Serving in the Kingdom—Lessons Learned
To me, serving in the Kingdom begins with the knowledge that God exists; that God is around us all; that God is in me; that God’s presence is the expression of love—the love of God expressed with all my heart and my strength and the love for my neighbor as myself. How should we then serve in the Kingdom? Consider then, “what would Jesus do?” The Gospel tells us he lives in the Kingdom of God; that he applies his life in that Kingdom for the good of others, and he makes it possible for others to enter it themselves. So, he told us the short answer, “Follow me”
The people of PPC, by choice and by grace, are learning from him how to live in the Kingdom of God. We are learning not to do everything he did but instead we are learning to do everything in a manner in which he did what he did. We are learning how to live life, a real life, a whole life. This is not necessarily learning how to do special religious things. It is not so much a matter of what we do as how we do it. In this view everything is covered, “religious” or not. Then we are doing for God’s sake that which we commonly do for our own sake. In this manner, our life becomes a prayer, and we pray without ceasing. Then each, in the midst of our actual lives, becomes exactly the person God wanted. With the Spirit of God within us comes formation of likeness of Jesus, who in his own person is the true, real human being. It is God’s spirit encountering and transforming ourselves into the selves we are meant to be. We then avoid the craziness of “full-time Christian service and part-time Christian service” because we are not necessarily devoted to doing specific religious things. In our workplaces we learn to do our jobs in the manner Jesus would do our jobs. The Gospel term for this is, “in the name of Jesus”. When we do this the majority of our waking hours is in the Kingdom of God within our lives. In our work we intend that our job be the highest good—with quality reflecting energizing and direction by God. In the Gospel, Jesus describes the ordinary things of life “things both ordinary and new” (Matthew 13:52) He earlier had described the Kingdom of Heaven, “is like where something of extreme value is concealed in a field. Someone discovers it, and quickly covers it up again. Overflowing with joyous excitement he pulls together everything he has, sells it, and buys the field” (v44) In vv 45-46, “Again the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. On finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all he had and bought it”. In these, Jesus expresses the condition of the soul of one who chooses life in the Kingdom with Jesus. The sense of goodness achieved in choosing it as well as the opportunity to be missed; the love for the value discovered; the excitement; and the joy for it all, are also understood today. In this understanding, the “cost of discipleship” is not the concern, but whether they could “get the deal”. They understood the opportunity—they did not think of anything to be more valuable than friendship with Jesus in his Kingdom. This manner of “counting the cost” is what brings clarity—we clearly see the superiority of what we receive over everything we have/hold to be of value.
As prayer is our topic this summer, increase your clarity by writing down your prayer for his help in seeing Jesus in your life. When you “dwell in my Word”; you are in “unceasing prayer”, and become liberated from the bondage of human life in a secular world—you are now liberated into life in the Kingdom of God. Dwelling then is not just study (seminary) but putting it into practice (PPC)—that is real dwelling in the world. When we have the clarity to say “Yes Lord, you know I love you” we find the command “Feed my sheep” to be a joyous opportunity. I made this choice, embrace this treasure, and understand the incredible bargain in my pearl (PPC).
Thank you for a wonderful year of serving in the Kingdom. Grace, Peace, and many Blessings.