Not far from our home is a Greenway; we’ve driven by the thing hundreds of times. But in 2 1/2 years at our current home, we were yet to check it out. Was it a lack of time, or no interest? Perhaps a bit of both.
Funny thing is, walking is a big deal to me. I create walking goals each year, keeping track of my steps. I can tell you how many steps I take each month, how it compares to last year–and can detail my plan to improve on last year’s numbers. Admittedly, I’m a bit obsessed.
But still, no Greenway visits.
On a recent Saturday however, the idea of walking the Greenway popped up and we–my lovely wife and two of our boys–decided to check it out. The weather was perfect. Why not?
The minute we got there we realized we had been missing a gem. A beautiful neighborhood flanked us on our right. On the left? A yawning, meandering creek with enough water to keep any kid busy but not enough to cause a safety issue.
We could throw rocks, walk up a dry creek bed, watch ducks or point out a small fish or two. This is a hectic time for my schedule so the Greenway was a chance to let the stress melt away.
It was refreshing, relaxing and just plain great. This boy needs to go there again. And again.
Our Greenway visit got me thinking, because it is so close to our home. I drove by this place a gazillion times. It is only four minutes–four!–from my driveway. And I overlooked it for too long.
In the Book of Mark, Jesus’ first words (Mk. 1:15) are, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
In today’s language, Jesus’ might be saying, “This is the time. The kingdom of God is right here in front of you. Change your thinking and trust in the good news I’m giving to you.”
Jesus was–and still is–bringing the (incredibly) good news that anyone can be a part of the kingdom of God, where life never ends and goodness is the order of the day. This promise of the kingdom is so close and yet for many, so easy to miss.
Many did miss it, and still drive by this good news today. Dang, and it’s right here if we only see it.
But even for the Christian like me, the power and joy of kingdom life gets overlooked. I’ll admit, sometimes when I’m dealing with every day stuff, I forget Jesus’ words.
I can get lost in thinking the kingdom of God is something for later, for the “sweet by and by.” Not true.
The complete kingdom of God is still to come, but the ability to live a kingdom-type life is “right here,” and right now. In John 17:3 Jesus says, “And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” This is a “kingdom of God-type” life.
Regardless of circumstances, I should live in a different realm; one of faith, hope, joy, love. That type of life.
Just like the Greenway, I need to remind myself that the kingdom of God is so close, I can go there any time. In fact, though today’s life will always have challenges, kingdom life is always available. I need to move there and make it my home.
Jesus said I could have a kingdom perspective and a kingdom faith . . . now. My job is to believe he is telling the truth. Then, I need to drive that direction. It’s closer than the Greenway.