Life as Citizens of the Kingdom of God

Square "PLAY" button with reflection (blue)Thoughts on Luke 12:32-40

“But among us you will find uneducated persons, sons, artisans, and old women, who, if they are unable in words to prove the benefit of our doctrine, yet by their deeds exhibit the benefit arising from their persuasion of the truth: they do not rehearse speeches but exhibit good works; when struck, they do not strike again, when robbed, they do not go to law, they give to those who ask of them, and love their neighbors as themselves.” Athenagoras – 2nd Century Apologist.

Like a compassion father, a tender shepherd, sympathetic friend, Jesus resolves in Luke 12:32, “Fear not, little flock. It is in your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. Hear those words echo throughout time. Fear not, little ones, the Kingdom is yours. Powerful words. Intriguing thought.

I would be willing to bet that this verse goes unnoticed a lot of the time when people come to this section of Luke. There are a lot of really good one-liners that can be extracted from this passage and made to say a lot of different and sometimes non-helpful statements that the original author may have never intended. I think it might be simply skipped over because its sandwiched in between some powerful statements like in v.31 “Seek first the kingdom of the God and all these things shall be added to you,” and then v34 “For where your treasure is your heart will be also.” And then pure inertia takes us into some rather ominous statements about a master coming home, a thief, and the hour that the Son of Man’s is coming. We have all heard these statements at one time or another. I’m positive that these statements have been raised out of their context at least once or twice during alter calls at camp meetings and rallies. Fight the inertia and try to see what this passage says about the Kingdom of God.

If it is in the Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom, shouldn’t we first ask what is the Kingdom? Or at least how does it differ from the kingdom we current have? And is it even worth having? In back to back versus, Jesus tells us about the Kingdom. He says seek first the Kingdom V31 and then he says that the Father is going to give us the Kingdom V32. What follows after are illustrations to help us understand Kingdom and perhaps how to be faithful citizens of his Kingdom.

The economy of the Kingdom of God is different than the culture we live in. We get a glimpse of the citizens of the Kingdom of God in V33&34. They faithfully sell what they have and give to the poor. These people are different; they are not marked with pride, judgment, carelessness, insults or lies. Instead, they are marked with love, gratitude, encouragement, truth, the admonition of faults and the celebration of joys. They are generous and give to the poor, the needy, and the down trodden, not because they have to, but because their hearts have been set on seeking the Kingdom. They treasure the same things that the King treasures; by doing so their most precious treasures are redefined by the King. This is made possible because these citizens know that the King will provide and keep them secure. Can you see and feel the freedom that the citizens of the Kingdom of God have to be more loving and more generous as they set about faithfully completing the work of the Kingdom?

So, “Fear not, little flock, it is in your Father’s pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” The Kingdom of God calls us to a higher way of living. A life where the mind and heart are so set on seeking the Kingdom that we can faithfully go about the work of the Kingdom all the while being keenly aware and prepared for the second coming of Christ. As citizens we are to be poor in spirit, mourn, be meek and merciful, peacemakers, hunger and thirst for truth and righteousness, and joyfully suffer through persecution and insult for those things we know are right. As citizens of the Kingdom of God we must live our lives radically faithful to the call of Christ. Loving the things that he loves; with as much compassion as we can muster laced with love that transcends divisions between us and our neighbor. Be reminded that, yes, the Kingdom is worth having because there is freedom in being servants to the Master-King. We can live lives in a rhythm that weaves together rest and work and worship and play and fellowship and sacrifice and feasting and fasting all because the Kingdom is ours to do so; as we faithfully serve and alertly await the long anticipated return of the King.

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