The lines of cars stretched for blocks, people waiting for food distribution. One man waited 2 hours to find the supply exhausted. In frustration he wondered how he would feed his family. Another older person spoke of her loneliness, day after day alone in her apartment, anticipating those brief moments when someone would drop off groceries. Many report broken sleep patterns, evidence of inner stress. Some are waiting vigil by the phone, unable to be with a critically ill family member. So many needs. Perhaps you are struggling to stay on your feet today. The need can be overwhelming, right?
While praying for those people, for my church family, I found myself deeply moved and yet feeling so powerless. What could I do in the face of such need? In my meditation this morning, I felt the Spirit’s touch and a fresh reminder that He desires MY faithfulness, a willingness to do my part, as He equips, to bring the Kingdom of God to earth. Is that not what Jesus taught us? He told us to pray that for the “kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10, NIV) In my dreams that looks like having access to millions of dollars and large armies of workers. In reality, the Kingdom comes when I submit to His rule in my own life and then do what He calls me to do to make Him known.
Today, it may seem that America’s greatest needs are economic and/or about physical health. There is no denying those realities, but by far the greatest need is spiritual. The stress of this time is showing up in growing evidences of hate, strife, and division. These things will only grow more acute if things become worse. Stressed people are usually angry people! Angry people can become dangerous people with little provocation. God invites us, you and me, to center ourselves in His love, to entrust ourselves radically to His care, to release our fears and receive the gift of a “peace that passes understanding.” And, He then commissions us to be ambassadors of the Kingdom.
Right now the world needs the Church to be less militant, to set aside the warrior concept of Christianity and to be more like Jesus that night before His crucifixion. He saw His friend fighting and competing. His response? He took a towel and basin to wash their feet. He ministered to a basic need and invited them to humble service like His! Oh that we would be like Him, humbly choosing to serve, to care, to comfort, to love. I am not blind to the hostility towards the good and godly that some in our nation have shown towards Christians. But, I choose to ignore the insults, to step around the sneers and jeers. I simply pray, “Your kingdom come, (in me) Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
That said, please know that we cannot share what we do not know. We must be living a renewed and whole life before we can hope to lead others to the fullness of the Spirit. Make no mistake, perfection is not the prerequisite for showing Jesus to our friends, family, and neighbors. Were that true all Christians would all be compelled to silence on life’s sidelines. In humility we admit that we do better some days than others, that we are a work in progress, and that we are imperfectly who we are because of Who He perfectly is.
Today, if you think only of BIG solutions and CHANGING THE WORLD you may well miss the Kingdom opportunities that are right in front of you. If we are able to help just one find the new life available through Christ, we may be setting off a chain reaction we cannot even imagine. A young woman evangelist brought her Gospel Tent to Northwest Iowa about 80 years ago. When my godless Granddad heard her preach the Good News that Jesus saves, he responded to the Spirit and became a follower of Christ. His choice, that day, was like a little trickle that became a stream and is now a river of influence for the Kingdom of God! Among his descendants are hundreds of Christians, pastors, teachers, and faithful servants of Christ who are making Him known. Thousands of people have heard about Jesus because my Grandpa knelt and entered into the Kingdom of Christ there in Truesdale, Iowa sometime around 1940.
Let me ask you – are you alive to God, a person living in His reign, knowing His peace? You can enter in, right now, where you are, by faith. Jesus says, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.” (John 7:37-38, The Message) Invite Him to forgive your sins, to enter your life, to make you new and alive to God. That’s the start of a life of faith.
Christian, I leave this promise with you, a word from the Word. As you pray to represent the Kingdom today, know that you are empowered by the Holy Spirit. Lean on the power He provides, using the gifts He will give, and make a Kingdom difference. “I am grateful that God always makes it possible for Christ to lead us to victory. God also helps us spread the knowledge about Christ everywhere, and this knowledge is like the smell of perfume. In fact, God thinks of us as a perfume that brings Christ to everyone. For people who are being saved, this perfume has a sweet smell and leads them to a better life. But for people who are lost, it has a bad smell and leads them to a horrible death. No one really has what it takes to do this work. A lot of people try to get rich from preaching God’s message.
But we are God’s sincere messengers, and by the power of Christ we speak our message with God as our witness.” (2 Corinthians 2:14-17, CEV)
(Worship along with Chris Tomlin)
Because You were forsaken
You were condemned
I’m alive and well
Your Spirit is within me
Because You died and rose again
How can it be
That You my King
Would die for me
I know it’s true
It’s my joy to honor You
In all I do I honor You
You are my King
You are my King
Jesus You are my King
Jesus You are my King
Billy J. Foote © 1996 worshiptogether.com songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
CCLI License # 810055