Your kingdom come
Your will be done
Maybe it’s because of the election. Maybe it’s because our pastor has been teaching on The Lord’s Prayer. Probably it’s the sweet, holy way God’s Spirit swirls thoughts and experiences together in my heart and brain to instruct me and stretch me and change me. But I’ve been thinking about the Kingdom of Heaven and these snippets of Jesus’ model prayer – Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
What does that mean? What is God’s kingdom? What does it mean for His kingdom to come? And what would that look like on earth?
I remember from reading the Gospels that Jesus often said, “The kingdom of Heaven is like . . . ” and then He would tell a story. Chapter 13 of Matthew’s Gospel has several parables about the kingdom of God.
Jesus said the kingdom of God is like a man sowing good seed in a field, then the enemy sows weeds among the wheat. Jesus said the field owner wouldn’t want the servants to pull up the weeds because they might accidentally pull up the good wheat. He advises them to let the weeds and wheat grow together. Eventually, they will all be pulled up and separated at the harvest. In the meantime, what appears to be a weed may actually start bearing fruit.
The kingdom of God is also like a tiny mustard seed. The teensiest, tiniest of seeds. But when it grows, it becomes the largest plant of all.
Then Jesus said the kingdom of God is like yeast. Just an itsy amount mixed into the dough makes the entire loaf rise.
Next Jesus compares His kingdom to a hidden treasure and a hidden pearl. Extremely valuable, worth giving up everything for. But tiny and hidden at first.
The kingdom of heaven is also like a big fishing net, catching all kinds of fish. Good fish. Bad fish. Eventually, just like the weeds, the bad fish will be separated out. But for now, all the fish are in the same net.
Jesus wasn’t describing some trumpet-introducing, flames-blazing, angels-descending, post-apocalyptic sort of kingdom. He was describing the here and now. Before He judges everyone and everything. The tiny seed of New Creation planted in us, growing. The treasure of His love discovered, small and hidden at first. Wheat and weeds, bad fish and good fish mixed together, growing together, waiting for judgment to determine which is which. The seed of the Good News spread on all ground. Starting out in smallness, but growing and growing until it permeates all and outgrows everything else.
This is the kingdom I pray is coming. This is the kingdom I am a part of. Christ’s goodness planted within me. A tiny mustard seed. A sprinkling of yeast. Growing bit by bit. A treasure so precious I’m willing to give up everything else to have it. Bearing fruit and spreading seeds of the Gospel all around me. Trusting God, in the right time, will separate out the weeds from the wheat and the bad fish from the good because I may mistake one for the other.
Choosing the treasure of Him. Choosing faithfulness. Being rooted in Him so I can bear fruit and spread seed. Praying His kingdom comes first within me, like a wee bit of yeast working its way through me to grow me.
One of my favorite songwriters, Sara Groves, sings that God’s kingdom comes when we choose to bless instead of curse, when we choose to trust even though doubt fills our hearts. When we choose to open up and love even though fear threatens to engulf us. When we choose to bless the Lord even though sorrow and grief fill our lives. In the mundaneness of life, when we wake up and try again, when we lay down our desires and die to ourselves, the kingdom comes.
Little by little, bit by bit, when the seed of Christ grows in us, we are building His kingdom. His will is done right here on earth.