The Kingdom

This post is from the defunct blog “Dying Church”

I'm often struck by how, within the modern church, the Kingdom doesn't look too different from worldly organizations. I bought into this for a long time too. Sure, we were different in some ways, but the methods, techniques, and standards of the business world seemed to apply so well in the North American church. That is, the North American church as exemplified by churches like Saddleback and Willow Creek. The Kingdom of God isn't marked by its marketing success and organizational size, no matter how much we want to think it is. It's marked by ambiguity, weakness, surprise, humility – many of the qualities that some of us have tried to expunge from our churches. This hit me today as I studied two snapshots of the Kingdom given by Jesus in Mark 4:26-32:

Since Jesus spends so much time in the Gospels explaining in parable what the kingdom of God is like, one may infer that he believed that his vision of God's reign was quite different from the usual one…He seeks to dispel the myths about how God's reign manifests itself and works in the world, which the majority accept with little question. Wright observes…'The Kingdom of God is here, he seemed to be saying, but it's not like you thought it was going to be'… We too quickly identify the kingdom of God with our own human aspirations and institutions that "reach unto heaven" and "make us a name." We tend to be overly impressed with mass movements and high-powered organizations, and these parables that stress the ambiguity of the presence of the kingdom of God in the midst of this current evil age should caution us against this mistake… Jesus' picture suggests that the kingdom of God may continue to look like a failure…The parable may be a rebuke to those expecting something grandiose from God… Times have not changed, because people continue to fix their attention on all the wrong things in their search for God and meaning in their lives.(David Garland, NIV Application Commentary on Mark

The Kingdom, according to Jesus, always surprises because it doesn't look as significant and triumphant as you'd expect. Yet, in the end, it's more significant and triumphant than you could ever see with worldly eyes. God's Kingdom is best revealed in the hidden and seemingly insignificant places, rather than the places we normally look.

Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada