Mysteries: Thinking Deep or Practical
Since God has had a people, the stumbling block for the household of faith too often has been found at the gateway of the profound: the deep things of the Spirit. God reveals the depths to give His own an advantage, which in turn make us distinctive. Yet, the subtlety is that the intention is in knowing Him more intimately. In giving it a closer look, the mystery and the gap have been in the application of these deep things … in making them practical.
So it was that Jesus tapped one of those Kingdom oxymorons found hidden in Jewish thinking: “Father, You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes.” (Matt 11:26) Paul likewise observed that the Lord chose the simple things to confound the wise. So it is that wisdom is found in simplicity.
At the core of the mysteries, what is largely hidden has been the framework God has imparted to His own which has shaped their/our thinking. It is the framework that closes the gap between the deep things and those represented by what have become the simple, practical outworkings of the profound.
While there is nothing wrong with the deep things, wisdom tends to be more aptly tied the practical. Jesus chastised the religious rulers whose elitism blinded their grasp of the practical to the extent of marring their grasp of reality … in short, embracing a mode of not seeing the forest for the trees. There is nothing new under the sun. So it is that this dynamic represents the creeping blindness that in today’s world encroaches at the door of not just the swings and aberrations in worldly thinking, but tends to overshadow the perceptions and machinations within the household of faith.
God’s Economy and Anointed Thinking
Two very key factors, not unrelated, bear on this dynamic by which God’s people can tap the profound in a way that releases the practical. The first involves the way God designed community to operate cohesively … together … in practical terms with what I label as “God’s Economy.” The second involves the individual contributions to combined community wisdom with what I describe as “anointed thinking.” Applied together with the right balance they not only tap the profound, but translate it into the practical.
My intention is to highlight two sterling examples operating today of this dynamic. But first, let me briefly unpack what I label as “God’s Economy” and “anointed thinking.” God’s economy is the balanced melding of the economic, the spiritual and that of community. This is substantively a great deal more than the world’s wisdom with an ethical sugar-coating. That’s not to denigrate the importance of righteousness and the needed standards of morality. However, it involves putting God at the forefront of practical guidance rather than as an afterthought. In doing so, righteousness becomes the path rather than the goal.
The original model goes back to pre-Torah days when Abraham served at the helm of what functionally was a God-centered, entrepreneurial community. The God-centric dynamic was richly refined during the days of Moses with parameters that gave heed to balance and protection for both entrepreneurs and the underprivileged. It engendered productivity and opportunity. At the core of these standards was the community becoming a society of leaders with positive impact and blessing on the surrounding nations:
“The LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God. Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD and they shall be afraid of you. And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today and are careful to observe them.” Deut 28:1,2,10,13
God’s economy gives precedent to the benefit of the community. It is driven by the combined individual thinking which originally was reflected in the premises of the Jewish Torah and subsequently became encased into Jewish culture, being passed down from generation to generation. It is the cultural and moral foundation of thinking that has resulted in both practicing and non-practicing Jews becoming globally respected as “THE people of business.” It is this thinking that now is reflected in “Kingdom thinking” that drives opportunity that forms the segment of enduring economics and community that stands apart from the cycles, the fads and the trends comprising the too frequent erratic pulse of modern-day business.
Charles Mulli and Mulli’s Children’s Family
With those thoughts in mind, let’s take a look at two modern-day and very dramatic examples of God’s economy driven by anointed thinking. Charles Mulli, a Kenyan national (born 1949) was repeatedly abandoned, abused and bounced from relative to relative as a child. With a struggle to feed and educate himself, much of his childhood was spent in a desperate, survival mode on the streets. He managed to attend enough school to learn how to read and write. Hopeless at 16, he was drawn into a chance church-service with a spiritual encounter that began a subtle but very real change to the trajectory of the only lifestyle and destiny he had known.
His efforts to get a job resulted in a position with a well-to-do business family in which through diligence he learned and advanced quickly to become field clerk for the crops they grew and because of his faith, he was trusted. Through the mix of pressures and circumstances, Mulli (often spelled Mully) finds opportunity and starts a simple business of a single-route shared taxi service on one of the motorized carts used in that part of the world. All these dynamics morph into becoming the launch pad of him becoming a multi-millionaire with a passion to reach and help street kids … then divesting it and reinvesting it all into a unique enterprise designed to rescue, train, educate, employ and transform the lives of kids of all ages trapped on the streets.
Over time, what becomes MCF (Mully’s Children’s Family) grows exponentially in numbers, as those adopted into his family are trained and educated …. going on to graduate from higher education to become productive citizens and community influencers. MCF is supported by a mix of the income and food harvested from crops on their own property, water from pure well water not typical for that part of the world and the support of donors from all corners of the world.
The fruit of this unusual example of God’s economy and social entrepreneurship has been the thousands of kids rescued from the streets and then given opportunity to become game-changers of the spiritual atmosphere and givers of Life in a part of the world where death and despair have held sway over entire regions of communities. Charles Mulli has written his own story, plus there are numerous books that offer insight into the unusual journey of this man of faith. Likewise, there is a movie, “Mully,” available through Amazon that was produced by Mulli’s biological children, who are at the helm of his operation. https://www.mullychildrensfamily.org/
So it has been and is that the simple things confound the wise. The mysteries. Being able to see the forest through the trees. How God reprocesses our thinking and way of perceiving reality. God’s economy.
The Standard, the Thinking and Societal Sanity
Karl Menninger was a leader and a voice in the world of psychiatry. As a Harvard trained psychiatrist, he was the founder of the respected Menninger Clinic and the Menninger Foundation. His publications, influential in the world of psychiatry, began in 1930. One of his more impactful messages was “Whatever Became of Sin?” published in 1973. This book’s thesis was that the slow but steady rejection of the concept of sin would erode sanity in our society. As a standard-bearer for both individual and societal sanity, this respected Jewish psychiatrist raised the banner and questioned the impact of the deviant lifestyles that were finding their way into the mainstream of the 1960s.
Prophetically, his message bears on the fruit that has evolved from the progressive embracing of deviant behavior and thinking that now occupies the discussions and headlines of today’s news. The West, once the standard-bearer for the realities and policies embraced by emerging nations, has undergone an implosion of values undergirding what once had historically been its foundations. In extending the thought from just the title of Dr. Menninger’s 1973 classic, we face a world in which the perception of reality has become as unstable as shifting sands.
Yet, it’s not like things were safe during Biblical times. Quite the contrary. My wife and went on a mission to Afghanistan in May of 2002; a time just following 9/11 and the military thrust that initiated the Western presence there. There were two hotels in the capital city. Ours was essentially sleeping rooms with no toilets with one restroom per floor at the end of the hall, with heavily armed security at the stairway for each floor.
That glimpse represents the reality of the surrounding societies that most of those written about in scripture lived in: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph and into David and Solomon, the prophets and then during the birth of the Church. For the most part, aside from God’s protection in their journeys, they were toast. Yet, strangely the example again and again after having been blessed and protected by God was to digress into “wanting to be like the world around them.” Menninger would have summed it up as the lure of sin.
For believers, serious about their faith, the answer is calling for more than dutiful church attendance. Mulli’s enterprise is but one example of how the biblical precepts of God’s economy can not only transform lives, but change a culture.
Indeed, the simple things confound the wise. It is about the mysteries that unwrap our ability to process reality and see beyond the trees to discern the makeup of the forest.
Daron Babcock and Bonton Farms
Another example is one I recently came across in a “Guideposts” testimony (“Growth Beyond Measure,” Daron Babcock, Guideposts, June/July 2023). Babcock shares that as a successful middle-aged business owner, life took a turn with the loss of his wife, business partner and best friend to cancer. Her loss was accompanied by his losing his purpose in life, his family falling apart, with him seriously digressing into hopelessness and drugs.
With friends conducting an intervention, he got cleaned up sufficiently to sell his business and home and move closer to family. But the spiritual hole precipitated by his loss was still there. Trying to figure out what to do with his life, he joined a church and a 12-step program … getting connected to a man who became a friend and mentor. This man suggested a Bible study run by a Christian organization in Bonton, a Black neighborhood in the most impoverished suburb in Dallas.
Babcock, a former middle-class White guy, relates that most members of that group had been incarcerated and like him, were trying to figure out what they could do with their lives in this area with few economic opportunities. Everyone was at a crossroads. Everyone was asking God which way to go. He shares that these weekly meetings became the highlight of his week … and God seemed to be nudging him with the question of “if it means so much, why is it only one day a week?” He couldn’t shake the feeling that his future was there.
So, he sold his home and began looking for a place in Bonton. There were none. NONE. What opened was an opportunity to house-sit and the Bible study shifted its location and their prayers began addressing more of the practical. One of the realities faced was the poor health of its members, which it didn’t take long to discern was tied to their poor eating habits. The answer seemed to be directed to gardening … a step which flourished and grew.
The abbreviated developments to this story is that over time that Babcock now oversees a nonprofit enterprise called Bonton Farms growing organic produce, operating a farmer’s market and café with a $4 million budget, more than 60 employees, 10,000 volunteers each year and a mission to heal the inequities of this underprivileged neighborhood through feeding the poor and restoring souls and hope. https://bontonfarms.org/
Indeed, it involves the mysteries and outside-the-box thinking that enables those with eyes to see to recognize the forest beyond the trees. The simple things and God’s economy.
The Mysteries: Unlocking the Practical
While the simple things do penetrate the veil and unlock the practical, care should be taken that the intent should not be confused with grappling with the superficial or the glib. What’s involved is a pathway best traversed together with a mix of prayer and “doing” that embraces the key elements of God’s economy: being God-centric overshadowing the process, then the application of gifts that God bestows to do the business of supporting families while simultaneously blessing, benefiting and drawing from the community.
Beyond the superficial, which held the ultra-religious Pharisees in bondage, are the practicalities … which deal with the realities of everyday life. Access involves thinking that applies a different mode of processing reality …. which is greatly enhanced by employing interactive group prayer as individuals willing to humble themselves together before God blend their gifts and anointings in support of one another.
The pinnacle of the framework in reshaping thinking to enable the entrance into God’s economy in our own entrepreneurial program is the age-old Jewish practice of minyans. In one of the earlier examples in an eastern European setting (masked to protect the participants), within a setting of high government controls, this minyan began with 15 members, three of whom already operated their own businesses. In two years, the existing businesses each tripled to quadrupled their income and nine of the remaining twelve members had started their own business, some of whom had more than tripled the income they had with government wages, with a few whose startups had doubled what they previously had been making.
Yet, it is not about the money. The money simply is a tool for change in the spiritual atmosphere, culture and rescue of the lives imprisoned without hope. The premise would not be too different from the prayerful gatherings that birthed Bonton Farms and MCF. In practical terms, the minyan serves this basic premise by meeting weekly for two purposes: 1) to pray and seek God and 2) to help one another become successful.
So in concluding the theme of unlocking the mysteries to release the practical, we have the story of Elijah, following what many regard as the pinnacle of his exploits in his face-off of power with the prophets of Baal and Asherah. While there are a range of conclusions bearing a twentieth to twenty-first century spin, we should keep in mind that the worldview of Elijah’s day was a supernatural one.
Up until that encounter of calling down the fire, Elijah had been sent to deal with Ahab, the reprobate king of Israel. However, in taking a look at the participants of this event, the audience gathered by Elijah was described in 1 Kings 18:20: “So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel.”
This dramatic event was a challenge designed to undermine the influence of Ahab’s and Jezebel’s infrastructure; to be witnessed by the household of faith. Front and center in the event were Ahab’s and Jezebel’s agents of death whose fear, spin and manipulation had so penetrated the heart of Israel …. whose voices had infiltrated the ranks of God’s people.
These were the strategically emplaced “boots on the ground,” whose voices challenged the standard of anointed thinking. These were those whose influence was at the heart of the three-year famine because the people wavered from the cultural precepts that has defined the Jewish people over the centuries … the cultural roots and precepts designed to bring the community together in combining the God-centric spiritual and the economic that releases the blessings of Heaven. As Elijah spoke to the children of Israel in the preface to this amazing display of God’s power:
“How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21
Following the events surrounding this encounter, despite Elijah’s unwavering courage and amazing exploits, he became spent and overwhelmed. He retreated to the cave, the place where he was most certain he would meet God. The sequence that follows might cause the best of discerners to pause. Twice in 1 Kings 19 the Lord asked him: “What are you doing here?”
The Lord then clearly spoke to him to go and stand at the entrance of the cave. And in verse 11, it states that the Lord began passing by. Then comes what might be confused; the scripture describing three manifestations of God’s power, first of the wind, then the earthquake and finally the fire …. yet scripture specifically states that the Lord was NOT in any of these manifestations.
Again and again in describing the events and miracles in Elijah’s journey, the mystery tied to his mantle of power was not in the manifestations of the power, but rather in his connection to the source of that power: his hearing of God’s still small voice … and the assignments that followed. The power was what accompanied the assignments. Without that still small voice, there was a disconnect that left Elijah spiritually anemic in the cave. It is the mystery unlocking the practical that was precisely the same as that responded to by Charles Mulli and Daron Babcock.
To the point in gleaning the practical from the profound: it is the simple things … that come from hearing God’s still, small voice that will unveil the steps and assignments that will define, unwrap and empower the mysteries and decimate the impossible hurdles.
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Morris Ruddick has been a forerunner of the Joseph-calling and God’s economy message, being an international voice for the higher dimensions of spiritual game-changers and intercessors since the mid-90s. As founder of Global Initiatives Foundation, the Strategic Intercession Global Network [SIGN] and designer of the God’s Economy Entrepreneurial Equippers Program and the Jewish Business Secrets YouTube series, Mr. Ruddick’s messages equip leaders and economic community builders with strategy where God’s light is dim in diverse regions around the globe.
He is author of “The Joseph-Daniel Calling;” “Gods Economy, Israel and the Nations;” “The Heart of a King;” “Something More;” “Righteous Power in a Corrupt World;” “Leadership by Anointing;” and “Mantle of Fire,” which address the mobilization of business and governmental leaders with destinies to impact their communities. They are available in print and e-versions from www.Amazon.com, www.apple.com/ibooks and www.BarnesandNoble.com.
Global Initiatives Foundation (www.strategic-initiatives.org) is a tax-exempt 501 (c) 3 non-profit whose efforts mobilize economic community builders imparting influence and the blessings of God. Checks on US banks should be made out to Global Initiatives and mailed to 3838 South Wabash Street, Denver CO 80237 or by credit card at https://strategic-initiatives.org/donate/
2023 Copyright Morris Ruddick — firstname.lastname@example.org
Since early 1996, the Strategic Intercession Global Network (SIGN) has mobilized prophetic intercessors and leaders committed to targeting strategic-level issues impacting the Body on a global basis. For more information go to https://strategic-initiatives.org