I was looking in the bathroom mirror one day over 28 years ago when I heard the Lord caution me. “Be careful of kingdom building.”
Those words sounded so loud in my spirit that I remember them to this day. Back then I thought that I knew what He meant, but I didn’t.
When I first came to Toronto in 1994, I was suffering from an emotionally debilitating sense of shame over not having much to show for all our years in ministry. Our church was small and although we had tried the popular methods and labored diligently, nothing seemed to press the magic button that would cause our church to grow.
Then when we returned home, the Holy Spirit came. Within three months of soaking in God’s presence I didn’t care anymore about how big our church grew. Something left me when I became newly filled with His Presence, something I didn’t know was there. It was the need to build my kingdom.
Had anyone asked me back then if I were building my own kingdom, I would have said, “No.” I was strictly against that. I didn’t want a building with our names on it. But I didn’t know until it left how infected I had become with kingdom-building.
Are you infected, too? Let’s take a little quiz to see where our motives lie.
• How far separated are you from the grass roots of your ministry?
• How much of your time is spent planning for expansion and growth?
• How much of your time is spent in loving individuals and being interested in their spiritual progress?
• Is your priority gathering people under your direction and leadership or preparing those around you and releasing them into their own ministries?
• Do you genuinely love the people around you?
• How close are you to Jesus? Do you passionately love Him and spend time with Him?
• How much of your time is spent on things that won’t matter in eternity?
• Are your spouse and children lower than first place on your list of priorities?
• Are you excited and fulfilled with your place in God’s plan right now or are you always looking to the future?
• If you were to die tomorrow, would what you are doing now be important?
Thankfully, we don’t have to hand in our answers right now. We still have time to change.
If you struggle with the issues these questions raised, take another look at what is really important to Jesus. You may be relieved to know that hearing a “well done, good and faithful servant” is more easily accomplished than you thought.
Examine the parables of Jesus concerning the Kingdom of Heaven. They are all about releasing something that’s hidden from the eyes of the world or discovering the precious value of what was lost. That “something” is the life of Jesus in you. If you are truly filled with His Presence, you will “accidentally” release the mystery by loving the people in your life. As they discover the mystery, they release that love to those around them. The fun of it is to so thoroughly infect those you meet that the world changes one person at a time. What if your eternal reward is based on what you’ve released rather than what you’ve accumulated?
In this issue you will read about a pastor who found the courage to drop out of the religious rat race and start building God’s kingdom. Charles Carrin will confront you about seeking comfort in tradition instead of risking all to change course. John Arnott and Duncan Smith will challenge Kingdom spreaders about what Lord is about today.
Maybe this year will be a time to cancel grandiose plans and get back to what is really important to God.
Originally Published January/February 2005 Editor Melinda Fish
Sign up to receive a periodical digest of some of the best content from this magazine.