for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these….(Matthew 19:14)
My daughter has these little toy shapes that she likes to play with. She places them in the spots they go in and loves doing this over and over. However, she has two different kinds of toys like this and the shapes are different sizes. There are times when she’s got the bigger shapes with the smaller openings. She gets frustrated as she tries to force the shapes in, but it just doesn’t work.
Friend, we can’t force people into the kingdom. We can only love them like a child as we lead and guide them into God’s new morning mercies. I know that’s hard to do. Truth be told, I like changing people. I enjoy giving them great advice and expect them to take my great advice and act on it. However, sometimes people have to figure out things out for themselves and they need a shepherd to walk with them, not tell them what to do and drop them like a bad habit when they don’t respond favorably with all your great advice.
That’s easier to do though, isn’t it? Fly in and out of people’s lives, offering great advice, “saving the day,” and moving onto the next mission for God.
I remember when my marriage was falling apart and some comments were made to me about how all the issues going on in my marriage were keeping ministry from happening. Friend, marriages falling apart, children walking through crisis, a friend walking a dark path, all of that is ministry. It is kingdom work- to love people in their deepest brokenness. To care for and shepherd them in their darkest hours. Because if we don’t, the sheep will go looking for safety somewhere else.
I am thankful for the people who did support me and my husband at our worst. It was because of their love that our marriage was resurrected. Friend, don’t you see, there’s someone else out there whose life is falling apart today too. Won’t you go and be the love of God to them as you lead and guide them with the love of God into the kingdom? I have learned that we can speak the truth to people as long they know we love them, they’ll stick around, but if we speak the truth and leave them, we only break their hearts even further.
So friend, go and be the love of God to someone today, but don’t force them, love and lead them into the Kingdom.
Lord, you are so good. You are kind and faithful, loving and true. Thank you for your grace, may I shower it upon others today, in Jesus name, Amen.