The world I was raised in as a missionary kid seemed rather divided to me. I grew up viewing the world in black and white, non-Christian or Christian. Of course, making this distinction is important for a coherent worldview – but in my young mind, I generalized the concept of Christian vs. non-Christian to things, not just people. So when I was faced with the question of what to do with my life, I pitted the seemingly Christian option of missions against the seemingly non-Christian option of pursuing a career. As I pondered over my own future and tried hard to know which way to go, I felt the Lord impress certain words on my heart: think out of the box. I attempted to do so but found it rather impossible to conceive of something I had never seen. Nevertheless, these words started a process of reflection in me, which eventually led my husband and I to work in our actual field: prayer and Christian influence in society.
Last week we had the opportunity to travel to Tallinn, Estonia. There we organized two events relating to areas that have been traditionally seen as totally distinct: prayer and politics. In our first event, we were delighted to provide a platform for young Christians to develop and share their ideas with the help of mentors. The second event we organized for the same weekend was the Europe Prayer Sunday. What a joy it was to connect churches from Estonia to Armenia for intercession. When the rest of “Europe” suddenly has a face, we find it easier to pray for and love her.
Looking back at last week, I now realise that although we have made false distinctions between Christian work and non-Christian work, it is God’s desire that all work be God-breathed. We are all called to bring the kingdom of God on earth, whatever we do. The Bible actually speaks of priesthood (often seen as the task of Christians) and kingship (often seen as the task of non-Christians) as functioning together.
As an example of this, the Scriptures mention a rather enigmatic character, Melchizedek, who functioned as the king of Jerusalem and as “priest of God Most High” (Genesis 14:18) at the time of Abraham. In Zechariah 6, we find a similar unity between the functions: God actually commanded a crown to be made and placed on the head of the high priest, Joshua. It reads: “It is he who will build the temple of the Lord, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two” (Zechariah 6:13).
These passages are obviously pale reflections of the kingship and priesthood of Jesus. He is the King of kings and He is also the high priest, “in the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 7:11). In the world surrounding us, however, we rarely see harmony between kingship and priesthood. More often than not Christians are kindly discouraged from involvement in society. Instead, they are encouraged to stay at church, where they “belong”.
We have been told (and we have told each other) that we are priests and thus our realm of activity is limited to the church. It seems to me that we forget, however, the other side of the coin. Peter calls us a royal priesthood (1. Peter 2:9). Revelation shows the future of all Christians: “And you have made them a Kingdom, Priests and Kings to our God, and they shall reign over The Earth.” (Revelation 5:10, Aramaic Bible in Plain English). I believe that as Christians we have two indispensible legs – priesthood and kingship – without one we will just limp along our way. The events of Tallinn were, I hope, just a foretaste of a new move of uniting prayer and godly influence in society. May we learn to think out of our personal boxes and rediscover that our God truly reigns over all.