I have been reading Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good by Amy Sherman. At about 1/3 of the way through, I’m really appreciating it. I smiled when I came across this quote by Ryan Bell on the development of thought and practice in his congregation (written before a certain parting of ways):
We have…learned of our need to be continually converted to the gospel. Little by little, the gospel that Jesus gave the disciples to share, recorded in Matthew 10, has been replaced by a disembodied, abstract gospel about going to heaven after you die. But notice in Matthew 10 that Jesus doesn’t commission the disciples with anything like a gospel of “going to heaven.” He says, “proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near'” (Matt. 10:7). If anything, this is a gospel about heaven coming to earth, not us going to heaven. It’s obvious, too, that this gospel is more about demonstration than presentation. Jesus does them them to “proclaim” the good news. But how? “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons” (Matt. 10:8). We have discovered that to be God’s witness we need to be re-converted to the gospel of the “at-hand” kingdom of God. (p. 84) [Ryan Bell, “Witnessing to God’s Reign,” Spectrum, August 4, 2008.]
Bell’s analysis of Matthew 10 reminds me of this quote from Ellen White:
“It is only by an unselfish interest in those in need of help that we can give a practical demonstration of the truths of the gospel…. Much more than mere sermonizing is included in preaching the gospel…. The union of Christlike work for the body and Christlike work for the soul is the true interpretation of the gospel” (Review and Herald, Mar. 4, 1902; Welfare Ministry, pp. 32-33).