Missing the Kingdom

I am coming to realize that God shows up in the seemingly most unlikely places. Like the break room at work. Or Starbuck’s. Or a produce counter. I’ve had debates about the Trinity while slicing up fruit. I’ve met fellow Christians after observing them read their Bibles at a Starbuck’s table. And God has come up in conversation over heated-up leftovers at lunch time. So often, these conversations occur with people that I misjudged. People who I thought would have no interest in God or Jesus or His Kingdom end up surprising me by talking about spiritual things. I’m beginning to understand that the problem was me, not them. I’m the one who couldn’t see.
I have heard it said, “It’s all in the words of a prayer.”
I have heard it preached, “You need a specific date. Nail it down.”
I have heard it promoted, “You need my church; it’s the only one.”
But which one is valid? Which one brings you closer to God? Which one leads you to see Jesus? Is there a method that absolutely guarantees the presence of God? Is it really about which church you attend?
Jesus tells Nicodemus in John 3, “You must be born again to see the Kingdom of God.”
“Unless one is born again, he cannot “see” the kingdom of God”. I’m slowly learning that the Kingdom of God has no boundaries. I don’t exclusively find God’s work in the church building of a specific denomination, but I find it at my job, at my Starbuck’s, and in my neighborhood, and in fellow churches. Paul said, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” I’m finding that if I invite my friends, my family, my co-workers, and my neighbors to “do” life with me, God shows up. Every act, every word, every emotion is then channeled through His power because we are recognizing Him.
If the Spirit of God is like the wind, who are we to say how He will show Himself? The Spirit of God cannot be labeled or bridled. We cannot pigeonhole how God works. If the wind blows however it pleases, so does the Spirit move. So who am I to qualify the ways God works? Who am I to deny His power at work in other people? Just because it doesn’t look like my experience, doesn’t mean that it is not of God. We are not cookie cutter Christians, all made in the same batch. We must learn to recognize the freedom of the Spirit. Otherwise, we are missing the kingdom. We cannot see it.
In John 4:35, Jesus says to His disciples, “Look the fields are white to the harvest!” Whitened fields meant over-ripe crops. The harvest needed to be brought in long ago, but instead it was neglected. I can’t help but wonder how many opportunities I’ve squandered because my eyes weren’t open. Was I looking for the whitened fields? Was I truly seeing that person in need? Was I listening with an open heart to their story? Often I feel I’m more concerned about pushing my own agenda. I want a certain response. I want a prayer prayed my way. I want experiences of God to look like my experiences, otherwise I deem them invalid.
I don’t know about you. But I don’t want to miss the Kingdom. Any part of it. So tomorrow, I’m going to slow down my routine. I’m going to look around and listen. God is moving and working.
Lunch time in the break room never sounded sweeter.

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