I love downtown Detroit. I love the architecture, the vibe, the sights and sounds…there is something energizing about all of it. It’s like the city looks you in the face and dares you to jump in and see if you can swim. It’s terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time. For some, the city is a world of possibilities and yet for many others it is a graveyard of broken dreams. Crazy how perspective works isn’t it? My son Luca loves the city too. As a two year old you can imagine that the constant barrage on the senses that comes with an urban environment is like Christmas morning to a two year old. Everything is new, fresh, and exciting!
When we drive into the city Luca will look out the windows and at the first glimpse of the Detroit skyline he will start saying “look daddy, castles”! At first I wanted to correct him. At first my “fatherly instinct” was to try and help him understand that they aren't actually castles they are just really big buildings. I stopped myself though. I mean, if your two year old son wants to live in a world where sky scrapers are castles then why not let him, right? He will have plenty of time to distinguish the difference between imagination and reality. He will have a life full of correction and redirection to deal with…so today let’s just call them castles!
One of the many benefits to having children is that as a pastor, they often make for wonderful sermon (or in this case blog) illustrations. The more I live life as a father, the more I’m convinced that if we will pay attention, God uses our children to teach us so much about Himself and how we are to love others! This is not to say that if you don’t have children you don't understand these things, just that children can provide a great visual.
The other day God showed me that my son was seeing something I wasn’t. Where I like so many others am guilty of looking at Detroit (or any other city) and seeing huge buildings that serve as monuments to man’s ingenuity and his determination to touch Heaven by his own means…my son was seeing a kingdom.
My mind immediately was drawn to a verse that has been very important to me and framed much of my journey with Jesus:
Matthew 6:33 “33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (NIV)
Such an inspiring verse that serves as the powerful punctuation to Jesus teaching on worry. The word “kingdom” in this text doesn’t refer to a physical kingdom. For us, Hollywood and T.V. frame our perspective of what a “kingdom” should be. We picture something out of a movie or TV show. But, this text literally refers to “His kingdom” as God’s right to rule, and place where His authority is firmly established.
IN OTHER WORDS: It tells us that the “kingdom of God” exists wherever God’s right to rule has been established. This is in our own lives, our communities, our work environments, our schools, ANYWHERE. The kingdom of God is not bound by physical restraints because it doesn’t follow the rules of our physical world. Crazy right?! I know. Where I saw man’s hands at work my son’s innocence provided a glimpse of the potential infrastructure of God’s government. (yes…I am that dramatic).
I wonder how often we make this mistake in our own lives. We look with such mature “grown-up ness” at our jobs, our marriages, our friendships, our businesses, and other areas of our lives and we see “natural” where God intended for us to see “super”. We see man-made limits where God wants us to see divine limitless potential. We see remnants of former glory where God sees the infrastructure to support the advancement of His kingdom.
We observe Jesus reference the benefits of “child like faith”. How the kingdom of God is an environment in which the innocence of a “child like” trust in our Heavenly Father can often be the qualification for a promotion. Perhaps God is calling all of us back to a more simple perspective on life. A more faith filled, God believing outlook that sees the castles of a kingdom where others see a painfully routine existence. Perhaps your potential breakthrough is sitting just on the other side of your ability to stop taking yourself so seriously.
I challenge you! Take a look at your life, your relationships, and your outlook. Ask God to show you the areas where you need to stop seeing what T.V. and Hollywood tell you life should like and start seeing with the eyes of a child of God. Ask God to show you the kingdom potential that exists in every area of your life.
If we can humble ourselves enough to take the posture of a child in the presence of God, if we can allow the truth of Jesus’ words about a kingdom that exceeds our natural ability to perceive…then the next time we look up on a cloudy day, we just might see castles in the sky. We just might catch a glimpse of the vastness of God’s kingdom and the potential sitting within each of us to be a tool for expansion.
Ps. Bill Comai