“for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 14:17
It sits outside my office window: a cheerful yellow bird feeder. After casually but gladly receiving it last December at a “White Elephant” gift exchange, I filled it, hung it, and welcomed birds to come partake. One by one they’ve stopped by, inserting pointed beaks through wire mesh and retrieving tiny morsels of food. They take. They eat. They flutter off.
Fast forward to 2013: a dearly loved friend shared that her precious mother was diagnosed with three tumors on her brain. Instantly life changed for their entire family. And my re-gifted bird feeder suddenly metamorphosed into much more … because it used to belong to my friend’s beloved mother, who had contributed it to our lighthearted Christmas gift exchange.
Lovingly, diligently, tenderly my friend provides care for her mom and dad. Despite glaring evidence of life’s fragility, she, her husband, and their children continually live and love well. Their devoted love for her parents illuminates others. Its very existence exposes God’s kingdom in their hearts. Its fluid movement radiates Christ’s beauty.
As for my bird feeder, it now primarily reminds me to pray for my dear friend’s mother, who bravely battles cancer. Just as God’s delicate birds find sustenance from the feeder’s supply, so am I nourished by her reflection of Christ. Notwithstanding sufferings and sorrows, God’s peace softens her eyes and smoothes her face. His joy curves her smile. Why? Christ’s righteousness completely clothes her. She belongs to Him. Just as “…ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness” (Romans 4:3), she has believed as well. I praise God for her solid testimony, and I pray for her with love.
Presently God’s kingdom isn’t external–it’s the presence of God’s will working within. In my friend. In her mother. In you … and me. As Christ reigns in our hearts and achieves victories over hidden and known sins, we’ll increasingly exhibit His “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Please pray with me: “Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10).