Kingdom of Faith
That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building.
While traveling through the country of Malawi, our van was stopped at a military barricade. Blessings, our interpreter, informed us they would probably find some small infraction with our van and then demand “fine” money. “What if we don’t give the money?” we asked. “Then you sit in the car until you get it and give it,” Blessings replied. Pretty soon, a swaggering young man in military dress with a rifle slung over his shoulder came to my open window and, with his palm extended, said, “Bless me Father.” In Malawi, it is customary for clergy of all faiths to wear a collar, so I was wearing one, hence the term “Father.” In my most sanctimonious voice, I replied, “Bless you.” After looking at me like I was an idiot, he repeated the request to be blessed. I repeated my holy answer. Our interpreter and guide finally broke into this Abbot and Costello exchange by informing me that he didn’t want my “blessing.” He wanted my money! My first go at being a “Father” and I failed miserably!
Clearly, in Malawi, we were not in our home country. Clearly, we were in a place in which we didn’t belong. This scripture from Ephesians reminds us that we have a new home country, a home of faith. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here.
But truth be told, in this world, I have become too comfortable. I am comfortable living in the Kingdom of certainty, of clear and instant answers, of being able to go online and order anything I want or think I need AND have it delivered to my door in 24-48 hours. I don’t really need faith or so I think. Pretty soon I have convinced myself I belong here, in this world.
Then something happens; something like the loss of a loved one, divorce, cancer, unemployment. And like the incident in Malawi, I become very uncomfortable and forced to realize I am not home. In the midst of uncertainty, God continually calls me to trust and have faith. God continually calls me to live in my rightful place, my true home, a place of faith, a place of dependence on God and not myself. A generosity emphasis grounded in gratitude, revealed through prayer and lived in faith will give people an opportunity to affirm and claim their home in the Kingdom of faith. As people learn to give and be generous in ways that go beyond their wildest dreams, they claim faith and dependency on God, instead of the Kingdom of Stuff.
Where do you live? Where is home?
You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here…