While Jesus was living in the Galilean hills, John, called ‘the Baptizer,’ was preaching in the desert country of Judea. His message was simple and austere, like his desert surroundings: ‘Change your life. God’s kingdom is here.’ Matt 3:1 MSG
But be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it’s going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do, don’t go to sleep at the switch. Luke 21: 34-35 MSG
It was 10 days before our daughter’s wedding. I showed up early, so I could be on hand to help with any last-minute details. ‘Everything’s done,’ she said. ‘The reception is all set – the cake is made – the dressmaker’s finished my dress. You don’t need to worry about a thing. Oh, something you could do – we don’t have a photographer yet.’
Ack! Ten days before the wedding, and no photographer? I prayed in earnest as I grabbed the phone, expecting to spend hours, but only a few minutes later I found an excellent photographer. She was puzzled as to why she had that day free, but I knew the answer to that.
Even a simple wedding is made up of small steps of preparation. Venue, food, dress, photographer, registrar or vicar. Small things must be taken care of, so that on the big day, nothing hinders family and friends celebrating together the start of something huge, a brand-new marriage.
Jesus and his followers went through town after town, proclaiming a mammoth new thing – the coming of God’s kingdom. They were sowing it, a tiny mustard seed which would take root and thrive and expand until it filled the earth. ‘Change your hearts,’ they said. ‘You need to get ready. It’s coming.’ In one sense, the kingdom is already here. Those who belong to Christ are part of it. But also, it’s continually coming. It’s expanding and growing. One day, God will shake things up and the kingdom will begin in a new way. People needed to get prepared.
I wonder – what preparations do I still need to make, in order to be ready when God wants to do something big? He may have expansion plans which involve me. Am I plodding along, business as usual, not ready for the kingdom to burst into my closely guarded life? There may be specific things he wants me to change, so that nothing hinders the coming of his kingdom, every day and on That Day.
Prayer (as a couple)
Lord are there some steps we need to take, some small things that need to change to be ready for your kingdom work? Show us what gets in the way of your expansion plans in our lives and marriage.
Prayer (for others)
Lord Jesus, we especially pray for _______ who seems to be living only for the moment. Show us how we can help them develop a ‘kingdom’ mentality.
What makes the Kingdom come is heartfelt compassion: a way of tenderness that knows no frontiers, no labels, no compartmentalizing, and no sectarian divisions. Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging