Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving and the Kingdom of Heaven

Yesterday in my talk, a theme that was woven throughout the message was that the Kingdom of Heaven can be experienced now. That it starts with us when God shines His light on our dark soul and we get more and more and more and more until the other side where we experience the fullness of heaven. This is a topic that is worth our investigation.

I think the best way I can explain it is to talk about Thanksgiving dinner. Rachel and I will do Thanksgiving at her brother’s house in Bowling Green, MO. And we’ll show up there about noon, but won't eat until 2 pm. And here’s what’s going to happen. As soon as I open the door, I’ll be greeted by the amazing smell of turkey, stuffing, and apple pie. Now, the complete fulfillment of Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t happen until 2 pm, but I will experience what that meal will be like as soon as I open the door. And do you know what I will do? I will groan. My stomach will groan and complain and seek after a greater experience of that thanksgiving dinner. To the point that nothing else will satisfy. I'll be offered carrots to hold me over, but please. I don’t want carrots. I want to rip off one of those turkey legs. How can eat carrots when I know there’s turkey? So I'll go seek a taste - a nibble here and a nibble there.

Paul says something similar in Romans 8:23, "...but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies." And what Paul is saying is that there is something deep within us that cries out for something beyond this world. Our spirit craves heaven. And the good news is that we can experience heaven today. And so in the teachings of Jesus (like the one we looked at yesterday in Matthew 6:19-23), He’s showing us the way to experience more of His Kingdom - heaven. Following Jesus means going down a path that leads deeper and deeper into the richest kind of life we could live.