“Our job is to simply populate the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Richard Sterns-Unfinished) When I read this sentence the word “simply” popped out at me. “Simply” to populate the kingdom of heaven sounds so incredibly easy. How can it sound so easy but be such a daunting task? Do WE make it hard?
My job, career, is serving as the Executive Director of a United Methodist Church in a town that is drowning in drugs, causing all the problems that come with addiction. Our city has turned into a low-income, welfare filled town. Walking down the main street of our city breaks my heart. There are so many who look like they have no hope. I want to shake them and say, “There is hope, you can turn this around, the high from drugs does not have to be your high! You can experience the love of Christ, the hope of a future, the love of a church family.”
Our church is not perfect, we have the stereotypical “christian” sitting in our pews. We also have people who truly care about “populating the kingdom of heaven”. They are being the church instead of talking about the church. There are many who attend church, then walk out the door and turn back into the person Jesus does not want us to be; hypocritical, gossipy, cynical. But, there are many who take the sign above the door seriously; “You are now entering the mission field”.
How simple is it the “populate the Kingdom of Heaven”? To reach others for Christ, to help people understand getting to heaven is not about how often you attend church but the relationship you have with Jesus Christ. Sure, worshipping God with a community is important to spiritual development but what happens outside of the church is just as important. The personal and ongoing relationship with Jesus is the key to “simply populating the Kingdom of Heaven”. The difficult part is helping people understand there is more to it than “saying” you are a believer of Christ. There is also action involved, doing, being the hands and feet of Christ, being in community with Christ. There is a God who loves us beyond what we know as love. Our time on earth is short. We are on earth working toward eternity.
I ponder the statement: “Our job is to simply populate the kingdom of heaven” with a heavy but hopeful heart, knowing there is so much to do. Wondering if it is so simple, that we make it hard.
I’ve taken a couple of days to let this statement settle in my heart. I know the only way to the kingdom of heaven is through Jesus. I want YOU to know, accepting Jesus is truly simple and that is the key to the kingdom of heaven. The hard part is being and doing and loving and living as Christ calls us to live. The hard part is understanding the Father (God), the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit (the one God gave us to live in our hearts) as the Trinity. We spend a lifetime trying to grasp the concept after we accept the job. The hard part is making the changes in our selfish, worldly lives to BE like Jesus. To forgive, to extend grace, to be patient and kind, to live the fruits of the spirit. The struggle is real; and worth it!
What does it mean to “simply populate the kingdom of heaven” to you and how are you helping to do just that!