“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” ~ Jesus, Matthew 13:44
I loved Disney World.
I really didn’t think I would. It’s not something I even considered. We had been really busy, my husband and I, with the holidays and three churches between us. I got sick the day we landed and spent a good part of the four days praying to God for the strength to enjoy the visit with our daughter, a Disney intern. So despite sneezing, coughing, fever, and the effects of drugs to suppress it all, I had a blast. And something wonderful happened: I became myself again.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever suddenly bumped into yourself and realized that you haven’t seen yourself for a very long time?
I was stunned. It was exhilarating. It was FUN!
And that got me thinking, “Where have I been?” I guess the short answer is: under the weight of circumstances and expectations from within and without. I had allowed myself to become so buried and constrained that I had lost myself in the daily process of living.
The next thing I realized was how much the magic kingdom mirrored the Heavenly Kingdom – and how much MORE joy and freedom is available to us who believe. I have been missing out on so much. “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing Spirit, to sustain me!” (Psalm 51:12)
So I’ve been asking the Lord about it all, and here’s what I have so far…
The magic kingdom is a man-made oasis of pleasant experiences where all the workers are cast members sent out to serve a world-wide variety of guests in such a way as to allow the guests to have the best possible experience during their stay. They are taught to identify needs and meet them with the highest possible standards and a smile.
Curiously enough, Mother Teresa taught her Missionaries of Charity to do the same: to identify needs and meet them to the best of their ability with a smile. But the MC’s depend entirely upon the provision and grace of God. People from every walk of life and religion around the world respond to their simple and direct approach to the Gospel: everyone is Jesus in disguise, so treat them that way. Rolland and Heidi Baker’s Iris Ministries does much the same with such an overflow of God’s love, joy and power in the Holy Spirit that people push down the gates of hell to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
It’s beautiful to know that people will line up for days to get into the Kingdom of Heaven when they finally see it for real, even without the rides and theme parks. “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit…” (Romans 4:17).
“The Spirit of the Lord is on Me,
because He has anointed Me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)
Jesus also said, “ Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in Me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)
God’s Kingdom is so much greater than any other kingdom on earth. Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is within us (Luke 17:21), a truly wondrous kingdom that we who believe carry around. A Kingdom that has the power to transform us and the lives of everyone we meet, not for a few days if you can afford it, but for eternity for free, because Jesus already paid the entrance fee for everyone.
So now I want the Kingdom of God to break out of me like the biggest fireworks display ever. I want to blast free of the molds – the things that constrain us to live and act, to think and worship, according to man-made rules – and begin to fully live in the freedom that Christ died for us to have. To no longer be conformed, but transformed (Romans 12:2) – resurrected – for, “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1). I want the Kingdom freedom to do the good works that God planned for us to do (Ephesians 2:10) so that others can experience the life, joy, and freedom of God’s Kingdom and become who God made them to be: free sons and daughters of the Most High King.
Way better than a set of mouse ears.
Let the parade begin.