2022 The Year of Expansion
As I reflect on 2021, I feel expanded; not only in my waistline…I’ll soon return to strengthening and minimizing my physical self, but also in my internal house. 2021 was chock full of opportunities to trust Jesus in greater depths and to be expanded in our faith, in our understanding and in hope.
This year my friend Marti, who is about 10 years older than me, (don’t tell her I told you), has been talking about her new perspective on her future self. She used to avoid thinking about aging and didn’t want to consider how she might be in the future. But then her daughter gave her a paradigm shift, and now, every day, Marti is advancing the possibilities for her future self. What’s going on in her internal person is evident all over her external person. It’s beautiful!
This year, I have felt that the Lord has been doing some remodeling of my internal house. He has taken some old visions, old dreams and given me understanding. As usual, His understanding means that my mind and heart have got to grow larger to take it all in. As usual, my existing “knowledge” (what I understand with my mind and natural learning) only begins to encompass the larger and greater territory of wisdom and understanding that He makes available.
Have you ever had those moments when you are learning something new and you suddenly realize that the scope of knowledge on the subject is WAY bigger than you ever considered!? Well that is life IN Jesus all the time if you are pressing in for more. Holy Spirit is so generous that the house will never be done expanding. For everyone who has asked Jesus for more understanding, more wisdom–there are no tiny houses. I wonder if that’s what He meant by, “In my Father’s house are many mansions”?
This year, the Lord took me back to passions I had in business school and youthful longings full of hope for social justice and expanded my former house with creative strategies that harmoniously blend the two. He reminded me of what my spirit has always known, that this model of believers in business demonstrating social justice should be the norm, not the exception.
This year I have felt the Lord pushing me back in to the business world. I’m excited about that. But IN Jesus, there is no distinction between ministers who work on the church campus and ministers who run a business out in the world. Did you notice that Jesus took almost all of his first disciples from the business world, not the Temple? Do you remember that Jesus was first an entrepreneur?
I have a heart and a hunger to address some social needs through a Kingdom oriented business. I believe that is the future of the church. Not just gathering together in churches for a weekly meeting, but Kingdom business people having an affect on many lives through transactions and interactions all week long.
Those interactions can open the door to natural connections becoming deeper in the intimacy of meals together, discussions and meetings in homes. How is this better than what we have been doing? It is a more natural social connection, it was modeled for us as a successful model in the first century church and it includes everyone! Expansion is not just dependent on the pastor, but happens naturally in everyone’s daily lives.
Last night, I had a group of friends over. One friend, a business woman, was telling the story of how she never intended to run a business, she wanted to “run a household, which is a business,” she said.
“Yes!” my spirit shouted. I have always seen it that way too.
Back in the day, I read a lot of historical fiction set in medieval Britain. I remember a character who was a Duchess or some such. At any rate, she was the mistress of the manor. Her husband had several fortresses spread across his lands. In wartime, his armies and the many servants, farmers, butchers, blacksmiths etc who lived on his lands would also move into the fortress. It was the responsibility of his wife to manage the household so that all of those people could be fed through the kitchens of the fortress.
All of the food supplies, medicinal herbs, bandages, wool fiber to make clothing, wine, etc had to be anticipated, and bought or produced for a good price. In addition to this, she would make money selling extra produce, grains, or animals for meat, hides for leather, specialty products made from things grown on the land, wood for fires, services her workers could perform. It was so apparent to me how running a household like that was really a business. How well she stewarded that household spoke volumes to the political guests, tenant/farmers, suppliers and customers about her husband and his wisdom and authority! Does this sound like the Proverbs 31 woman to anyone?
In case you didn’t read Proverbs 31 that way, she was a devout and diversified entrepreneur. In addition to her various business successes, she ran a household and made her man, who was a wise but seemingly unemployed politician, look good.
So this morning I was talking to my daughter about the future. I was talking to her about our current market, long term trends and how to read them, what to expect from historic cycles so that she can begin living toward her future dreams. I want her to be able to see clearly how to apply the business strategies and innovations the Lord has given her, in the future. She can start developing plans for the future expansion of the Kingdom through her businesses on earth. Looking at the past, we can develop an understanding of the future and dream with God. (This may seems strange to those of you who know my daughter, but that is a whole other conversation about planning for the future!)
I believe the path of growth in the Church of the future is the same structure that enabled the first century church to expand so dynamically; 1) Small home groups gathering in intimacy with one another and with Holy Spirit, 2) supported and expanded by believers in the marketplace demonstrating the ethics, favor, blessing and provision of the Kingdom to people who were not seeking Him in the usual places.
So whether you are managing a business or managing a household, I hope your understanding of your personal role in the Kingdom and the exciting possibilities for it just got bigger. I hope that off in the distance, you just saw with awe and wonder how much bigger His plans for you are than you ever dreamed! I pray that in 2022 your internal house will undergo a major remodel as you press in and ask for more wisdom and revelation. I pray that 2022 be the year expansion for you and for all those you love. Let His Kingdom come and His will be done in and through your life this year. Bless you!