In And Around The Kingdom
God’s kingdom is his precious gift to us, and it should be in our hearts and minds. God’s kingdom begins where his presence is, and his presence is in everything he created. What happens though, when we don’t recognize and respond to God’s presence? We then miss out on what the gift of the kingdom can show us.
My daughter introduced me to a grocery store where things are discounted; you have to bag your own groceries and load them in your car yourself. You get great prices and a good selection, and it is always a busy place. When you first arrive, you get a cart that is chained to other carts and can be removed by inserting a quarter. But what you encounter each time is that someone is always returning a cart when you are ready to get yours. You get your quarter back when you return the cart and chain it back. What I find interesting is that every time I have been there, someone who is returning a cart will push it my way. I then offer a quarter to them. Sometimes they take it and sometimes they just tell me to keep the quarter. And then I do the same when I’m leaving. Conversation is made sometimes, but not always. Everyone just goes about the next part of their mission for being there. This makes me aware of the presence of God’s kingdom because of the process you can have of being helpful and kind to one another. It would be just as easy to ignore others and go about your business, but you may miss an important God moment.
Each day we look for hope. We hope for good health, world peace, prayers answered and maybe just a way to see God in others. Sometimes our hopes are dashed when the day doesn’t go well or we are treated with hurt. But without hope, we can find ourselves in a dark place. Hope is the center of the Christian message. It is always there beckoning when all may seem lost. If we open the “eyes of our hearts,” we will know the promise of hope that is one of Christ’s greatest gifts. By offering the gift of hope through the gesture made at this grocery store, we can be building the kingdom of God.
We are the messengers of God to one another. Our witness can have more of an impact than we think. Our words and actions, especially when shared with those we may not even know, can plant seeds of the gospel in people’s hearts. When we do things for others in a spirit of self-giving generosity, it can stay in people’s memories. We may think something like the cart exchange at the grocery store is insignificant, but God could be using you to help people see him and know him.
We are always in a position of service in some way. As Lent winds down, maybe we should take a look at how good we have been in serving others. I certainly have found this small gesture of cart sharing can show service to others. It takes the focus off ourselves and teaches us not to be absorbed only in our needs. It shows kindness to others, which can be contagious. If you have difficulty in showing service to others, ask the Holy Spirit to help you. The spirit can soften your heart a little and help you find ways to care for others through service.
And all service will help God’s kingdom to grow.“Lord, may I take time to be with you every day for some moments of quiet prayer. In doing this, my awareness of your kingdom will be clear and I can reflect on what I can do for others through service, kindness and love. Help me to always be a faithful member of your kingdom.”