The headlines come across my phone each morning. School shootings. A little boy forced to die in a hospital across the sea. Corrupt world leaders. Nuclear threats. People starving while others are overfed.
If you let yourself, you can become overwhelmed by the troubles of this world.
Lately, I’ve heard many folks say, “I’m praying that Jesus just comes back.” My heart identifies with this thought. We know that God can make all things right. I want nothing more than to see our Savior face to face. I long for a time that we can tell Him what is on our hearts and ask Him our questions and He replies in an audible voice and ends the discussion with a big embrace.
However, if He came back today would we be ready?
I’m not saying that your soul is in danger. I’m not questioning if you’ve repented and are walking in the light. I’m saying are there loved ones still on this earth that don’t know our loving Father – that don’t know that he sent His Son to this fallen world to rescue them? I’m asking myself, “If today was the day and the trumpet sounded, have I reached out to those I love, to those I see daily, to those I meet at the park for playdates and did my best to describe the joy and love and forgiveness I’ve found in Jesus?” or “Have I reached out to the young mom at Church that is overwhelmed?” or “Have I loved on the child that has no one else?”
You see, so often we long to leave this earth and look forward to Heaven – and we should. Heaven is the end goal – being in God’s presence for eternity. However, we feel as though there is so much that is broken here that we cannot possibly fix it all, so we want to leave. Many times when we are overwhelmed by the things of this world we end up doing nothing. It’s just too big, just too much, just too hard.
But in this time of waiting for Heaven, are we making earth more Heaven-like?
Today I was reading Matthew chapter 6. Most of you have read this chapter many times. It’s the chapter that contains the Lord’s Prayer.
Matthew 6:9-10 says this,
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Read that one more time. “…on earth as it is in heaven.” As I read this today, I asked myself who do I know makes earth feel more like heaven? I’m sure if you ask that question to yourself there are several faces that would flash across your heart. I could name so many dear Christians that do this. Today though, my heart rested on a group of people. People you may or may not know. Unassuming folks that don’t broadcast their deeds. This group meets at the end of the hall in our Church building each Wednesday morning. They open God’s Word, they share donuts, and they talk about upcoming events.
On the surface, their actions seem pretty ordinary.
However, if you dig a little deeper, you find out that their love for one another and this Church is extraordinary. Each week this group checks up on its members and makes sure if someone is sick they are prayed for and any physical needs are met. They eat together. They’ve cleaned houses, given medicine and stayed in waiting rooms at the hospital for each other. They share their lives with one another. They really are a picture of the early Church described in Acts 2.
44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
But that’s not where it ends. Not only do they take care of and pray for just their own group -they pray for us. They are constantly praying for those on the prayer list and sending out cards. They cover our events in prayer. Don’t be fooled, though. They aren’t "just" prayer warriors (which is a most valuable position). They are workers. Outreach projects like the Easter Egg Hunt and Vacation Bible School would never get done without them. They donate, pray for, cut, purchase, cook, stuff eggs, decorate and attend all of the events planned by others. They spend hours sorting and folding clothes for families that cannot afford Christmas gifts at the Christmas give-away. They smile and greet and hug and love on children they don’t know at the Santa Breakfast. They dress up, decorate and tell Bible stories to families that may never hear God’s Word at the Fall Festival. They ask about and pray for the children whose magnets are on their refrigerators from the Back to School Celebration.
They make earth a little more like Heaven.
I’m so glad they do. They inspire me to not get bogged down by the sadness of this world. On the days that it seems like this earth is filled with evil, I’ll choose to look at people like them who are striving to have God’s ‘Kingdom and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven’. Hopefully, we will be inspired to do likewise.