Did you know it matters how we view our kingdom citizenship? Did you know other people are watching?
I want to share an experience I had a few weeks ago to make a point here. As you probably know, many church leaders are opponents of the state lottery. I think one reason for this is because ministers see the back side of gambling after it has destroyed marriages, families and businesses. I personally don’t play the lottery because I think the belief we can leave funding for our children’s education to chance cheapens its importance. But that’s a topic for another time. Late one Sunday afternoon I had been exercising and stopped by a 7-11 for a drink. I didn’t look much like a preacher. I was sweaty, was wearing old exercise clothes and smelled…a lot. While I was standing in line a man in front of me turned around with a grin and said something I didn’t understand. I asked him to repeat himself and he said, “The Preacher-man is playing the lottery!” Sure enough, I looked over the counter at the lotto machine and there was an older minister there with a clergy collar on, putting money in the lotto machine. I will have to admit, it was funny seeing someone who represented a group that often opposes the lotto latched onto a lotto machine on a Sunday after church. On the way out of the store the guy in front of me was still laughing, so I told him I was a preacher and I thought it was kind of funny too. He started laughing harder and said, “That makes it twice as funny!”
I thought about why it matters that we are kingdom citizens, and how we can bring the Lord glory through our lives. Then I realized there are different ways to approach our commitment to Jesus. Permit me to share them here:
Some people see the Lord’s kingdom as a membership. We have lots of memberships in our lives. We can be a member of boy scouts, girl scouts, a fitness club, a civic club, a credit union or a travel club. Most memberships come with a monthly or yearly fee. I am a member of AAA, and for the life of me, with the cars I drove when our children were growing up, I don’t know how AAA is still in business. A membership mentality of God’s kingdom creates the delusion we are in control of the kingdom. We come with expectations of God, and when things don’t turn out the way we planned we threaten to cancel our membership.
Some people see the Lord’s kingdom as a state fair. We pay our entry fee, ride a few rides, eat some cotton candy, and watch a few shows. In this sense, the kingdom is something we turn to when we need to feel good about life. But when the fun ends and God challenges us to make changes in our lives that are difficult, we leave the fairgrounds to look for another place to get our rush.
Finally, some people see the Lord’s kingdom as their residence. It is where we live. It is where we will die, and in the case of the Lord’s kingdom, be raised back to life. In my kingdom home, God is my Father, and Jesus is my Elder Brother who died for me. I have many brothers and sisters to whom I am accountable, who need my care. I am always home. I might leave my house in the morning, but I am always a member of the household of faith. In Ephesians 2:19, the Apostle Paul writes, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.”
One of the biggest misperceptions of the kingdom of God is that the only place we do kingdom work is when we are serving our church. Don’t get me wrong. I believe in serving the Lord’s body. In fact, I have given my whole life to leading the church. But this is just one kind of kingdom work. Did you know when you enter the doors of your company or business on Monday morning you are taking the kingdom of God with you? You are as much at home in your cubicle or your corner office as you are in your chair in worship. You are a citizen of the kingdom.
It doesn’t matter whether we are at work, in our neighborhood, or a thousand miles away on vacation. We are always at home as members of the household of God. If we view our citizenship in the kingdom of God as a membership, we aren’t going to let God take the lead because we are going to think we are in control. If we view it as a state fair, we are going to ignore some of God’s greatest challenges when life gets hard. But if we know we are always at home, we are going to ask God to help us build His kingdom on earth.
This is why it matters that Jesus is our conquering King of Kings: To follow Him is to be a part of His kingdom, and to be a part of His kingdom means we are unleashed citizens tearing down strongholds of Satan and expanding His kingdom on earth. We are a part of His conquest!