The Impracticality of God’s Glory

Rodger Woodworth

I continue to hear how impractical it is to have a multi-cultural church, faith-based non-profit or fellowship.  Those outsiders don’t want to be a part of us, or there are no non-whites around me, besides it is too much work and there are more important priorities right now.  I have heard it all before.  Pragmatism often becomes our mode of operation.

Jeremiah was not a very practical prophet.  While locked up in the King’s courtyard falsely accused of treason, he buys a field 3½ miles north of the city in his hometown of Anathoth, right in the middle of the Babylonian’s camp.  Only days away from the city being plundered and the last group of people being carried off in exile, he purchases a field he would probably never see.  Why?  For the most practical reasons – Jeremiah was convinced he was investing in the future project of God.  He was giving a visible foothold for God’s people to believe and act on God’s promises.  God says, “Fields will again be bought and sold in this land…ravaged by the Babylonians,”(Jeremiah 32:43).  Jeremiah was turning his beliefs into actions, a deliberate act of faith. 

In his Revelation of Jesus the Apostle John wrote, “Your blood has ransomed a people from every tribe and language and people and nation.  And you have caused them to become God’s Kingdom and his priests.  And they will reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10). This is a future project of God worth investing in, working to make the word of God visible through cross-cultural ministry and multi-ethnic fellowships.  It is acting on the conviction that God will complete his promised work even when it seems impractical.  Too often when Christian scripture and common sense don’t line up we prefer common sense.   The problem with that is everybody has their own opinion about what is common sense.  Virginia Owens in her book Eating Words writes, “I’m afraid that for us the notion of…doing anything to the glory of God, has been swallowed up by the pragmatic concept …”.

The most practical thing we can do in the Christian life is to act on the promises of God even when all evidence reveals its impracticality.  God has promised to build His multi-ethnic Kingdom and that defies the pragmatism of this world but participating in it defines the glory of God.

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