When I was in Eureka Springs, Arkansas with a friend last fall I found the cutest plaque that I knew would look great on the buffet in my kitchen. It was small and black. Quite simple and nothing fancy. But it also had the words “NOT OF THIS WORLD” inscribed upon it. There was just the one, tucked away as though a shopper before me had hoped to conceal it for a future purchase. So, after only a few short moments of assuring myself it would compliment the scripture peppered about my home, I decided to buy it.
But I have a confession…
I truthfully didn’t buy it for the words.
I know, I know. Horrible, aren’t I? I bought it because it was an aesthetically pleasing little object for my kitchen. And while I feel a bit of shame for admitting that just now, trust me when I say “stick with me, sister…”
It all began on the day I sat down to watch the Narnia movie Voyage of the Dawn Treader. If you’ve seen it, you might remember the opening scene that shows a disgruntled Edmund being called a “squirt” by a boy standing in line behind him. Edmund was merely trying to enlist to fight in the war, but he wasn’t of age. Not to be outdone by the rude boy, his sister, Lucy, is standing a few feet away reminding Edmund that he needed to help her with the groceries. As they exited the building to head home, Edmund’s irritation has only grown. “Squirt?! I’m a king. I’ve fought wars.”
“Not in this world,” Lucy reminds him.
This world was serving as a place to humble Edmund. This world was a place that Edmond could use what he knew of another kingdom to impact those around him if only given the chance.
I was gently reminded of the true meaning behind those words in red from John 18:36. “My kingdom is not of this world.”
So many times my eyes have passed over that text in my Bible. And so many times I thought I understood them. But nothing compared to the resonating awareness that fell upon me that day.
Suddenly all my complaining, all my worrying, all my dissatisfaction…left me feeling quite small.
It’s strange how conviction can begin as a whisper and grow into an astounding realization loud enough to punch through the noise of this world.
In Matthew 13, Jesus teaches about His kingdom through parables. If you take nothing else from these teachings, know this:
1) We are sowers.
2) We are leaven.
3) We are fisherman. (Or fisherwomen, if you will)
We are entrusted to plant small seeds that will grow into large trees of magnificent faith. We are entrusted to permeate throughout the dough of this life until none of it goes untouched. We are entrusted to cast nets to find those who are without Christ.
I don’t always feel humbled to do so, but my goodness I should. No matter how big or small those tasks may seem at the time, I must remember that I am entrusted by the One who gave His life for me to show others what that magnificent kingdom looks like. There’s no need to pass through the coats, fumbling my way to the back of the wardrobe – or to be submersed in a flood from the picture on the wall. It is through my relationship with Christ that His kingdom is made real to me, each and every day.
In Edmund’s case, he was too young to be able to enlist. Too young to demonstrate to his country that he did, in fact, have what it takes to stand up and fight for what he believed in.
That plaque has new meaning now – and one that has a message to be passed down to my children. That they are entrusted to spread the message about a kingdom that’s not of this world, but certainly a lot closer than we think.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13, NIV)