The kingdom of God is like . . .
What do you think the kingdom of God is like? What do you know about what goes on there? How you think things work there will determine the level of benefits you receive from connection to the kingdom. You may be a Christian, you may know Jesus as savior, but the extent to which you understand who the King is and how He works, effects the flow of benefits to you.
Nine times in the Gospels Jesus uses the phrase, “The kingdom of God is like” and then He tells a story that helps us understand how the kingdom of Jesus operates.
Matthew chapter twenty, verse one through sixteen is a passage you can read in less that a minute, but it contains a precept that will revolutionize your life. It tells the story of someone who went out and hired laborers at different times of the day. Each one he hired agreed to the same amount. The laborers hired later in the day got the same pay as those hired earlier in the day. When it came time to settle up at the end of the day the ones hired earlier in the day were upset when they found out they didn’t get any more than the ones hired later in the day. They thought they should get more because they toiled longer and worked harder. This is a picture of works based living. The opposite of what the Kingdom works on.
However, the Master responded, “Didn’t you agree to work the whole day for this pay? What is it to you if I pay the same to those who came late in the day and worked less. You got what you agreed to and it’s my money, I can do with it what I want.”
Here’s the precept that will change your life: In the kingdom of Jesus it’s not how hard, or even how good you work that matters. Understand this, it’s His kingdom, He’s the king, so He sets the rules, so if you want to be in His kingdom you had better find out what He says about how things are going to operate. And, what He says matters in His kingdom is that you hear His invitation, sense the pulling of the Holy Spirit, and respond.
Look at the last line of the passage, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” In other words, pecking order doesn’t count for squat in His kingdom. This is awesome news for you. If there is no pecking order, it means you cannot earn any level of status or benefit and conversely, you never have to settle for leftovers because someone is better than you. This means there is absolutely nothing you have to do, or can do to receive what His kingdom offers. You don’t have to do anything to earn the King’s favor. Nothing at all. I can hear you saying, “So, what? I’m just stuck doing without?” No. Not at all. The fact is you get it all. You get paid the full amount, you get all the benefits, just like the workers at the end of the day, even when, and especially when, you don’t measure up, because the King already over paid for all your mistakes and disqualifications.
All the money is the Kings. He can do with it what He wants. He loves you so He spent it all on you. He paid for every transgression, abundantly, ten times over. You are not longer disqualified.
The key to receiving is in the second thing Jesus said at the end of the passage, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” The calling is the Holy Spirit drawing you, calling out to you, “Come into relationship with me. Come into my kingdom and do what I want and you will receive the benefits. Hear my voice, listen to my voice, follow my voice, obey my voice and all the benefits are yours.” You see, the kingdom of Jesus is a kingdom of relationship. That’s what the King values, not keeping rules.
“Few are chosen” tells us that the voice of Jesus, goes out to many, calling them into deep relationship with Him, but few respond. Many want fire insurance, but few respond to the Master. Many want in the kingdom, but few ever posses the kingdom.
You see, the kingdom of God is totally built by being in close relationship to the King. That’s it. By being in close relationship to the King you get all the benefits of being in His kingdom.
What all this means is that if you listen the Holy Spirit and obey the drawing of His Spirit in you, then all the benefits of the kingdom are yours. There is nothing you can do to earn them. They come to you as a gift, totally without any merit on your part. It means if you simply fall in love with Him, come close to Him, trust Him and do what He tells you to do, you get it all. In love relationship, there is nothing you do can disqualify you. He wants your love, not your religion, your rules, or your work. He wants you. If He has you, He can give you all He has. Does he have you? All you do is listen, learn, obey, grow, rest and receive. This is a picture of grace based kingdom living.
Talk to Him. Listen to Him. The benefits are beyond your wildest dreams and they all come by grace, as free gifts to you, as you simply fall deeper and deeper in love with the King.
Question: Share with me and my readers how this insight is the same or different than how you were raised or what you church taught. Your insight could change a life. How does this change how you will live this week?