Many people struggle with how to advance God’s kingdom, constantly searching for ways to make an impact. However, the truth is there are opportunities all around us—in everyday life.
How We Miss Opportunities to Advance God’s Kingdom
American poet Robert Siegel and his wife lived next to the entrance of Mt. Monadnock State Park. For years, they would see cars turn into it, heard great things about it, but never had experienced it for themselves. One day, Robert and his wife had some extra time on their hands, and they decided to finally turn in and see what all the hype was about. He recollects their experience in his poem “Looking for Mount Monadnock,” published in his collection The Waters Under the Earth:
We see the sign “Monadnock State Park.” As it flashes by, after a mile or two we decide to go back. “We can’t pass by Monadnock without seeing it,” I say, turning around. We head down the side road—“Monadnock Realty,” “Monadnock Pottery,” “Monadnock Designs,” but no Monadnock.
Then the signs fall away—nothing but trees and the darkening afternoon. We don’t speak, pass a clearing, and you say, “I think I saw it, or part of it—a bald rock?” Miles and miles more. Finally I pull over and we consult a map. “Monadnock’s right there.” “Or just back a bit there.” But we should see it— we’re practically on top of it.” And driving back we look—trees, a flash of clearing, purple rock—but we are, it seems, too close to see it: It is here. We are on it. It is under us.
Have you ever been so close to something that you almost miss it entirely? Maybe you’re searching for something and have looked everywhere for it, then your spouse comes in and finds it in a matter of seconds. “It was right under my nose!”
Sometimes, we can be so focused on finding the “perfect” partner that we miss the opportunity to form meaningful connections with people who are right in front of us. We get so caught up in looking at what’s coming around the corner that we forget to enjoy and really live in the good days that are right now.
For the first several years of my life following Jesus, I searched for life impact and kingdom advancement in the dazzle and flash of…
- Christian camps
- Worship nights
I wanted to surround myself with whoever or whatever was trending in my Christian circles at the moment. I bought into a lie that a life of Kingdom impact and mission was only achievable on a mission trip sleeping in a tent in another country. And if I really wanted to be used by God to advance His kingdom, it could only be attained by surrounding myself with the stage and lights and being up front, with dazzling stories and leading thousands to Christ.
Surely a life of impact in the Kingdom and following Jesus can mean those things… But as I’ve grown more familiar with Jesus in my decade of following Him, I’m becoming more convinced that many of us might be looking for Mount Monadnock, while it’s underneath us the entire time.
Opportunities to advance God’s kingdom are all around us, and we can help build it in ordinary moments.
Advance God’s Kingdom by Doing Whatever He Tells You To Do
In John 2, we see the first recorded miracle that Jesus performs. Jesus is at a wedding, and the family hosting the reception has run out of wine. Jesus’ mother brings the problem to Jesus, and she, like every good mother does, heavily implies that Jesus should enact himself on that potential chaos. Then, she looks at the servants and says this phrase: “Do whatever he tells you to do.”
Those are good words for people wanting to serve Jesus and be a part of the miraculous works of Jesus in this present time.
What does partnering with Jesus in the miraculous mean? Whatever he tells us to do.
How can we see Jesus transform our lives? Doing whatever he tells us to do.
What does missional living look like? Whatever he tells us to do.
What does a life of Kingdom impact look like? Simply doing whatever he tells us to do.
Jesus’ mother, Mary, knew the secret: A life of partnering with Jesus in bringing Heaven to earth looks like ordinary, every day obedience to Jesus.
What’s more shocking to me is Jesus’ instructions to the servants. He gives them no grandeur but menial, everyday tasks that my 6 year old son can do: Fill the jars up with water, draw some water, and take it to the master of the party.
What if a life of impact is under our feet, wherever we walk, waiting for us to surrender the small, mundane, everyday, menial tasks to Jesus who is with us then, too?
What if Heaven comes to earth, even in the unseen moments of doing the dishes, folding the laundry, tending to the garden, riding in the car, having dinner, and putting our children to bed?
What if advancing God’s kingdom means looking at our endless lists of things to get done through the lens of Jesus meeting us there in those moments?
Elisabeth Elliot, soon after her husband, Jim, was martyred on the mission field, felt naturally overwhelmed. Looking at her endless lists of chores as a mother, as a missionary, as a widow with no husband to share the load with, she uncovered the art of infusing Kingdom impact into her everyday life.
She found comfort in these words, an excerpt from a Saxon poem:
“Do The Next Thing”
Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing
Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
Leave all results, do the next thing.
Kingdom Impact Is in the Small, Everyday Moments
Friends, we are standing on top of Kingdom impact. It’s in the small, everyday moments. Together, let’s commit today to advance God’s kingdom by infusing impact into the ordinary tasks before us today. Let us do the next thing with the intentionality of Jesus alongside us.