Knowing that their failure to do God’s will had consequences for all of us, we still act like our thoughts and ways, are better than his. The message from Jesus is: We can’t continue doing it our way, and believe that it’s somehow okay with God. We can’t serve God—and continue to live the way we want to live—offending him, by hurting others. He won’t stand for divided loyalties between him and the world—as we know it. He’s a jealous God, and he commands us to serve him only. Jesus sees it as a matter of faith. He urges us to come to God with child-like faith, and we’ll be free from anxiety caused by fear. Those of us with good parents, and others dear to us, that loved and cared for us as children—can remember how safe and secure we felt, knowing that we were loved; knowing that everything we needed, would be provided for us. Many times, we didn’t know the difficulties, that went along with making sure that we had a roof over our heads, food and drink, and clothes to wear—but somehow—it was always there for us. We trusted and had faith in our loved ones; that didn’t ask us for anything in return. And, we were happy to give them loving obedience, because we didn’t want to hurt them in any way. Even those among us, with more difficult experiences as children, somehow survived, because…unbeknown to us…God assigned someone to give us what we needed.
This is what Jesus is talking about. If our parents and loved ones provided us with our needs as children, how much more will God provide us with what we need now—materially and emotionally? God knows what we need, and the only reason he likes to hear us ask, is because he wants us to admit that we are dependent on him. We can do nothing well, or gain anything, by ourselves. The only reason we are anxious, is because we are afraid to lose our loved ones, our safety, and security. The only reason we judge others, is because we believe that our self-righteousness, is the righteousness of God—and we mistakenly believe that our thoughts are his thoughts. If our thoughts and inclinations are to remain silent, when we see an injustice, or act in a way that causes a person any discomfort or hurt; we can be sure that God’s thoughts on the matter, are exactly the opposite—full of compassion, mercy, and love for that hurting person—while, still…loving us, just as much.
Our challenge is to strive for the righteousness God models for us—it’s set in the here and now. The past is gone, and we can’t do anything about tomorrow—we have enough to say grace over what we are experiencing in the present moment. Jesus offers the solution to all our worries, concerns, troubled relationships: “Act in the framework of the Kingdom of God—righteousness, peace, and joy brought by the Holy Spirit”. We are asked to help build the Kingdom of God. Defining it, is not easy; because if we close our eyes, and see what thoughts first come to mind when we say “kingdom,” we think of prosperity: beautiful people in castles and mansions, jeweled crowns, luxuriant robes, money, influence, power: military and legal power. These…are our thoughts—not God’s. The Kingdom of God is the opposite: where preference is given to the poor, to people that aren’t even acknowledged—with a second look, the sick, the ones turned away…God loves these: the least of his fortunate children, just as much as he loves the rich, powerful, politically connected—the most fortunate of his children. All, are invited to help build the Kingdom.
We build it by returning to God in child-like innocence and dependency; in reverence to him and his name; and by respecting one another…respecting everyone—without exceptions: the homeless veteran—as well as the homeless immigrant; the unborn victim—as well as the ones who are born—and become victims; the conservative politicians—as well as the liberal ones…Everyone…is welcome, to build the Kingdom of God— ‘doing His Will on earth—as it is in heaven.’