Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” -- Luke 17:20–21
We as Christians often find ourselves dreaming of another world—a far off place with greener grass and a promise there will be no pain and no suffering. A place that’s even more appealing to us considering the circumstances of our world today. The place I’m talking about is the kingdom of heaven and as our focus on it grows, our broken place looks just a bit more broken than usual. If we’re not careful, our love for the kingdom of heaven breeds disgust for the kingdom of earth. Yet who are we to despise God’s creation?
What would it be like if the second coming happened today and Jesus showed up and said, “Who wants to get out of this rotten, stinking world?” We would all gladly raise our hands. What if once you got to heaven, you overheard Jesus say to God, “I went down there and gathered everyone who wanted to leave the earth and brought them here to heaven, now we can go back to earth and be with our people.” Of course this isn’t a true story, but we need to remember that Jesus came to earth for the unbelievers. He didn’t come to condemn His creation but instead to heal His creation.
Because of this, we need to reevaluate our thoughts and beliefs regarding the kingdom of heaven. Jesus’ life and death here on the earth gave us access to the kingdom of heaven—we just need to turn away from the window pane to see it. And while heaven is a real place, and we as believers will be there with Him when our earthly death comes, His vision for us is not to be a people waiting on death but to bring life to the dead. We need to be His hands and feet—causing intersections of heaven and earth to occur. When we give to the poor and care for the widows, the light of heaven shines through.
Consider the rich young ruler who came to Jesus and asked how he could enter into the kingdom of heaven. Jesus answered by telling him to sell his possessions and give the money to the poor. If read through the wrong lens, it seems like Jesus is saying we must be poor to go to heaven and, even worse, that we can buy our place in heaven. Yet we need to understand that Jesus was telling him how he can experience the kingdom right here, right now.
Let’s not allow our longing for heaven to stop us from bringing heaven to as many people as possible in our time here on earth. Who around you needs the kingdom of heaven? How can you help bring it to them in their time of need?
Lord, thank You for the opportunity to build the kingdom here on earth. Help me not to lose sight of what You’ve called me to do. Help me to be Your hands and feet and to see people through Your eyes. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
For Further Study
- Matthew 6:9–11 (KJV); Luke 12:32; John 18:36; Hebrews 12:28
-- Josh Morris
Taken from Created to Be, a Gateway devotion.
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