If we’re truly honest, we’ll admit that sometimes we think ourselves much more important and powerful than we are. What do I mean by that? Well, we think that if we don’t do it, “it won’t get done.” Or that people act and speak as they do out of a reaction to us personally—in the way that small children will interpret every bad event in the family as somehow being their fault.
Sometimes we Christians act as if God is depending on us to accomplish every part of the divine plan. Now it’s true that God desires and invites our participation. But holy action in the world—what Jesus called the kingdom of God—was happening long before you and I showed up. And it will continue regardless of what we do or don’t do.
The kingdom of God is the ever-present reality. When we participate in that kingdom through our life of faith and our acts of love, we are merely entering the grand drama at our own tiny points of contact.
For instance, I may befriend a person who makes some dramatic changes in her life: she gets help for her depression, finds a better job, approaches romantic relationships more wisely, and gets involved in a local church. Was I part of this conversion process? Through friendship and support, of course I was. Did it all depend on me? Heavens no!
Perhaps I’m the friend in this place and time, but I have no idea who else has played a part in this redemptive story. Maybe my friend is able to change now because of a teacher’s influence back in third grade. Maybe she has a grandmother who has prayed for her every day since she was born. Maybe her better life now was made possible by shifts in circumstances I had nothing to do with.
Yet, it is God’s desire that I embrace whatever role I play right now in this person’s life. I, too, am on that continuum of God’s grace. This means that I can make a difference, but it also means that everything isn’t up to me. Not only that, but when I do fail, the kingdom will keep on going.
I simply lend my gifts to the situation at hand, and in this way I join in the kingdom, which is a community of believers, all doing what God has called and gifted them to do. By doing kingdom work now, I join the company of generations both before and after. How amazing is that!
Make a list of all the “God influences” and “kingdom moments” in your life, from earliest memory until now.
Ask God to show you what your gifts and opportunities are, right here and now, to participate in the kingdom of God.