PERSPECTIVES AND OPPORTUNITY
(c) Morris E. Ruddick
Back in the early eighties, I served on the Political and Public Affairs Committee of one the most powerful trade associations in the energy business. In addressing one of our agendas, the Chairman of the committee and CEO of the Rowan Companies, posed an illustration. He suggested that had the rogue, totalitarian governments of the world announced plans to begin hanging all the capitalists across the globe; that what we could expect — probably the next day — would be a Western rope salesman at their door.
There is nothing wrong with opportunity. Yet, we have entered a season in which those who define their identities and destinies as believers, both in ministry and in business, need to reevaluate the assumptions. The issue first relates to what in Jewish tradition might be termed the Issachar context — of understanding the times and knowing what to do. Understanding the times presumes a perspective based on a realistic worldview. Otherwise, the presumption of knowing what to do will be flawed and fall short.
The issue also has a specific bearing on our priorities and what we consider as opportunity — as we seek to live according to God’s priorities, in advancing what has long been referred to as the Kingdom of God.
Unfortunately, the priorities of believers in the West, typically, have little semblance to the priorities of believers in the two-thirds of the world with little or no middle class. While the Western Church has never been short on charity and philanthropy in its response to the realities faced by those in the rest of the world; yet strategically, the model for transformation, by and large, has been a short-sighted, Western model, based on a subtle element of Western dependency.
It has fallen short in establishing non-Western believers to be the head and not the tail in their own lands. So, the stark realities of oppression, persecution and poverty, that prevail across the majority of the world, remain.
Priority and Opportunity
The issue concerns priorities and opportunity. It has been written:
“While then we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, but especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”
Within the context of taking advantage of opportunity, our first priority then is to build up the household of faith. That principle has been modeled and stressed throughout both Jewish and Christian scripture.
In the mid-90s, I penned my first article about the modern-day destiny shaped like that of Joseph the Patriarch. This modern-day “Joseph-calling” will play a significant role in addressing a time of crisis coming upon the earth.
However, the model for far too many embracing today’s Joseph calling, with its anticipated role in administrating resources and power in a time of crisis, has yielded to pop-Christian culture, with a Western-dependent, Western-centric wineskin. The fact is that in two-thirds of the world, the majority of the people are already in crisis and the realistic opportunities are being blinded by incredibly short-sighted mind-sets.
To start recognizing the opportunities in order to make a difference where there is crisis, the current move of God underway in the marketplace is going to have to begin challenging the precepts of both our worldview and the standards by which we are ascribing our priorities. Modern-day Josephs must be at the epicenter in recognizing these opportunities as the Western Church awakens to the plight of the brethren already living under conditions of crisis, poverty and oppression.
In a post I wrote several years ago, I shared that the dynamic being referred to as the wealth transfer is not about money. It will have its focus on resources and power. While it may involve money, the wealth transfer will be part of the prelude to the clash of all ages. The clash of all ages will pivot on Israel and extend worldwide – and spark the release of the restoration of God’s order and prophetic destiny for His creation.
It is this restoration of God’s authority that will unleash unexpected societal change. It will give focus to the central message expounded by Jesus when He walked the face of the earth: the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God
The issue relates to change during a time of change. Central to the change that builds God’s Kingdom and not a false illusion of it, will be the new-wine skin orientation of how we respond to prioritizing opportunity.
During the same time frame that my friend from the Rowan Companies was commenting on misguided opportunism, Apple Computer’s founder Steve Jobs challenged Pepsi’s vice-president John Skully (the man who orchestrated the Pepsi Challenge ad campaign that snatched significant market share from Coke) with these words: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want to change the world?”
That question strips the superficialities from our notions of success and really hits the priority nail on the head. Every modern-day Joseph should be embracing opportunity within this context and operating as a change-artist, to actively change conditions in the world in the sphere of their calling.
Realities, Opportunity and Focus
Margaret Thatcher once commented that Ronald Reagan “ended the cold war and made the world safer for democracy and capitalism.” While I agree, my prayer is that the path he paved was for something more significant than opportunity for the capitalist rope peddlers.
My prayer also, is that those emerging as today’s Josephs are genuinely facing the realities that operate outside the sphere of the West. Such a focus will give priority to mobilizing and building up those who are of the household of faith in these lands.
Unfortunately, many sincere Western Christians, in their old wineskin zeal, unwittingly prop up and perpetuate the very systems and organizations that persecute and oppress those of the household of faith in lands outside the West. It may not be selling the rope to hang the capitalists, but if it fails to build up the believing community, then it is flawed and falls short.
Jesus spent a lot of time with His followers imparting the principles of faith. Faith is both a relational and an operational thing. Relationally with God, it first closes the gap between the seen world and the unseen spiritual world. That in turn is the gateway into the second relational dimension, as we employ our gifts and callings to serve in making a difference for those around us. With that foundation, operationally faith then restores God’s order and purposes where it is broken, where there is crisis.
The Kingdom of God involves the employment of power, God’s power. God’s power is a challenge to corrupt power. Kingdom principles often contradict accepted ways of the world. The fact is that spirit controls matter and is a foundational premise of God’s power.
The words of Jesus, expounding on the words of Moses and the prophets, call for a breaking of the mold. It is an issue of fixing what is broken. We need to recapture the wineskin-for-change to rebuild the broken walls and restore the losses that got diverted from the vibrant momentum evidenced in the first century Church.
The early Church was referred to as those who were turning the world upside down. Turning the world upside down today is not going to happen by blindly importing and leveraging Western expertise and funds into lands of crisis; or by schmoozing the local temporal and religious power brokers.
It is going to begin from within; by mobilizing and equipping local believers who have a grasp to build community and extend the mantle first given to Abraham to those around them: to be blessed to be a blessing. From that point creativity and discovery will result.
Joseph the Patriarch was totally integrated into Egyptian society, to the degree that his brothers didn’t recognize him until he chose to reveal himself to them. He was faithful in administrating the authority entrusted to him, at each operational level, during his tenure in Egypt. God is not looking for rope peddlers to serve as benevolent, power-brokers.
Like Joseph the Patriarch, the calling today is completely outside-the-box of what may have been previously acceptable operating parameters. This will bear significantly on how we approach opportunity, based on these higher-dimension priorities.
The Seduction of Power
Today’s apostles-of-change are at the helm in a huge power-shift. It is a power shift that challenges the combined status quo of the spiritual, community and economic dimensions that govern entire societies. It challenges the business and technological foundations.
Unfortunately, power seduces, blinds and corrupts. If it is not the seduction of responding to opportunity to selling rope to those who intend to hang the capitalists; then it is the outmoded wine-skin adages that keep the Josephs operating passively, limiting the potential of what could be the true impact.
In reality we have entered a time of discovery and a time of accelerated change. Today’s Josephs are called to be at the forefront of this discovery and change. Today’s Josephs are catalysts for change, rebuilding and releasing restoration with community and economic initiatives in arenas of crisis.
This is why the Joseph calling will not operate outside the cloak of humility. It is a calling that excludes the power-hungry and the social climbers. It excludes those who actively or passively abuse their authority; or give place to condescension and the subtleties of spiritual snobbery.
Humility was foundational for everything that Joseph was called to do. Humility, among those with this high calling, cannot be achieved outside of recognizing our utter inability to accomplish God’s purposes, aside from abiding completely in Him. Interlinked with humility is the need for a genuine listening heart, one that is poised and practiced in hearing from God and is intent on hearing the hearts of others.
The difference between operating in a mode of “what we can do for God,” versus what He is allowing to do through us, is not just subtle, but of such significance that it will impact the results for eternity.
True Opportunity’s Gateway: Redirected Priorities
Joseph stood alone in his calling. His promotion into the fullness of his destiny did not come as a result of his own efforts or ethical standards, however exceptional they may have been. It was certainly not the result of his boss, Potiphar’s unwavering support. Nor was it the result of the timeliness of the cupbearer remembering to intervene.
Joseph yielded to God’s purposes at every step. His promotion to become Pharaoh’s right-hand man came directly from the Lord. His promotion into the fullness of his destiny came at a critical juncture in time when there would be no question with the priorities penetrating the opportunity with pinpoint precision. God was the One who put things in order and established the timing with the dreams He gave Pharaoh.
Joseph’s agendas, when sitting alongside of Pharaoh, became the gateway through which God re-navigated and re-set the stage for his purposes for His people Israel for all eternity, while profoundly blessing the peoples around them in the process.
The reality is that both the crisis and the foundation for the long-awaited wealth transfer are upon us. The issue is one of dispersing and dispensing. There is a need to disperse the smokescreens that enshroud the priorities. With realistic priorities, the task is then to mobilize believers prepared in their own lands to become the head and not the tail to address the times of crisis and disruption. With that alignment will come the opportunities and discoveries tied to dispensing the wealth.
The challenge for those in church leadership is this: When the fire passes from the burning of the chaff, what is it that will remain from the efforts expended? Will you be known as using your gifts and resources to build up mobilizers who are aligned with the shift underway and who tangibly rebuild and bring restoration to those parts of the world where corruption, distress and affliction prevail?
Then the challenge for the modern-day Josephs is: What will your legacy be? When the Lord separates the sheep and the goats, will eternity see you as one who provided the rope for those perpetuating the crises and even undermining the higher dimensions of God’s purposes; or will you use your resources to mobilize and equip the brethren to help their own people to rebuild in lands of crisis and turmoil.
And for each of us, the question is what have we done about God’s unfolding destiny for Israel and the Jewish people? May the Lord individually give us the revelation and wisdom to ensure our focus and priorities are on the opportunities and goals that serve the purposes of the One who sees in secret; rather than on the recognition and praise that come from the short-sighted worldviews and perspectives that gain the approval of men. As it has been written:
“Then He will answer them and say, inasmuch as you did it to the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”
Morris Ruddick has been a forerunner and spokesman for the higher dimensions of business leadership since the mid-90s. As founder of Global Initiatives Foundation and designer of the God’s Economy Entrepreneurial Equippers Program, Mr. Ruddick imparts hope and equips economic community builders to be blessed to be a blessing where God’s light is dim in diverse regions around the globe.
He is author of “The Joseph-Daniel Calling;” “Gods Economy, Israel and the Nations;” “The Heart of a King;” “Something More;” “Righteous Power in a Corrupt World;” “Leadership by Anointing;” and “Mantle of Fire,” which address the mobilization of business and governmental leaders with destinies to impact their communities. They are available in print and e-versions from www.Amazon.com, www.apple.com/ibooks and www.BarnesandNoble.com.
Global Initiatives Foundation (www.strategic-initiatives.org) is a tax-exempt 501 (c) 3 non-profit whose efforts are enabled by the generosity of a remnant of faithful friends and contributors whose vision aligns with God’s heart to mobilize economic community builders imparting influence and the blessings of God. Checks on US banks should be made out to Global Initiatives and mailed to PO Box 370291, Denver CO 80237 or by credit card at http://strategic-initiatives.org/donate/
Likewise, email us to schedule a seminar for your group’s gathering on the Joseph-Daniel Calling or on anointing the creative in business.
Reproduction is prohibited unless permission is given by a SIGN advisor. Since early 1996, the Strategic Intercession Global Network (SIGN) has mobilized prophetic intercessors and leaders committed to targeting strategic-level issues impacting the Body on a global basis. For previous posts or more information on SIGN, check:http://www.strategicintercession.org