Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Am I the only one who has the worst time seeing the importance of the little things in the Kingdom of God? You know what I mean by little things? The prayers with my girls at night, cooking a meal for my family, the time spent talking with and listening to a friend, the money given to people who need it, the kissing and band-aiding of a boo boo, or the kind exchange with that person I just plain am not fond of. Kingdom of God things… God’s will being done in the little corners of my life.
And yet I normally don’t see these things in such a meaningful light. I’ve trained myself to look for the Kingdom of God in the big things. You know what I mean by the big things? The miracles and healings, the revivals where many suddenly believe, the ending of wars, the relief from poverty, the transformation of nations. These are the places I tend to look to see where God is working.
When I was in elementary school, I went to a church camp every summer that was run by a missionary denomination. They had a heart for reaching the nations for Jesus, and this certainly came through in the evening services. “Who feels the call to be a missionary? Please come forward if you will go and take the gospel to the nations!” Your’s truly felt ‘the call’ and went forward. I questioned myself the next day. After all, moving to Africa (that IS where all the missionaries go, right?) didn’t sound like such a fun idea. I did, however, want to follow Jesus, and that pledge to take Jesus to the nations sat on a shelf in the back of my mind from then on.
When I was a high schooler, I attended Acquire The Fire every year. “Who wants to be a world changer?”, they asked. I wanted to be a world changer. I wanted to do something big to make an impact on the world, to see revival at my school, to see America turn ‘back’ to God, or to awaken a sleeping Church. I would return from the conference energized, pumped up… only to have the energy slowly drain as ‘normal life’ resumed and no change in said school, the nation, or the Church was ever as dramatic as I hoped.
When I was 20, I helped plant a church. We had all kinds of big, fun dreams for what our little ‘out of the box’ church might look like… how ministry might look different, relevant, authentic, and organic. (Can you tell we planted our church in the midst of all things ‘Emerging’?) We are 8 years in… well, 8 years and 5 months, but who is counting?… and in my mind it was supposed to look bigger, smoother, more ‘successful’, and just cooler than it looks and feels now.
The problem here is that I’ve trained myself to look for the Kingdom of God in the BIG things. What I’ve failed to do is to realize that God’s Kingdom is made up of a billion small things. Let me pause a moment and mull over this phrase – “Kingdom of God”. God’s Kingdom is the dominion over which God reigns… so every way in which we carry out His will in our lives is an expression of His Kingdom coming to earth. So your every act of kindness, justice, generosity, and healing, no matter how small, is a part of the reign of God in your little corner of the world, no matter if you are in Kenya, Haiti, or good old Pennsylvania. Every act of forgiveness and reconciliation and self giving love is His Kingdom coming to your relationships. Every act of repentance, humility, and gratefulness is His Kingdom blossoming in your very heart. Every. Act.
Suddenly, everything is important. Everything is about ‘God’s Kingdom’. Not just the big revivals happening and wars being replaced with peace.
And really, think about it;
No lasting revival just happens one day. It is a million prayers and seeds planted, thousands of acts of faith, and a billion unsexy acts of discipleship.
And no true peace takes place in one foul swoop either. Peace is made up of countless acts reconciliation, justice, forgiveness. It is each individual soldier laying down his weapon and embracing his enemy.
Ultimately, the big looking things and the little things will meld together under the beautiful umbrella of His Kingdom. We will not regret that we didn’t do something ‘bigger’. What we WILL regret is if we miss all the little opportunities to be a part of His Kingdom expanding because we kept waiting for the elusive ‘big thing’.
So may you and I both stay present in the ‘little’. May we live fully engaged in what God is doing right now in our lives, in each moment, knowing it is an important part of something bigger and more wonderful than we can imagine.