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Your Kingdom Come

Your Kingdom Come

The kingdom of heaven isn't just a destination, it's a movement.
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At 6:25 A.M. on a recent Saturday, a few neighbors met in my driveway. We loaded food into a minivan and drove from our suburban neighborhood to nearby Chicago, where we cooked and served breakfast at a homeless women's shelter.

Our monthly visit to the shelter is a step on a shared journey of faith. Through serving, we solidify our friendships with one another and remember to be grateful. We dare to believe our small acts of justice matter and advance the kingdom of heaven.

Simple Acts of Love

The women at the homeless shelter each have a story. Some wrestle with mental illness, addictions, or both. They've experienced poverty, abuse, pain. Some are incredibly smart; some are angry and withdrawn; many have faith that far outshines mine.

After cooking and serving breakfast, my friends and I typically visit with the women for a while. On the drive home, we talk about our conversations. Finding common ground with people we don't know isn't always easy. But on this Saturday, my friend Kathy remarked, "You know, you don't have to figure out what to say. You just have to listen. All they want—all everyone wants—is someone to listen to them."

Kathy, who's not a theologian by any stretch, had said something profound. She was, in a way, bringing the kingdom of heaven to a homeless shelter. She brought the hungry food, and she provided the poor with the shelter of her attentive listening. In the process, her obedience led her to truth: black or white, privileged or poor, everyone just wants to be loved. And listening is an act of love.

The Here-and-Now Kingdom

I grew up thinking God's kingdom meant heaven—a place we'd go in the future if we were "in" with Jesus. So bringing the kingdom into the world meant evangelizing—leading seeker Bible studies, arguing with atheists, witnessing to friends, inviting non-believers to church. The goal was getting sinners to pray "the prayer" and be saved. Although such efforts are worthwhile, they seem less like bringing the kingdom into the world and more like pulling people out of it. It was as if we were selling tickets for a future event, or offering a bus transfer for a ride to the preferred eternal destination.

Jesus often said, "The kingdom of God is near you" or "among you" or "within you" (Luke 10:8-9; 17:20-21). He described this kingdom with word pictures: It's like a seed or a bit of yeast or a hidden treasure—small inanimate things that effect great change in the here and now. He also said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3). So this here-and-now kingdom apparently consists of folks who realize they're spiritually bankrupt, needy, hungry. It's a fellowship of people who understand we can't buy our way into the kingdom; we're dependent on God's goodness to welcome us in.

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Displaying 1–3 of 3 comments

Kate Ericson

June 03, 2013  8:24pm

This article was so refreshing for me as I think through and reaffirm how to serve God in the places where he leads me, which are usually not too far from my young family and home. The practical tips to incorporate in my everyday life are so useful toward not getting overwhelmed by the feelings that I'm never enough.

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Jess

August 06, 2010  11:31pm

thank you so much for this clear explination of 'Your Kingdom come'. I have been asked to present a children's talk on this topic and you've given me some great ideas and themes to follow to make it clear to understand and interesting and fun for the little ones! Well done! =) thx

Grant Alford

July 25, 2010  3:54pm

It seems so simple doesn't it. To have a kingdom one needs a king and subjects over whom he reigns. When I look always for ways that I can allow God to reign in my life, and when I try always to act according to His idea of what is "right", then I can trust that everything needful for my living will be provided. (And I will not need to be anxious about the next day.) Matthew 6:33 (& 34) Alford paraphrase. Truly the kingdom IS at hand, but it is up to me to demonstrate it to the world. Kingdomliving Is Simply Submission which is but a variation of K-I-S-S. (Keep it Simple Saints). and Psalm 2:12 puts it: "Kiss the Son,.... Blessed are all they that put their trust in him." Where the king is (reigning) there is the kindgom!

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