Jesus… answered, “The kingdom of God doesn’t come by counting the days on the calendar. Nor when someone says, ‘Look here!’ or, ‘There it is!’ And why? Because God’s kingdom is already among you.” Luke 17:21 (MSG)
As a child I was bemused when preachers said, “If God’s purpose in saving you was taking you to heaven, you would have died at the altar.” At the time, it seemed to me that most people I knew were content just to have a heavenly entrance pass. That was enough. Don’t ask for any further commitment, and don’t make us uncomfortable. I was gratified as an adult to learn that there was so much more to being a Christian than just dying and going to heaven. In fact, there was a unique life assignment offered to each one of Jesus’ disciples.
Jesus spoke often of the Kingdom of God and described it in terms of “righteousness, joy, and peace in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17) and not “heaven some day.” And then he said that the Kingdom of God is HERE. It’s not “pie in the sky bye and bye.” So, as citizens of the Kingdom who have been given a mandate to go out and make disciples and to bear fruit, can you imagine a more opportune time than this to reflect the character and love of our King?
Think of all the ways we can fulfill the Great Commandment (loving God and our neighbor, Matt. 22:36-40) in these uncertain times. Remembering that since we are now part of the Kingdom, we no longer belong to ourselves but are the King’s servants who humbly impart joy and peace to neighbors who may be caught up in the stress of the times. We are open to creative ways to disperse laughter and hope to the anxious. We are available to offer practical assistance in whatever ways we see because the Kingdom is NOW, and we are citizens of the Kingdom.
We can move out of that tiny, restrictive world called Self and into the Kingdom which exalts the King and in which we are called to love. The time is now. The Kingdom is here.
Father, open our eyes. Who can we love; who can we comfort; who can we walk with today? Show us, in Jesus’ name. AMEN.