I wake up and my feet hit the cold hardwood floor. I quietly throw back the covers and try to sneak through the house undetected. As I look around at the dirty dishes, clothes laying on the banister, baby bottles here and there, a pop tart that was forgotten and left on the table, a half drank glass of milk accompanying it. As I glance around something jolts me awake, no it wasn’t coffee but the presence of God as He whispered to my spirit “On the surface it seems to be a mess. But if you look a little deeper you can see these relics as evidence of life.” I looked around and my heart sang “life happens right here…the mess is evidence.”
The evidence of the Kingdom is all around us, disguised as a “mess.” Kingdom work is at times “messy” and it is happening right here, right where you are. In the classroom, behind the tellers desk, in the carpool line, at the gym, in the factory, at the ball field…all are provinces of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Does the mess distract us from the message? Do we have eyes that see the Kingdom abounding in the mediocrity of life or do we excuse the divine because it is draped with normalcy?
Kings determine the nature of their kingdom and so Christ set the bar for how the kingdom runs. We are witnesses of the reality of the Kingdom through little kindnesses; gentle encouragement from a friend, a child’s voice erupting in praise, a stranger who opens the door, the authentic question of “how are you?” to the cashier, a smile, a wave, a hug…all carry the weight of the kingdom. When we see the world through the filter of the cross, when the veil of busyness pulls away, the Kingdom can be beheld through causul moments. I keep a notebook tucked away and easily accessible. I call it simply, my “Kingdom” book. In this notebook I write down the small or large occurances of the Kingdom reality. Sometimes I miss it, when Heaven is revealed to Earth, but every once and a while through eyes of grace I see it; When the Kingdom is made clear to the natural realm. It could be in the prayer of a child or the simple text of a friend. Luke 17:21 tells when the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come He answered “The Kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say “Look here it is! Or “There!” For behold the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” Its here, right now. The reality of The Rule is among us, in all the littles that make up our days. The Greek word for midst is “enhon” which means “within your soul” it’s used in Matthew 23:26 when Christ uses it to tell the Pharisees to clean the inside of the cup. The throne of the kingdom sits inside you, The Kingdom is where the Spirit is. Just like leaven, It works from within to manifest the inward reality to the visible realm. It’s inconspicuously tucked within the being of man but as devotion is mixed in something rises; kingdom influence.
To live for Christ is to die to self, the manifestation of the inward reality of the kingdom rises up and out of the ashes of our own kingdoms demise. The ruins of self become the foundation for Kingdom iniative. Yet sometimes what happens instead is the cause of The Kingdom dies to the cause of self. The cause is lost. Not meaning the cause lacks hope or worthiness but that the cause, the matter of importance, was lost on us. It was wasted because we were focused on another cause; self.
For a cause to be lost it must have lost its weight along the way. Somewhere in the rush of life, the reason for living was swept away in the tide of indifference. The busyness of life has left our hearts idle (1 Tim) and complacent. The church in Sardis (Revelation 3) was examined and the truth revealed;their works were dead. That means they were still doing the works but it was all void of meaning. The shrill of hollow works echoed throughout the church. Their hands were moving but their hearts were empty. The cause was lost on them. Somehow they missed it. Someway they drowned out the pounding plea of the gospel; The Kingdom of God is at hand.
Hollow works are much easier to form, they cost very little. For most of us if the shell of our works was split open there would be nothing at the core. Void of love, compassion, mercy, sincerity, gentleness, peace, patience…void of meaning. The works of faith are pulsating with the cost of life, the heartbeat of good works is the cause of The Kingdom.
I was watching the classic Gone with the Wind and the word “cause” kept falling off the tounges of the Southern Cavilers and ladies. As their way of life was threatened, a cause arose, a cause that was greater than themselves, a cause that encased thier very life, a cause that was worth dying for.
“Until we find that something worth dying for, we are not apt to find anything worth living for.”
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Matthew 13:44
The kingdom is more than just a treasure it is the treasure, the only one that’s holds any weight and worth. Once we have found it, we have found all we need and could desire.
We will be willling to die for The “cause” that enwraps our lives, be it our country, our families, our jobs, our Lord….Passion rarely counts the risk.
Rhett Butler said “I believe in Rhett Butler, he’s the only cause I know. The rest doesn’t really matter much to me.” He fought for the confederacy for profit, his devotion was hollow. He fought the fight but for the wrong cause. He was a blockade runner, risking his life to bring the people what they needed. All the while under the fake facade of “cause”, he was doing it all for himself and there we see a cause that was lost. A cause that lost its meaning in the war of self promotion and selfish ambition. Pride covers our selfishness with piety. Many times we find ourselves fighting but could it be we are fighting for the wrong cause?
The reason we may not be living for the Cause of The Kingdom is simple; we do not believe it is worth our lives. We believe it’s important enough to be apart of our lives but it lacks the prominence to be our life. It doesn’t carry enough weight. Somehow, someway just like the Church of Sardis the emptiness of self outweighs the heaviness of splendor and glory and just like them our works prove it. Casualness is a laughable offense to the Kingdom. Because if we truly understood what was before us we would laugh at the temptation to make little of the Kingdom.
In the ancient pages of Scripture we find it, we find the reason for living in the person of a Nazarene. A Nazarene that encased the cause; the cause of the Kingdom of heaven. He showed us by example that the Kingdom is worth dying for and that by dying for the cause we find something worth living for; The Kingdom of God.
“O lord let this be where I die, my Lord with thee, crucified. Be lifted high as my kingdoms fall…once and for all…once and for all.” Lauren Daigle
My 5 year old daughter sees crosses everywhere she looks. She sees them in the trees, the clouds, in street signs, in her cereal…just about everywhere. Just today as we were driving down the road she pointed out one on the front of a car. The emblem and the chrome met insuch a way that she saw a cross. Curious, I asked her “how do you see a cross everywhere you look?” Her response took my breath, she said “because I’m looking for them.”
Look for them. Look for the occurances of the kingdom scattered in the mundane. Look for the instances when the Kingdom is made know. Look for it-don’t let it be lost on you.