I am at my normal pre-dawn perch and the cacophony has begun. Chirping birds telling the world to wake up. Morning and Spring are here! Prepare for the new day! Prepare for the new season!
I think about this house—how one bird has flown north a few miles and is living in her own nest. One bird flies south a few miles to do his work of the day. One bird is still in bed. And the CPA bird has been in his home office since 3 AM, head-down in tax returns due in two weeks.
There’s that peachy-orange swath again, blanketing horizon, announcing softly . . . .
“Prepare yourself. The sun is coming shortly.”
Preparation. Here on the farm? Birds prepare nests. Young adults prepare to launch their own lives. Husbands prepare tax returns. Wife, mother, friend, daughter, sister? Well, I prepare a lot in a day’s work but I start by preparing my heart for the day. I bathe in holy words in the Holy Bible coming straight from our holy God. And today?
Post-Easter, I ponder how the Son was about to rise—how all the signs written centuries ago that everyone knew were in place as surely as the sun rises each day. And yet they missed it. They missed Him. Their eyes were not prepared to accept who was right in front of their faces. Or was it not about their eyes?
Eyes won’t see what the heart rejects.
Jesus says He’s coming back. All the signs are right here in His word written centuries ago. And yet, do we see how the stage is being set? Each piece is being positioned exactly as He said it would. He’s coming back soon, He says. Problem is, we define “soon” differently than He. So we ignore the signs.
This is how history repeats itself.
We’re told to be ready. To GET ready. To start the work He will come to complete, now. We’re supposed to be about His kingdom coming NOW. That’s what we’re here for—preparing our hearts, preparing the world, preparing the way for the return of Christ. That’s why we follow a risen Savior.
What are we doing today to prepare? Why do we pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven?” Do we think it’s HIS business to prepare, not ours?
No. It’s not just His business. He has called us to collaborate with Him. We get to collaborate with the God of the universe every single day! As the sun rises today and everyday here on this spinning sphere, we are to rise with it and do His commissioned work of the day in bringing God’s kingdom to earth—today—in whatever small or huge way we’re called. DO His word. Don’t just HEAR His word. (James 1:22)
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go out and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-19
This is not just the work of pastors and elders. This is OUR work. And how do we do it? How do we make disciples—people who follow Christ and have their lives conformed to His Kingdom ways—His kingdom coming? How do we prepare people for God’s coming Kingdom that is budding already—on the brink of full blossom with Christ’s return?
I have to start with my own heart. Every—single—day. I have to bring my heart back to Him through His word. Because the heart wanders. It wanders and flies away, pursuing its own desires which are so often not Kingdom values. I need God’s word to wash me new every—single—day—to scrub the crusty hardness and rinse the filmy residue. I need God’s word to show me—in plain black & white—what my business of the day must be. And God’s business is perfectly plain. Jesus said it . . .
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love you neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
And once I’ve got my heart and soul and mind right with God, I can go out and do kingdom work. And what’s that?
It’s not complicated but it does require laying down my life—my self-centeredness.
God’s Kingdom work here on earth is to treat others the way I want to be treated—or the way I would WANT to be treated if I WERE them. God’s Word is sprinkled throughout with specifics . . . .
We are to forgive. We are to love. We are to love and pursue righteousness, justice, mercy. We are to care for the oppressed and the helpless. We are to be good stewards of everything He has given us—which is everything. We are not owners of anything. Everything is His to be used for His Kingdom coming—to expand His Kingdom on Earth—now—today.
There it is—again. The sun has risen and the birds are flying, eating, gathering, chirping out the voice given to them, announcing life and beauty, preparing to bring forth new life and beauty.
God’s announcing it too—practically shouting it out with joy to each of us in His creation every—single—day. Are we listening? Are we following? Will He find us engaged in His Kingdom work when He suddenly pops on the earth’s scene again?
Will He find us alive or dead? Budding? Blossoming? Building Kingdom nests and nurturing all life along?
It’s now 7:37 AM. The sun has arrived and has risen high and is warming, preparing all under its gaze for new life—a new day.
And a newly risen Nick just arrived and announced, “I am alive.”
Oh Lord, breath of life—breathe into me and through me, this day, Your True Life. Thy Kingdom come, more and more, this day.