gh school business class. The question was... "Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?"
It's been 5 years...it's actually been close to 10 years...and I've been building.
At 27 (how old I am right now) my Kingdom was supposed to look something like this:
Debt Paid off
Career Well established and 3 or 4 promotions in
Second home purchased
The list goes on from there, mostly involving money in savings accounts, exotic places I'd vacationed to and maybe "Getting married" or 'getting a dog" would have been on the list.
What did your list look like? How's it coming along?
Today I'm not writing anything that is meant to either make you feel less motivated to accomplish your lifelong goals, or to make you feel like you've arrived because you've ticked some of the items off the list.
Instead, this morning I want to encourage you to look at your life and do your best to try and evaluate it though a different lens.
“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom." - Luke 12:32
Chapter 32 of Luke is filled with mostly the words of Jesus himself as he teaches through stories to ask the people to do the very same thing that I just asked of you. To look at how they are living and to redefine some of the ways that they are measuring the success or lack thereof of their lives. Interestingly enough, these teachings revolved around something we all consider paramount in our own way...Money.
By the time Jesus reaches verse 22, he has already discussed with the crowd the real meaning of hypocrisy...one we forget when we discuss it in today's world, and he has given them a clear picture of the way that wealth can distract us from what has real value in our lives and how fleeting it is. So, starting in 22, he dives into a deeper teaching that finally reaches his statement above.
Don't be afraid...for it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.
In the sentences prior he discussed the dangers of worrying about life, provisions, and yes, money. He says: "These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs." - Luke 12:30.
So, the response isn't more worry, more storing and money...actually the response isn't even up to you. the response is found in the actions of a King. A King and a Father. A Father who loves you beyond recognition...who is happy to give you a Kingdom. Not one you could build, but one that he has already built. One that you don't buy or barter for, instead it is one that he simply gives to you.
This scandalous exchange of nothing for a Kingdom produces the joy of the Lord and the absence of all need, fear, and worry.
You see, we spend all our days building up our own little kingdom of one. A small piece of the best we can accomplish on our own (and most of the time, we didn't do it on our own). That piece is meant to bring joy to our lives and meaning to the rest of the world. But our influence so often rarely makes it past our property line...
When we seek to bring joy to our Father in heaven, who offers us a real Kingdom, then we suddenly are free to stop the toiling for our own kingdoms. Our own small kingdom of green lawns, diversified investment opportunities, vacation timeshares, 401k's, and eighteen grandchildren's college accounts padded nicely.
These small kingdoms, while nice and practical for the lives we are to live here on earth...Jesus says actually tend to bring more toiling, worry and stress into our lives. When we are set to inherit a perfect and wonderful Kingdom that actually brings joy to our creator, why would we try and build up our own that is so fleeting by comparison?
The bottom line is we think we can handle it. All the things that the world throws at us, the pain, temptations and brokenness. We see them and try to overcome them, but the truth is that we can't. We need help. We need a King.
When Jesus offered the chance to no longer be afraid and to no longer live for our own small kingdoms of one, he offered a chance to live instead for the favor of the King in Heaven who would joyfully welcome us into his Kingdom to live under his loving reign of peace, forgiveness, and love.
HOW are we actually supposed to live this kind of life here and now? Are we supposed to sell all our possessions and live as nomads and minister to people and be missionaries?
Well...in some way, Viv and I have done exactly that. We sold our little kingdom, and now travel around to serve ministries and churches that we feel called to be a part of...but the truth remains, that it isn't enough.
The "kingdom" we serve still seems to vary depending on the day. Some days, yes, we feel the joy and the peace that comes from living for the Kingdom to come. Doing the will of our KING JESUS. But there are other days where the kingdom of this world creeps into our thoughts and motivations. Our own following on social media, our van itself, the jobs we give ourselves and time to, our family and much more.
We could never do enough to earn the Kingdom, and we could never do enough tearing down of our own little kingdoms to bring joy to the Lord on our own...but when we fall at the feet of our King, Jesus suddenly there isn't anything more we have to do...
On those days that things seem to hard, look to the cross. What might it look like to live for Christ in that moment, and not for your own kingdom? How might Christ offer you provision, wisdom, love, forgiveness, or salvation in that very moment?
When there seems to be pain or hopelessness abounding...what might Christ say? How might you rely on Him in that moment to provide you with hope and healing?
We could never do enough Earthly actions to earn this love, instead only one...Fall at the feet of your King and ask him to be your Lord. From that moment, just receive the joy he feels when he hands you His Kingdom.
John & Viv
P.S. If you have any questions, prayer requests, or need anything...Please reach out anytime (contact form at the bottom of our website: johnandviv.co )