This Advent Season I’ve been studying the messages of the angel visitants to Zechariah, Mary, Joseph and Shepherds. It’s a fascinating study if you place the humans and surrounding circumstances a bit more in the background and focus on the messages alone. Of course, there is some nuance in each message because of who it is being proclaimed to, but the message is essentially this: God is rescuing his people, as had long been promised.
- In the message to Zechariah, we learn this rescue will lead to repentance, reconciliation, and renewal of a covenanted relationship with God.
- Mary learns the name of their child will be Jesus (Savior), that his real sonship will be of his Father in heaven as well as of his ancestor King David, and that he will establish an eternal reign.
- Joseph is also told to name the child Jesus, and another name is added: Immanuel (God with us). This child will save people, his people, from their sins.
- The Shepherds are told the Messiah is born and where to find him. Even more, they are told this the glorious action of God and that it brings peace to anyone who receives the Lord’s favor.
These messages are very different than the commodified and individualized versions of the gospel that say “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for YOUR life.” Instead, it is the message that finds its glorious fulfillment in Revelation 5, where all creatures in the universe proclaim the inexhaustible worth of Immanuel, because he prepared a people for God who will be God’s priests and who will reign with God. They are a people whose chief identity is in the reign of God rather than in their tribe, people, language or nation. We might add that their identity is also not nested in a brand, product, service, division or professional credential.
Greg Leith, the Convene CEO, sometimes invites executive leaders to think five million years into the future. If they were planning that far in advance, how would it affect their planning for their enterprises and the lives of their families? We shouldn’t think it a strange question. Disney seems to have been doing so all along as they are reputed to lock up intellectual property rights for all planets and multi-dimensional universes when a story is sold to them.
- What if the end game is not just business succession, but that heavenly throne room of praise?
- What if your professional vocation is not about you but about the people God is preparing?
- What if the justification of your profit margin is the glory given to God in heaven and the peace that it brings to earth?
- What if you are not the owner of you company, but just a steward for the real Owner?
- What if the starting place for all our plans is repentance, reconciliation and a renewed covenant of faith with the God who made us, sustains us and is preparing a place for us?
Food for thought, prayerful consideration, and faithful response.