|Getting It Right|
by Peter Tyrrell
Ministry in this century is exciting. As someone whoís been serving the faith community for some years Iíve interacted with many organizations that have a specific role in growing or supporting the church. I love the shift Iíve seen in that time where ministries have largely ceased from being isolationist to considering themselves as integral parts of the one body. This ecumenical view of ministry sees them working together to progress the Kingdom of God through the development of Godís people, presenting Christ to others and supporting those who are called into ministry in all its forms.
In early 2011 my daughter, Carla, began working in the marketing department of a Christian humanitarian organization, International Needs Australia. After meeting their CEO, Sheldon Rankin, I invited him to join our Insight for Living staff for a morning tea where he could share in INís vision and help us understand the unique contribution they are making to Jesusí proclamation to his disciplesÖ
ďÖ you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.Ē ( Acts 1:8 NIV)
During Sheldonís visit he prepared a short devotion that I want to share with you. Itís simple, yet profound. He focused his message on three words: Ethics - Morality - Integrity.
ē Ethics: These are your values.
ē Morality: This is how you act according to your values.
ē Integrity: This is how well the two match.
While we could write a book on each of these words, I donít want to lose the connecting significance of each. Your integrity is measured by how your actions meet your value system or beliefs. Thatís important.
Sheldon posed an interesting question. Can a thief, or even a murderer, act with integrity? I suppose they can if their ethics suggest that itís acceptable to kill another and theyíre doing what they believe to be right. I donít like it, but I can see how this works.
Here is the cruncher for us and for our society.
It all comes down to our value system. The problem is that forces that are not of God all too often determine or mold societyís values. Imagine if we asked a thief or a murderer to define our laws for human rights. It wouldnít work because while such values are suitable for them, they arenít appropriate for an orderly and love-based society. These dysfunctional values would lead to all forms of anarchy. But sadly this is what is happening to our youth who are the product of the media explosion of the past two decades, where most often the value system conveyed is at odds with the Biblical framework.
Our boat needs to be righted. If we want morality to improve then there is no other way than to get back to Godís roadmap, or as some would say, Godís rulebook - the Bible. Itís a fact that our western laws were crafted on Biblical precepts. But as the media and our personal experiences show, Australian society is turning its back on them to its own detriment. We canít have it both ways, either youíre for God or against Him. Simple. The gospel writer, Matthew, quotes Jesus:
ďWhoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.Ē ( Matthew 12:30 NIV)
A return to Biblical values is the only way Australian society will start to right itself from the almost capsizing lean we are currently experiencing.
It starts with the planting of seeds by the church through strong teaching from Godís Word. Then itís supported, watered, and nurtured by your ministers, pastors, priests and lay people. Finally, Godís appointed ministries like International Needs and Insight for Living, provide resources to nourish, and warmth to germinate those seeds in an often-dark land.
Please pray for those organizations that undertake the Lordís work in developing Godís Kingdom. Pray that each will flourish in the contribution they make, and that through them, many will choose to follow Jesus Christ, walking ever closer to Him.
Peter Tyrrell is the Executive Director of Insight for Living Australia based in Melbourne and host of Chuck Swindollís radio programs.