On Building the Bridges of the Kingdom

I am by nature an introvert. Give me a book and a quiet corner and I’m good for 3-4 hours.

However, over the years I’ve learned the importance of relationships, not because I wanted to surround myself with people but because I wanted to advance the kingdom of God. I came to realize relationships are the bridges of the Kingdom.

Just about every good thing that has happened to me spiritually happened through a relationship. I became a Christian because I knew a football coach in middle school who shared the gospel with me at a Fellowship of Christians Athletes meeting after school. I started to grow as a Christian when an upperclassman I met in college discipled me. I was baptized in the Holy Spirit in law school because a guy at a Bible study was bold enough to ask me, and a girl I knew was bold enough to pray for me to receive it.

The relationships Christians build with non-Christians become the means by which non-Christians are invited to church, hear the Gospel, and ultimately cross over the border from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God. It makes sense then that Jesus told Christians to make friends with people who don’t know Him:

“And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.”

Luke 16:9

The business world calls this “networking.” Networking exposes one to opportunities one might not otherwise know about. The networking the business world does though is intrinsically selfish – it seeks out others in the hope others will be a source of business for the networker.

This makes networking fundamentally inauthentic. I am friendly with you because I want something from you, and that something hopefully translates through business opportunities into money. It is the hard sell in soft sell clothing.

Bridge building in the Kingdom is just the opposite. I seek out relationships with people who do not know Jesus, not because I want something from them but because I want to give something to them, namely access to the King of the Kingdom. It is authentic in a way networking can never be authentic because I am motivated by the other person’s need, not my own.

And here is the twist Jesus mentions in parable quoted above: in the kingdom of God, money is a means, not the end, in building relationships. In fact, Jesus refers to money as “the wealth of unrighteousness” or “unrighteous mammon.” The pursuit of money corrupts so many endeavors it is in that sense unrighteous. But as Jesus makes clear, Christians are to use money to make friends not use friends to make money.

Put another way, Christians are to be be about building bridges to the Kingdom, and should be willing to use their money to do it. GS

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