The kingdom of God on earth — it took me a while to believe in this, and even longer to become an active participant. The good news is that I now have an unshakable belief in the kingdom of God on earth.
Compassion has played a key role in both my belief and participation.
My belief began when a kingdom seed was planted in my heart. I’m not exactly sure when it was planted. Probably not as a child in a church, for at a young age I didn’t go to church.
Church was for families who could afford the clothes to wear. Church was for families that were functional, families whose mothers weren’t bipolar and whose fathers had a job and didn’t drink too much.
Church families warned their children about me, telling them, “We don’t want you to associate with kids from families like his.”
The kingdom seed and I started yearning for a better life. The seed took root, and I worked hard to nourish it.
I believed, and this belief allowed me to become the first in my family’s history to graduate from college, work in an office, and even wear a tie. Steadily but surely, the seed grew into a good-sized tree. But it wasn’t yet the magnificent tree of life.
One root grew much deeper, creating in me a gnawing sense that there is a much better way: the way that leads to the cross, God’s Paschal Mystery — the process of dying and rising, death and new life.
Gradually, I could see fruits of the tree of life all around me — in God’s creation, in Jesus, and in people’s lives.
Tasting these fruits, why seek any other? Why be distracted by counterfeits? I now want nothing more than to be guided by the Holy Spirit in active participation in the building of the kingdom of God on earth.
On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. —Revelation 22:2–3a, NIV
Prayer: Gracious God, move us to compassion, from the need to be right to the place of doing right. Let the love that is at the foundation of creation spread out like roots, bringing life, healing, and wholeness to places cracked and broken.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brian Houghtaling is an Enterprise Architecture Director at the Global Ministry Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Read all the One in Spirit devotionals.