Today’s Bible readings can be found at this link: Exodus 25:23-40 and Luke 17:20-37.
Luke 17:20-21 Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
If the Kingdom of God is to be found in our midst, what is stopping us from seeing it in other people? Is it their attitude? Their bad habits? Their Facebook posts? Their political views or religious beliefs? Do we see them as foes or friends? Do we accept them as encouragers or enragers? Do we embrace them as real people or envision them as rival opponents? If the Kingdom of God is to be found in our midst, what is stopping us from seeing it in other people?
Perhaps it’s us and not them. Maybe we’ve become too focused on ourselves, opinions, and ideas that we view them as unequal, unsophisticated, or unworthy of our acceptance. Could it be that we see ourselves as completely right and them as totally wrong? Are we so convinced that God’s Kingdom couldn’t be in their hearts, minds, or souls that we’re ready to cast them aside and treat them as imbeciles? Are we so sure that the Kingdom of God resides within ourselves that it couldn’t possibly be found in those so unlike us?
We forget that God’s Kingdom belongs to God, who abides and resides wherever God pleases. We can’t pick and choose whom we think deserves God’s favor, blessing, and influence – that right is God’s alone. When Jesus said to the Pharisees that God’s Kingdom was in the midst of them, He didn’t define it with moral margins, behavioral boundaries, or biased borders. The Kingdom of God, like the presence of the Holy Spirit, goes anywhere and everywhere God pleases.
It is time that we stopped stigmatizing people because of their views, beliefs, and opinions, especially on social media like Facebook. The Kingdom of God even penetrates the Internet and is all over cyber-space. If we define ourselves as Christians then we should be looking for that Kingdom wherever we are – whether in our congregation or community, our workplace or even on the world-wide web.
Point to ponder
Am I looking for God’s Kingdom today? Am I seeing it in other people? Are other people seeing it in me?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, enable us to experience God’s Kingdom wherever we are and whatever we do today. Open our hearts and minds to accept and embrace other folks as Your Kingdom people. Diminish our pride and prejudices; release us from our egos and self-centered ways. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. You can read the church website at www.erinpresbyterian.org.
Today’s image is one of my Celtic drawings called “Spirit of the Celts.” You can view a larger version here: Spirit.