The Kingdom Of Little

Daily Bread 2020 #4

A Thought To Ponder:

When Jesus wants us to understand the “big” elements of faith he often points to little things.  Want to sit in the shade of a sprawling tree?  Plant a mustard seed.  Ever wonder whose bank account allows them to be the biggest philanthropist?  Take a look at this widow and her two pennies.  Want to know who of all the humans strikes the most imposing figure and walks powerfully around the globe?  Meet these small children.

It sounds crazy to most.  Maybe He was being facetious and we shouldn’t take Him so literally.  But, pause for a moment and consider the power and beauty that’s been imbued in the small.  After decades of marriage, it’s the little things that mean the most.  A card here.  A comment there.  A cleaned up kitchen that wasn’t asked for.  We don’t have to go any further than holding a tiny infant to know the Herculean tug they hold on our hearts.  In a world that says “bigger is better,” Christ whispers “have you ever considered trying smaller?” 

Allison Pataki in her book, Beauty in the Broken Places, tells a beautiful, true story.  A few years ago, on the morning before she and her husband were to board a flight to Hawaii for a vacation, her husband made a simple decision. He decided not to take a run that morning. It was a small and insignificant decision. Yet that decision, made by a husband who’d been immobile for many days because he’d been writing papers required by his medical residency, may have been deadly. Had he run, he may have avoided the formation of a clot which eventually went into his brain when he and Allison were 30,000 feet in the air in the airplane and which led to a massive stroke and which permanently altered his life and hers. Allison looks at that one decision not to run and wonders if Dave had run, would things have turned out differently? Suddenly that insignificant decision seems like a life-changing decision.

God is asking us to give a little to gain a lot.

Give a little faith, a little trust, a little patience, a little time, a little love,

The pains and hurts and trials of this world seem huge and insurmountable.  To God these are the small things.  Your heaviest burdens don’t weigh anything to God.  And so He says “give me your loaves and fishes and we will feast.  Give me your mustard seed and I’ll show you a forest of peace and serenity.  Put in your two pennies and I’ll pay the note.”

That’s the weight of that small phrase in Jesus’ short prayer.  “Thy Kingdom Come.”  Such a tiny request that would bring about cataclysmic changes to our hearts, our lives, and our world.

Questions To Discuss:

1.  When you have to make a big, possibly life-changing decision how do you go about it?  Who do you talk?  Do you make a list of pro’s and con’s?  Do you consult professionals?  Do you pray?

2.  Think back on some of the biggest decisions of your life.  How old were you when you made them?  Who influenced you to make them?

3.  They say hindsight is 20/20.  What are some decisions you made that you really regret?  Can you remember how or why or what lead you to make a poor decision?  What would you change about your thinking or your process of making that decision?

4.  Jeff talked about some of the Kingdoms we serve.  Can you think of some people or institutions that have authority over you?  How do “bow down” or serve in those Kingdoms?  What are the people or kingdoms you wish had less influence over you?

5.  How has the Kingdom of God already come?  Where and how do you see His will being done in this world?  Where are the places or situations that you wish God would rule over?

[Remember that God can and does have absolute authority, but He allows men and women to choose whether or not to serve Him.   It’s important to understand why some people and places/institutions have not surrendered their authority to God.]

Scripture To Read:

Psalm 47

Clap your hands, all you nations;

    shout to God with cries of joy.

 For the Lord Most High is awesome,

    the great King over all the earth.

 He subdued nations under us,

    peoples under our feet.

 He chose our inheritance for us,

    the pride of Jacob, whom he loved.

 God has ascended amid shouts of joy,

    the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.

Sing praises to God, sing praises;

    sing praises to our King, sing praises.

For God is the King of all the earth;

    sing to him a psalm of praise.

God reigns over the nations;

    God is seated on his holy throne.                      

The nobles of the nations assemble

    as the people of the God of Abraham,

for the kings of the earth belong to God;

    he is greatly exalted.

A Prayer For Change:

Lord, all we want is for you to rule

Be King over our whole life

Take charge of our thoughts

Keep guard over our hearts

Change this world down below

To look like yours above

As we step down from the throne

Find your rightful seat, God

Use as your instruments to make right

This world that has gone so wrong

Let us do this with love and not violence

Trust in you and not in our own power

And with the constant reminder that each of us

All of us

Once were your enemy

Draw all of us back to you

And give us a seat around your table.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

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