I think I’m addicted to the kingdom, but I come by it honestly. When I was a kid, everything was about the kingdom of God. Please don’t misunderstand. My parents didn’t make me go to church every time the doors were opened, and except for a little memory verse box on our kitchen table, I don’t remember a bunch of Christian pictures, symbols or nick-knacks around the house.
But the kingdom was at the center of everything. We talked about kingdom people, cared for people who weren’t in the kingdom, and offered our very best to the kingdom. When we were on vacation, we always attended worship with God’s people, and when I was sick on Sunday and couldn’t go to church we had a communion service at home.
Jane and I were married on Saturday, June 13, and on Sunday morning we attended worship at a church we had never visited in a small river town in Kentucky. That night, on our way to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, we stopped at a little country church near a highway exit. The country church had a guest speaker and it was a little weird, but we enjoyed being with the Lord’s people.
After our children were born, we carried on the Jones tradition, locating churches in communities where we vacationed, from Marathon Key to Niagara Falls. Some of the traditions we encountered were unique, and even entertaining, but we were always treated with love. Our children were appreciated by their Sunday School teachers, and sometimes even received a card in the mail thanking them for their visit.
Things didn’t change when our children moved on with their lives. When we were in Athens, Greece on a special vacation, we found a small orthodox church in the middle of an old neighborhood. The priest arrived late, the members trickled in even later, and we didn’t understand a word that was spoken. But people smiled and did their best to show us where to sit and how to participate. One lady offered a kind farewell when we left.
I don’t believe my whole life needs to be wrapped up in religious practice, and no one else puts pressure on me to make the kingdom a priority. I don’t even see it that way. I just can’t get enough. I love the diversity of the kingdom, the different ways we worship, serve and learn, and the transformation I see in people’s lives because of the gospel of Jesus. I also love hearing about what kingdom people are doing in their workplaces, neighborhoods and communities.
Every Monday morning the church everywhere launches a kingdom invasion! Kingdom surgeons enter operating rooms, kingdom teachers welcome their students, kingdom engineers solve problems, kingdom law officers keep the peace, kingdom clerks stock shelves, and kingdom military personnel preserve our freedom. There are kingdom coaches, kingdom bankers, kingdom mechanics, and kingdom pilots. The list goes on and on. And it just adds to my addiction! God is always doing something through His people, and He has invited us to join Him on the front lines.
Loving the kingdom doesn’t make me more spiritual. It won’t get me to heaven any quicker. And I admit, I have to make sure I don’t become one-dimensional and intentionally try to absorb as much information about the world as possible so I don’t become irrelevant.
Remember, this is just a confession. I am addicted. I hope you understand.