We tend to talk about building the kingdom and expanding the kingdom. I use that language fairly often, and I don’t disagree with it. But, there is a sense of understanding the kingdom as something we first and primarily receive and enter into.
The kingdom is also the place from which we are sent.
Of course there are things to do along the way. But it is the way in which we do them that communicates the gospel. Anyone can bring humanitarian aid to a city, and it will be received with gratitude.
But, when someone comes in the name of Jesus, and brings needed help, the benefit is not only the help; it is ultimately the presence of Jesus that they experience through us being there with them.
In 1 Peter 2, we read that those who trust in Jesus are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s possession. As a result of being a citizen of the kingdom of God, we are sent to show others the goodness of God. We are sent to shine the light of truth into the darkness.
Peter writes in chapter 3, “Be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.”
The work of the kingdom is not about a checklist. It is about a transformation. We are sent on a mission of transformation and citizenship.
This is wonderful because it means that whatever we do, whatever we have in front of us, can be received into the kingdom of God and transformed by the Spirit of God to be used to bless others.
To be sent by Jesus is to enter into our local and personal activities in a way that is given character and shape and direction by Jesus. It is not a list of things to accomplish, but a way in which we do everything.