The Kingdom of God is at the Gate

This morning I was reading in Matthew 13 a bunch of different ways Jesus was describing the Kingdom of God to his disciples.

I have heard all of these parables before – but this morning I saw myself in them a little differently – particularly these two examples:

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

A few months ago I went through yet another crisis.  The future of the house was again up in the air and I had to make some decisions – Do I stay? Do I leave? Do I downsize? Do I go a different direction? Do I step out in further faith and uncertainty?

The weeks of wrestling and seeking discernment and counting the costs led to a place of peace in the decision to stay and further my commitment to this community, allowing roots of faith and interdependence to grow deeper among my neighbors.

Why would I continue to risk everything to stay in a house that’s falling apart, has horrible efficiency for heating and cooling, and regularly subjects us to mice and bug issues?  Why would I continue to work for less than $600 a month when I have an MA I’m still paying off, so that I can give myself to JUSTembrace for free?   Why would I continue to subject myself to the pains of suffering and loss as my neighbors and friends struggles with addiction and mental illness are not improving?  Why, at 32, an age where I should be surrounded by the joys of young love and new life, would I stay in a place where I’m powerless against a constant flow of death and dying?

10380880_10152405344003279_506587118741577250_nWhy?  Because the kingdom of heaven is like a little house in a big city where the outcasts of society can play croquet in the yard, the drunks can play spades, the prostitutes can snuggle friendly dogs, the homeless woman can sit on the porch with a cup of coffee, the mentally ill man can have meaningful conversation, the sex offender can pull up a chair in community, the transvestite can experience safe and loving hugs, and the drug dealer can help plant a garden in between sales.

I understand Jesus’s parable about the Kingdom. When you have found the treasure of the Kingdom of God – why would you not do everything in your power to remain with it? Sell everything to buy the land – to get that prized pearl.

This morning, as I was sitting on the porch reading Matthew 13, one of our neighbors, a man who has been part of our small group for 3 years, came over and asked me to come to the gate to talk.  This is what he said:

“Sheryl, do you know of anywhere I can go to confess something?”

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

In my joy, I will gladly give up anything to stay in this place of Kingdom revelation. When it takes 3 years for a neighbor to want to confess their sins to God and accept His loving grace, how could I ever walk away?

Friend, the Kingdom of God is at your gate too. Look for it – it’s there. Find the treasure around you, and join me in doing whatever you need to in order to receive the gift of living in God’s Kingdom here on earth!