Luke 4:42-44 (ESV)
And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Jesus’ healing draws big crowds. People seek Him out even when He retreats into a desolate place. This is not surprising. In an era with nothing that we would call real medicine, Jesus is curing major afflictions. If the world would beat a path to your door for a better mousetrap, what would they do for this?
Then comes the surprise; Jesus announces that the healing isn’t the main event. He was sent for a purpose and he must do that – preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns.
We normally think of the other purpose He was sent for – to die – but He’s keeping that a secret for now. The purpose of His ministry is to preach the good news of the kingdom of God. But what does that even mean?
He was sent to tell everyone that there’s another kingdom coming (to our way of thinking, another world). It’s the kingdom of God. Everything’s about to change.
The people need to be prepared for what’s coming. The purpose of His ministry is to get the word out.
This purpose remains. It’s our purpose too.
But now that the kingdom has arrived, it’s a dual-purpose. We don’t just tell people about the kingdom of God; we show it to them. The kingdom isn’t something that’s coming soon. They can see it now.
That’s what lifestyle evangelism is all about. Actions speak louder than words. Seeing the kingdom is more convincing than just hearing about it.
This is where charity fits in. God’s kingdom isn’t just great to be in; it’s great to be near. You can see the kingdom from the outside because kingdom values spill out all over the place.
And the key value is love – caring about others. The secret sauce in charity isn’t how much you help folks; it’s how you act around them. It’s essential to know them, to listen to them, to touch them, to be anguished about the things they’re anguished about. Charity should never be rushed. You can’t hurry love.
The kingdom of God is different from the kingdom of this world. This world is all about efficiently completing tasks; the kingdom of God isn’t. Even when the task is a holy one, powering through it misses something.
That something is the Lordship of Christ. We’re not the boss, and the success or failure of our charity doesn’t hinge on us. We need to be always mindful of this as we serve Him.
He’s the king.
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