People who follow Jesus often use a word that may be strange to those who don’t, or who’ve not been around Christian circles much. That word is “kingdom.” This very old word conjures up for many a vision of knights and castles and conquest. But what was Jesus saying when he talked about the “kingdom of God” or the “kingdom of heaven?” And why did he talk about it so much?This week we are going to explore this idea.
In the Lord’s Prayer we pray, “your kingdom come on Earth as it is in heaven.” Many of us, myself included, believe this prayer is a call to action – not only to ask God the Father to bring his kingdom to Earth, but to show us how we can participate in that. Literally, “how can I bring your kingdom to Earth as it is in Heaven today?” In order to do that, it would make sense that we need to know what we’re aiming at.
This is a huge topic. Perhaps not suited for a short daily devotional! But we’re gonna try, with little glimpses each day that I hope will at least point you toward God and a deeper search for what this all means.
Today, let’s start with this little tidbit from Jesus in Matthew 13:31-32:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
“Though it is the smallest of seeds…” This word is so encouraging to me because sometimes I feel my faith is tiny. That my view of the world is too small. That I can’t see what I should be seeing. That I want to see more of what God is up to in the world.
Yet there is something about the kingdom of heaven, God’s kingdom, that though it appears very small, when it matures to its full glory it will be incredible, and life-giving. Do not despise small, humble beginnings when our hearts are aimed at the kingdom.
Though you may feel wrestling with the notion of the kingdom of God is too expansive and too hard to grasp, take heart today, the tiniest seed of God’s kingdom planted in our lives and the lives of those we love will grow into something wonderful. It may not look like much today, but be patient and keep going – a beautiful flourishing is ahead.
Grace and Peace,
Our nation seems to face unprecedented challenges. If you are tempted to lose hope, read American Awakening by John Kingston. Without flinching from our national challenges, Kingston reminds us of the timeless truths about America that bind us together and make our country unique and great. This book gives the reader a much-needed shot of national confidence.
— Arthur Brooks, Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School; Senior Fellow, Harvard Business School; and President Emeritus, American Enterprise Institute.