires us to work towards preparing the bride so that she is ready and spotless. This happens when the hearts of people across all nations, tribes and tongues are yielded to His Lordship. To this end, we must preach the gospel, make disciples, free the oppressed, feed the hungry, serve those in need and bring in righteousness and justice to all people.
God will do the above through those that fear Him. Wealth is one of the important resources that He grants to His people to accomplish His purpose for all mankind. Wealth is needed to fight poverty which is the primary characteristic of Satan’s kingdom – an antithesis of God’s design and desire for us to enjoy abundant life.
Poverty is often not the result of the sin committed by the person who lives in poverty, but it is a sign that Satan is active in stealing, killing and destroying in order to perpetuate poverty around the world. The good news is designed to provide relief to the poor (Isa 61:1-4). This includes those who are economically poor, the hungry, thirsty, naked and homeless as well as those who are broken hearted, restless and in bondage to sin (Mt 25:35-36). While the anointing breaks spiritual yoke (Isa 10:27), money is needed to break material yoke.
Financial resources are required in order to send workers into the harvest field as well as for the purpose of meeting the physical needs of the impoverished. Paul in his letter to the Romans challenges the church to send workers by supporting them financially (Rom 10:15). Another key reason for creating wealth is for the purpose of providing food and shelter for those in need (Mt 25:40).
The Church has historically been involved in distribution of wealth without emphasizing its role in creation of wealth. Modern day governments recognize and applaud the role of the Church in wealth distribution. Many parachurch organizations offer relief, rehabilitation, healthcare, community development and other humanitarian services in some of the neediest areas of the world. The Church has embraced this role and its work in this area must continue. But, how do we distribute if we do not encourage the creation of wealth by the Church in the first place? Imagine the increase in impact if the Church fully embraced its mission to create wealth in addition to the distribution of wealth. We will find many more members of the Church responding to their calling without reservation to become wealth creators.
When I think of a rich man in the Bible, the first one who comes to mind is Joseph of Arimathea. It strikes me that God used a rich man to prepare the perfect burial place which only three days later became the site of resurrection and the first sighting of the risen Lord. Joseph’s role was prophesied in Isaiah 53:9 and his name is mentioned in all four Gospels indicating the significance of his contribution to the Gospel story. He donated his own tomb for the burial of Jesus and was responsible for taking the possession of Jesus’s body from Pilate’s custody and later preparing it for burial. This was a role that required the person to be wealthy and influential. The ragged fishermen would not have been able to even secure an audience with Pilate, let alone secure the body. If the body had not been secured early, wrapped in spices and placed in a tomb, it would have decayed. God had promised His Son that He would not let His body see corruption. He fulfilled His promise through a wealthy businessman.
All of us are required to preach the gospel, but some are called to this as ‘specialists’. We call them evangelists. Their role is understood and honored because they are seen as God’s provision to the Church for bringing in the Kingdom. In the same way the Church is called to creation of wealth, but some are called to this as specialists. Joseph of Arimathea was one of them. We call them marketplace workers, businesspersons or professionals. It is important that their role too is understood and honored in the context of the local church and the global Church.
It is important that we see that the calling of wealth creators is also of God – that they are God’s provision to the church for bringing in the kingdom, so that the day of the wedding of the Lamb is hastened. It is only when we embrace the calling of those within the Church who are wealth creators that we will begin to appreciate the calling of the Church to create wealth, ultimately leading to the establishment of His kingdom.
First posted in the Summer Series 2016 on The BAM Review Blog under the title: Calling All Wealth Creators! The Church and the Creation of Wealth.
Joseph Vijayam is Managing Director of Olive Technology, a business as mission company based in India and USA that provides IT services. Joseph, manages the company’s overall business planning and corporate strategy. Prior to founding Olive he served as the Chief Executive of Matrix Computer Consultancy in India. He has employed his extensive track record in empowering various for profit and not-for-profit organizations in India and the USA. Joseph is a member of BAM Global Advisory Board and Senior Associate of Technology for the Lausanne Movement.