Is the Kingdom of God Part of My Daily Life?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew 6:9-10

What does Jesus mean when he prays, “on earth as it is in heaven?” Since our focus is on our daily work, I like what N. T. Wright says about “on earth as it is in heaven" in his Matthew for Everyone.

[God] longs to see his sovereign and saving rule come to birth on "earth." This is, in fact, a prayer for the kingdom of God to become fully present; not for God’s people to be snatched away from earth to heaven, but for the glory and beauty of heaven to be turned into earthly reality as well.

For Wright, this portion of the Lord’s Prayer is a prayer for the kingdom of God to become fully present. God is looking forward to the day when the glory and beauty of heaven will become an earthly reality. As earthly vessels, we long to be with God for eternity. Yet, it is easy to forget that one day the earth will be restored to the glory of God. It will be a new earth and heaven. God wants to see his creation whole again.

For us living in the here and now, we must also remember that we live in the already-but-not-yet-kingdom. The kingdom of God is here but not yet glorified on earth. As Christians, we still get to experience a measure of God’s kingdom right now. So how can we help people around us get a small glimpse of the glory and beauty of the kingdom of God right now? More specifically, what does that mean as it relates to our daily work? How do we live out our lives on earth as they are in heaven?

We are driven to a great extent by self-interest, and that is a very natural trait. We all have expectations of ourselves, personal goals, achievements, and desire to provide a comfortable lifestyle for ourselves and our families, but we must not lose sight of the people around us.

It is easy for any of us to focus too much on what’s best for me and my career. I certainly like to achieve. Over the years, I have had to learn the art of altruism and virtue. I have had to force myself to slow down and get to know the employees and staff members around me. As I practiced this on a regular basis, I got to know their dreams, their fears and worries. Back when I was a department head at a publisher, I noticed this had a remarkable effect on staff members. Not only did they share more openly with me, but they began to trust me. That trust began to grow even stronger as I became more vulnerable and admitted my own mistakes as a department head. I praised employees for creative ideas and gave them credit. Although I had not planned it, we moved from being a department of hard working individuals to a team of employees working together.

The kingdom of God is not a method of creating teams and achieving better collaboration. That is not the point. The kingdom of God seeks to honor God and others first. You do not have to be a department head or even a manager or supervisor to be virtuous and care about the well-being of others. Any one of us can serve others. Any one of us can focus on our neighbor’s well-being.

This is a learning process often filled with bumps and bruises. It requires self-awareness and emotional intelligence. But the hardest part of serving others in the kingdom of God is just getting started.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: We tend to think big when it comes to ministry, but small acts of caring can often do more for a person than we can imagine. What are some small ways that you can better know and understand fellow employees on an individual basis? What are some small ways that you can care for the well-being of a person?

PRAYER: Father, help us see people around us. Help us see them as fellow travelers with the same hopes, fears, and concerns as we have. Give us great wisdom to show others that we care. Give us understanding as we deal with different personalities and backgrounds so that we can be trusted stewards of grace, mercy, and unconditional love. Amen.


On Earth As It Is in Heaven

When we pray, do we say, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” and then sit back and wait for someone to show up on the scene and make things happen? As people of faith—at work, in our community, in our home, in our relationships—how do we partner with God to usher in the kingdom of God, right where we are? How can we live the gospel in such a way that we welcome the kingdom of God wherever we show up? What is the impact of doing good work in the places God has called us? What does it mean to do good work, and why does it matter? Does my good work every day make a difference for eternity? After we pray, On Earth As It Is in Heaven, what are practical ways to partner with God in seeing that come to pass, right in the place where we are?