Kingdom Work is an odd phrase

We have been having work done to our home recently. And along the way the lovely fellas doing the work keep asking questions. Position of this, placement of that, is this white or brown. They need to know in order to do their job.

And I have found those questions the oddest bit of all. A number of times they have asked and my mind goes blank. So they describe the surrounding furniture. “Oh you mean …” and we finalise whatever they need to finalise.

I am learning that I don’t see things. I have walked past the same “things” for so many years a lot of the detail has become invisible. And I do not put that down to going mushy of brain. Someone seeing our home for the first time sees things I don’t. Familiarity doesn’t so much breed contempt as selective blindness.

It was a meander of thought brought on by Tuesday’s ChapLynne post:

ChapLynne begins with: “God proclaims through his prophet, Isaiah, “I am screaming like a woman giving birth — so great is my frustration with you. You don’t listen.”

And as father of four, I know what causes that scream (the backs of my hands are scarred forever – I carry them to remind my wife that I also suffered. It’s a man thing – ask any father where those scars come from). I sometimes find I also scream inside …

>>> When someone tells me they have been a Christian since suckling at their mother’s breast (usually it is said with pride in the voice … much as I tell people we have lived in the same home for almost two decades … much as I regard an old jumper my wife yearns to cast into the fires of the recycling plant)

>>> When someone tells me they “could never believe” in God or Jesus or all that stuff (with the same pride as above oddly – they don’t need God – never thinking does God need them – and never considering that looking Love in the eye and going “not for me” would be odd in any other context)

>>> When someone tells me they have given up on church as it was damaging their faith (get the pattern … same sort of pride – I did that for God – me – I did that)

You will have your own examples – and before we move forwards … I know there are many examples of exceptions to my words today. Please feel free to stop here if you prefer. Thank you.

All have a common theme. All are “beliefs” held and maintained with affection and history. And no ability to see the detail. All with selective blindness. And before I think I have “got it” – I am no different. I have my own selective faith blindness. You know that grinding noise some do with their teeth? I hear my God doing that sometimes. When the Batman suit remains firmly in the wardrobe.

And that, it seems to me, is The Compelling Reason for community in Christ, for relationship, for growth, for making disciples, for church, for Love, , , , , , for Everything.

Alone? How is it possible to see the whole magnificence of God’s love … Alone? How is it possible to prevent my familiarity, my entrenched comfort zones, my one – and only – way of being a follower … Alone? Alone with my god I am loved … I am free … to be loved alone … a lonely love … a familiar love … becoming just like my moth-eaten jumper. Comfortable and wholly holy!

Last night I was knee-deep in others’ blogs. Others’ opinions. Others’ styles. Others’ eye for the lord. Your different ways of expressing your own love. The different facets of this same diamond you see and reflect. The different questions you ask and cause me to ponder. The “lighting up” inside me of seeing what I see differently.

Each and every person here walks politely into my house and asks: “where does this go … what colour should that be …. maybe that works better over here …”.

Those verses, chapters, books I walk past each day without seeing. The things I do, hold important, have figured out and no longer question. The faith I have which limits the size of my Love and God’s Love – refreshed daily – audited daily – noticed daily. Causing me to look at God and me anew … afresh.

That the “kaleidoscope of colours” we all are together is bright and beautiful. That the Love we promote, share, post – in so many different ways – is “Kingdom Work”. In each other, for each other, and of each other. Rooted in this eternal pool of Love. Rooted in the fertile soil of God. Little mustard seeds all – sprouting and budding and buddying.

I always find “Kingdom Work” an odd phrase. So often it implies “me” rather than “us” (and on a good day might even stretch to “me and god”). So rarely seeming to mean “we must work together”. And why do I almost never hear the question “Can I work with you, please?”

Why is that? Why do we only occasionally ponder whether our lord is connecting us – here in the blogosphere. I know I do quite a lot. And I have seen others ponder it.

Because my words are influenced by you. My eyes are more focused by you. My ears are sharper because of you. My heart is bigger because of you. My God is massiver because of you. And my confidence in being “me” grows daily. God grows. I grow. It’s a win-win.

Kingdom Work …. ?

I sometimes look at these scribblings pouring forth from inside and think “Is this work?” Because these words are fun. They are a pleasure. And reading your words? I see “good” more and more, seeing goodness in others, seeing love in living … that is enriching. Being a Christian? That is also an increasing pleasure. Increasingly filled with fun. Out-flowing from within.

Is that “work”?

And a verse rattles around my head. I am not good with stuff like that – thankfully BibleGateway is very good:

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30

Thank you for working. For doing this Kingdom Work. Each and every one of you.


12 thoughts on “Kingdom Work is an odd phrase

  1. I’m with you. This doesn’t “feel” like work, and I gain as much from it… vastly more, in fact… than I feel I contribute. It seems a wonderful form of worship, actually. Perhaps this is how all worship is supposed to be… just a joyful sharing!

    • I raise a can of coke to you: here’s to joyful work and a light yoke!

      And having quaffed, I lob my can in the fire and hope those who bear a burden and a heavy cross may join us!

  2. I’m with Little Monk here Paul. I feel I have gained so much more than I’ve contributed but I can only do what I can do. And I’m okay with that. We all have a role to play, and hopefully we all touch each other in our own way. It’s like a huge puzzle and we are all the pieces and when it’s ultimately finished it will spell out I AM. I’d like to see that puzzle from space some day!!

    • Katie, a gift is a gift. There is no but. You have it and you use it so lovingly. Something which went through my head when I was writing this post: we need “Christians” who are so full of life it just bubbles out in fun and laughter and tears and honesty. Always hitting the mark. Always with a slow burn after-effect. We need more Katies. You might feel you could do more, I am confident that our father takes a different view. Dropping pebbles – the ripples are of the lord.

      • Youve helped me immensely to be confident enough to create some ripples. Thank you my friend!
        More Katies? You better talk to my kids before you repeat that one! 😉

  3. It’s so sad that so many see following Jesus as a heavy burden to carry, with long and stern faces, so far from the joy that love in action brings. Without the community of faith and love, these things become mere academic concepts and the Word is relegated to an academic discipline, when in fact it is alive, active and empowering. Your post has really brought this to life this morning, thanks Paul!

    • Don thank you. And yet maybe it has always been this way. Maybe it always will. I am simply glad he brought me to something living, breathing and joyful – supportive, welcoming and nurturing. It has fired my faith. And I have found it is more important to me and my lord than I ever thought it could or would be.

  4. “Those verses, chapters, books I walk past each day without seeing”… God is in the details and I am blessed today by your words to remember that. He is in the spots on the speckled trout, He is in the veins on a grape leaf, He is in the freckles on my nose, and the hairs on your head. He is here, in each and every word we type, share, read, and ponder. I am in awe of His artistry and the way He uses His children to paint sometimes simple, sometimes surreal, sometimes impressionistic, sometimes gilded treasures. All in honor of our Teacher.
    Thank you once again, Paul, for getting inside my head and allowing God’s Word to pierce my heart. Keep painting masterpieces, my friend. 🙂

  5. Reblogged this on ChapLynne's Chat and commented:
    I couldn’t but help reblog this. We must indeed learn to work together, since we are serving One God.
    As a chaplain, I loved this aspect of service. We were ‘forced’ but then ‘blessed’ by working with those who see things differently…and yet are serving God, doing Kingdom Work.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Forced then blessed. How true. Man, that is rolling and rolling around like a pinball machine ball … First time all the sound effects and KAPOWED … and no Batman!! 🙂

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