“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms.”
This first sentence goes right over our heads most of the time because we cannot fathom the meaning of the kingdom. Then it goes right out the window when we read what comes next, where Jesus asks us to sell our possessions, and give alms. That’s what grabs us. I wonder, why is that? Jesus shares with us the promise of God to give us the kingdom and we get hung up on our stuff, our ownership of earthly accumulations, or our fears.
We can’t seem to fathom the meaning, the vastness, and riches of the Kingdom of God. It is larger than anything we can wrap our earthly minds around. God giving us the kingdom is the promise of God’s good pleasure in us, which reinforces to us our identity as a beloved child of God. It is God who gives us self-worth, not the things we own, or the degrees we have earned, or the status we attain, and it is given to us by God because God loves us, and wants us to put our trust in him. God wants a trusting relationship with each of us to be a reality that flows over into all of our relationships.
So, it boils down to one thing – TRUST in God. We say we have put our trust in God, but have we really? So much of our lives are filled by demands, like the demand to accumulate more and more so we can have financial security. Or the demands of our work to prove our worth every day. Or the demands we lay on ourselves worrying about so many things because we have been convinced that we are at risk because of these things. Being constantly bombarded day in and day out with demands, it becomes hard to TRUST God’s promises and give up our worries and concerns so we can give ourselves more generously to others.
So the question for us today is not really about us gaining some form of self-actualization to improve ourselves, but how can we trust God enough to give ourselves away in relationship and service to others. God wants to give us a deeper sense of self, which only comes by trusting God. This sense of self is more than we can imagine. And, it is all a matter of completely putting total trust in God.
We are born to live in community, and it is only by trusting God and giving ourselves away in loving service to others that we begin to understand our meaning and purpose as a child of God. The Kingdom of God becomes ours, simply by trusting God and giving God’s love to others. As we trust in God’s promises and we give ourselves away in love to others, the Kingdom of God is ours.
Try this little exercise with another Christian friend or family member. Take a blank piece of paper, and on one side write, “God wants to give me all good things.” Then on the other side write down a fear or worry that you carry around with you all the time. It might be about not having enough money to cover your family’s needs, or about your work environment, your family relationships, your health, the health of someone else, or anything about which you are always concerned. Give your note to a friend or loved one and ask them to pray for you. Ask your friend or loved one to do the same, and you pray for their fears or concerns. All of God’s children have that same promise. God wants to give you the kingdom. Can you believe it? Can you trust God to give you the kingdom?
- When have you come to an impasse with something and you turned loose of it and put your trust in God?
- What have you discovered about trusting God with things you can’t handle yourself?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.