The title of the Missional Marketplace Podcast: Episode III was meant to remind and encourage us that: “Your Work is Part of God’s Story.” In this episode, brothers, Erik and Darren Cooper continue walking us through the outline of Erik’s book: The Missional Marketplace.
The overarching goal of this episode was to give us, people of God, and especially those in the marketplace, a new perspective that allows us to see our story as embedded in God’s greater story. This perspective comes on the heels of understanding that God’s Great Story is one that has been ongoing since the beginning of time; we simply play a small role in it. The story is bigger than us!
God began with Creation, act one. We led act two, the Fall. Since then, God brought act three, Redemption, and is bringing forth the final act, Restoration, in due time when Christ returns. We find ourselves now between the Redemption (work of Christ) and the Restoration (return of Christ); we are in the “already-not yet” as theologians call it. This “already-not yet” is where we find ourselves living & working today, and it is where our work fits directly into God’s greater story – one that is leading into Restoration.
One main point that both Erik & Darren brought up is the humbling concept that we are not only inviting God to be a part of our stories, He is actually inviting us to be a part of His. This reminds us that He was here long before us, He will be here long after us, and His story will continue its trajectory while ours eventually fizzles out. Again, this is a humbling concept! But it is freeing as well; knowing that we are not the main character takes the pressure off us to make everything happen. We are here to support God! He is not our supporting act; we are His. Therefore, our story is embedded into one part of His Great Story, the Story He has been writing since the beginning of time.
While we may crave legacy, as our hosts brought up, it is humbling to remember that we actually find the most fulfillment & purpose in continuing God’s legacy, not our own. As Erik said, “we are big when we are small”.
Erik also gave us a quote from Nicolaus Zinzendorf, which stated, “Preach Christ, die, and be forgotten.” While this may not be the locker-room speech many of us are looking for, it is a humbling reminder once more that we are part of something much bigger. We were meant to pour all that we are into God’s story, not our own!
In the Garden of Eden, Adam & Eve walked with God in the cool of the day. The God of the universe was physically present with His people and the entirety of creation was His temple. This was the origin story of… well, everything! However, things have changed since the Fall, but God, through Christ, redeemed us of this fall and is now bringing His restoration to pass through the people He has filled with His Spirit. We, as image bearers & reflectors of His glory, are now taking part in the greatest story of all time: God’s story. And we are supporting roles.
How can we use our work to serve Kingdom purposes? How can we look to advance God’s story, and play our part in it, at our everyday work? As we continue through this first season of the podcast, we are sure to find out.
Each episode of the podcast ends with the “Missional Moment” series. This week, we heard from John of Project Rescue. Project Rescue is an organization that began in Southern Asia, seeking to provide a home for women & children in the red-light district. What began as a $1,000 investment into sheltering these broken women & children has evolved into a ministry movement that is now working in multiple locations and providing work for people formerly engaged or imprisoned in sex-trafficking.
John said, “compassion for compassion’s sake is not enough… the Jesus element is the X-factor in this.”
Project Rescue has invested in land, livestock, and crops for their rescued men, women, and children. They took a stake into the marketplace and have begun creating jobs for these rescue people, giving them back not only a sense of their innate dignity, but also a steady income and an option to work somewhere besides the red-light districts they have come from. These jobs provide new opportunities for men, women, and children in the areas where Project Rescue operates, and one new ministry predicts that in 18 months they will be 50% sustainable, meaning that they will be able to provide $7,000 of their own income to support the ministry they are involved in. This is fantastic!
Not only has the marketplace become the vehicle for people to find their dignity, sustainability, and income through Project Rescue, but the entire organization is also funded through different ministry & marketplace partners. Recently, one business owner pledged 90% of their assets to the organization. That is incredible! These kinds of commitments support this ministry and allow the Gospel to go forward – even through the marketplace. John ended this story by exclaiming, “… and this is only one person!”
John truly believes that through people like this donor, and the ministry that Project Rescue does, “there is no shortage to what we can do for the kingdom.”
What John has done is not only invite God into his own story but has placed his story into God’s greater story. The fruit speaks for itself.