Unfinished refers to the work of Jesus Christ on earth. The New Testament describes the expansion of the kingdom of God through the Holy Spirit’s work in the church. The work of reaching the nations is still unfinished.
The kingdom of God as launched by Jesus is a reality for a new way of living. In the kingdom of God the values of the world are turned upside down. Every citizen in the kingdom is loved and valued. The rich share with the poor. The healthy care for the sick. The strong protects the weak. The good news of Jesus is proclaimed. The result is that people from all nations are drawn into the kingdom.
Unfinished brilliantly summarizes the mission of God and His people. Stearns weaves personal stories, biblical teaching, and testimonies from World Vision into a call for believers to be involved in their world. Stearns moves readers from the greatness of God’s global purposes to specific steps for individual action.
The chapter that impacted me the most was the one titled “Magic Kingdom, Tragic Kingdom, and the Kingdom of God.” In this chapter, Stearns contrasts his visit to a church in a tent city for earthquake victims in Haiti on one Sunday with his visit to a large church celebrating Advent in Seattle on the next. The contrast jolted him.
The magic kingdom is a reference to Disney World. It is a place designed for fun and escape. It does not reflect the reality of the rest of the world. Stearns wonders what it would be like if you were born in the magic kingdom and never leave it. How distorted would your understanding of the world be? He then compares the developed world with the magic kingdom. Stearns claims that life for the 20% of the world who live in the developed world doesn’t reflect the reality in the rest of the world. Casual conversation for those in this magic kingdom includes discussion about where to go on vacations, what movies are showing, what teams are winning this season, where are the best places to invest excess income, what kind of car to drive, and what’s the next restaurant that they want to try. In the tragic kingdom, home to 80% of the world’s people, nearly a billion people suffer from hunger or lack of clean water. Others endure the displacement and danger caused by wars. Still others suffer from treatable diseases, but can’t afford the treatment. Nearly 80% of the of the world survives on less than $10 per day. There is no vacation from the life of survival.
Along with The Hole in Our Gospel, Unfinished is a book by someone who is teaching and living a comprehensive word and action gospel of God. I recommend it.