Let’s read Keller (8): Abraham Kuyper did not say “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of my personal devotions and churchgoing over which Christ does not cry: mine!”

Let's read Keller

In Every Good Endeavor, Keller reminds his reader of the well-known line from Abraham Kuyper: “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!” (Quote from Kuyper’s inaugural address at the dedication of the Free University. Found in Abraham Kuyper: A Centennial Reader, ed. James D. Bratt (Eerdmans, 1998), 488). I fear that, in its journey from my eyes to my heart, the quotation can be subtly re-written so as to read “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of my time of personal devotions and churchgoing over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!… and frankly I like to keep a controlling interest in my churchgoing.”

Much more important than Kuyper’s choice of words, however, is the biblical truth towards which his inaugural address is pointing: You have never seen anything in your life that God did not create (Rev 4:11), and Christ is intimately involved in upholding in existence the very things that are in your field of vision at the moment (Heb 1:3). These same things, along with you who are looking at them, were made by and through Christ, and were made for one supreme reason: to belong to or to ‘be unto’ Christ (Col 1:16).[1]

Christ is the origin and the destiny of every object you have ever seen, every person you have ever heard or encountered, every idea you have ever contemplated.[2] Without his express immediate and personal sustaining this very instant, the objects you see in front of you right now would cease to exist before you could finish reading this sentence, and you would not outlast them. He is the past, the present and the future of every thing and every one you will ever touch, see, hear, smell or taste, and of many more that you will never know existed (Matthew 10:29). Furthermore, God’s plan for the whole universe, including you, is to bring it all under Christ’s rule (Ephesians 1:22).

If such is the omnipresent, intimate and personal interest of the risen Christ in both the fundamental maintenance and the ultimate destiny of every atom, every thought and every person in the institution in which you work, it is inconceivable that he would not have an interest in using his servants to bring about those same purposes in those same institutions. Not that Christ has to use us, any more than he had to use Joseph to accomplish his purposes of salvation. And not that we always know in fine detail what his plan to bring everything under Christ will look like in a given situation. We are not the heroes of the story riding in on white chargers to lend God a much-needed helping hand. Rather, we get to play a role in the unfolding of the biggest, best and most satisfying true story ever told: the story God’s plan for the creation, maintenance and destiny of our universe.

When I feel my heart wanting to restrict God’s authority over my work life, it is this truth more than anything else that I find helpful. Who would want to miss out being involved in the greatest story ever lived?

 

[1] Greek eis auton: ‘for’, ‘to’, ‘into’ or ‘unto’ him.

[2] Lest this be taken the wrong way, see my post on Keller’s reading of Paul’s apologetic method in 1 Corinthians 1: A Pauline model for engaging with our disciplines.

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