Saturday, April 14, 2007

the goal of the kingdom

We're to live with the goal of the kingdom in mind. The kingdom of God come in Jesus has the goal of new creation, what Tom Wright has called "the new creation project". This project is to be carried on by all of us in Jesus, together and in our individual lives. It concerns everything, little and big. Some will be Pauls and Priscillas in their work. Others will serve behind the scenes, doing work that needs done. And all of us will be endeavoring to do so to the glory of God.

It's important to keep our eyes on the goal of the kingdom. This will help us keep things in good perspective. What matters in the end is to work towards what inevitably is to come in Jesus: the new creation and the kingdom of God which begin now, and are to be "consummated" when Christ returns. The smaller issues and lesser problems are also then put in their place. And the vision God can be giving us can become redemptive towards those troubling areas or problems in our lives.

I know this suffers from being overly general. Specifics are encouraged in whatever you might like to share here.


Llama Momma said...

This goal -- living with the kingdom in mind -- is a good one, but difficult to achieve. I find myself wishing I was someone I'm not. Like a missionary in Chad or a bible translator or an inner-city tutor in the public school. Then, I think, then it would be so much easier to live with this eternal perspective.

But I'm just a stay-at-home Mom in the suberbs. What does this mean for me, this living with the kingdom in mind? It's hard to get my head around, and even harder to actually DO.

(And, yes, I'm struggling with wanting to DO more...DO something...besides change diapers and run carpool and clean house!!)

Ted Gossard said...

Llama Momma, Thanks for sharing that.

The greatest movers and shakers in the kingdom work can be those who are "just" mothers.

Susanah Wesley was surely well gifted beyond what women took on in those days. But look at the work she did in raising that family out of which came John and Charles Wesley.

And to be a faithful mother is to be for all of us an example of what it means to follow the one who faithfully lived in obscurity most of his life. But in doing so, glorified God and surely did much more than meets the eye either at that time or now.

But to try to keep the goal of the kingdom of God in Jesus in mind and in view, for me is helpful when I'm facing challenging or troubling or even seeming menial times.

DOING what you DO faithfully, with a look towards that goal will surely go a long way. And so true for all of us.

Llama Momma said...

Thanks, Ted. I know what I'm doing is important, but it's so hard to keep that perspective. Unloading the dishwasher, folding laundry, making supper, organizing crafts -- it doesn't feel important or even productive most days. And it certainly doesn't feeel like kingdom work.

But you're right -- modeling Jesus for these 3 boys; giving them a secure foundation -- emotionally, physically, spiritually -- is no small thing.

Some days, I *know* this deep down and my work feels significant, but I easily lose track of the bigger picture and long for the validation a *real* job gives me!! And you can probably guess what kind of day today is... :-)

Anonymous said...

If we just keep the kingdom in mind and wait for Jesus to come, I doubt that we will get there.

Odysseus said...

To me, the key is to look at the life of Jesus and follow as best we can in the generals we see in his specifics. That is, when he fed the 5,000 with the miracle of the loaves and fishes; the principal is that we are to be concerned with feeding the hungry. When Jesus healed the woman with the issue of blood, tells me two things; 1) to be concerned with giving aid to the sick (whether that is visiting them or helping with organizations like ONE that have the goal of providing medicine for them) and 2) to be approachable. I know a lot of people 'in the ministry' who the average person (let alone children) could ever get close enough to touch. Jesus was very approachable and had floods of people following him all the time.

I think we could look at the statement from Jesus in Matthew 25 and it would show us a lot: hungry, thirsty, a stranger or naked or sick or in prison (31-46). All of us can help in these situations, can't we? Don't we see people in those situations every day? Not only are we to do 'good works' on an individual and communal level, but also we should be working on a public, national, and global level to change the laws to help prevent those types of situations taking place. Certainly we can be more involved with our local governments, etc. If our churches do not have food pantries or work with local food networks, perhaps we could start one? If we don't have a system set up for taking care of the 'least of these', perhaps we could talk with our church leaders about organizing them.

Honestly, I think the issue is our laziness; our lack of motivation. We all KNOW that things like that should change but yet we do NOTHING about them. Why is that? Is it a cultural thing? Is it a generational thing? Is it that we are bombarded every moment of every day about how 'bad' things are that we are 'afraid' of helping our fellow humans? I'm not sure why we don't yearn to do more, but, for me, I am almost at the breaking point. I almost can't live with myself. I see so much that I don't do and the guilt is almost more than I can bare.

So, I think that there are plenty of ways we can help implement the New Creation. I also know that there are plenty that we haven't even thought about yet. My prayer is that we will be overwhelmed by the Spirit of God that she will give birth to this within us.

Peace be with you.


Ted Gossard said...

Llama Momma, This also reminds me of Brother Lawrence and his "Practicing the Presence of God". He learned to glorify God in all he did including cleaning the pots and pans. But that didn't come overnight. As I get older I'm learning better to take a kind of delight in what doesn't look at all like "kingdom work" as we conceive it but believing that somehow in God all that I do out of love and obedience to him is received by him as such, and is made that way by his grace for his glory.

And I have those "days" too, as you mention it. :)

Ted Gossard said...

Ron, I agree! And that would be a major point in what Tom Wright is speaking of when he refers to us working on the new creation project in the here and now. The kingdom as a goal is not only keeping it in mind but doing so to seek to live with that in view, in Jesus bringing that world into this world so as to impact and bring change into this world.


Ted Gossard said...

OD, Thanks for the practical, down to earth thoughts!

To be heavenly minded in God's Book is to be of earthly good. That's the only reason God's kingdom in Jesus has come. To effect the redemption of creation/humans in this present existence. A faith that works with acts of love. God help us all!

Ted Gossard said...

...the heavenly minded unto earthly good thought came from N.T. Wright's "Simply Christian". I know a majority of what I say came from others, but usually forget from whence they came.