For some time now I have been working on a series of bite sized books on Kingdom or eschatological perspectives on mundane or ordinary life. There is one on the Kingdom itself (Imminent Domain–Eerdmans), one on worship (We Have Seen his Glory–Eerdmans), one on work (Work– Eerdmans), one on money (Jesus and Money– Brazos Press), one on spiritual formation (The Shared Christian Life– Abingdon), and finally now one on ‘the Rest of Life’–Rest, Play, Eating, Studying, Relating (including sexual relating). Each of these books are under 200 pages, and intended to promote more serious theological and ethical reflection on the things we do most of the time every single week.
What has constantly amazed me in doing this series of books is how few predecessors amongst Biblical scholars I have had in writing on several of these subjects. It’s as if we are not talking about soteriology or theology proper (the doctrine of God) or some forms of eschatology, then we must not be doing theology or ethics. It’s strange. The irony is that this little 168 page book, like it’s predecessors, is all about eschatology, or better said, taking an eschatological look at the ordinary. The question being asked in answered in each of these books is— What difference does it make if we view these ordinary things of life in light of the already and not yet eschatological activity called the Kingdom of God? My answeer, as you might imagine, is ‘much in every way’. If we are seriously about our eschatology, both present and future, this should absolutely change the way we view all these subjects— worship viewed from the end backwards looks different, and so does work, and money, and marriage, and rest, and play, and spiritual formation etc.It is clear enough that both Jesus and Paul thought so. What Jesus says about marriage and singleness in Mt. 19 or what Paul says in 1 Cor. 7 is not merely a reaffirmation of business as usual. They both believe that ‘the form of this world’ is passing away, and this should cause us to live with an attitude of some detachment from ‘the things of this life’.
In ‘the Rest of Life’ I enter into the lists of the sabbath debate, and the play debate, and the human sexuality debate— nice non-controversial topics. What concerns me as well in this whole series is the issue of place, importance and balance. What sort of balance between work, worship rest, play, spiritual formation, study, relating do you find works for you? Are there some norms in the Bible about these things? What is the difference between and OT perspective on these things and a new creation Kingdom perspective?
With the Rest of Life you really do get my discussion about ‘the Rest of Life’ (double entendre intended), meant to tease your minds into active thought. What does it mean to rest, study, play, relate, eat to the glory of God and in light of the coming Kingdom? At $10 on Amazon, you have to admit— that’s a pretty good sized portion of soul food for that price. Try it, and tell me what you think.