After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, we began to consider the question: Can I live in God’s kingdom now, or do I have to wait for the kingdom to come in the future? We discovered that the answer of Jesus to this question is nuanced. Yes, the kingdom has come near, and thus is present. Yet, the kingdom is not completely here, and so we continue to hope for its coming.
Right now, we can ask that God’s will be done in our world. More specifically, we can ask that we might do God’s will in our part of the world: in our work and worship, in our rest and play, in our homes and stores, in our churches and boardrooms.
As we make our way through the Gospel of Mark together, we’ll talk often about the “already and not yet” dynamic of the kingdom of God. But, before we move on in Mark, I want to suggest one way the “already and not yet” aspect of the kingdom can shape both our prayers and our daily lives.
I’m thinking about how Jesus taught us to pray in what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.” In this prayer, there is a line that reads, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10). This portion of The Lord’s Prayer embodies the “already and not yet” dimension of the kingdom. Jesus teaches us to pray for the kingdom to come, which suggests that it is not here yet, at least not completely. Yet, Jesus also instructs us to pray for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven. Given that the kingdom of God is God’s reign, God’s rule, God’s sovereignty, then praying for God’s will to be done on earth is rather like praying for God’s kingdom to be present now. So, while we pray for the fullness of the kingdom to come in the future, we also pray for the impact of God’s kingdom to be experienced in our lives now.
The Lord’s Prayer helps us to know how we can live in God’s kingdom now, even as we await its future coming. Right now, we can ask that God’s will be done in our world. More specifically, we can ask that we might do God’s will in our part of the world: in our work and worship, in our rest and play, in our homes and stores, in our churches and boardrooms. We will not bring the kingdom of God through our efforts, but we can faithfully manifest and extend the kingdom as we do God’s will in every part of life.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
How do you experience God’s kingdom in your life these days?
Do you pray for God’s will to be done in your work? Why or why not?
How might your work be different if you sought to do God’s will in every action, every decision?
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (Matt 6:9-13).
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.