How do we respond when our dreams for God’s kingdom don’t work out? What does the kingdom look like? What does kingdom building look like? Should we be concerned with building the kingdom or should we concentrate on keeping ourselves out of the way so God can build his kingdom? “Participate in what God is already doing” What should we think when our plans and efforts towards kingdom building fall apart, when our dreams for God’s kingdom are dashed? What do you do when Canada has 2 of 5 skaters in the gold medal race and they take 4th and 5th? Mt 11 deals with precisely the sort of questions that arise when one is disappointed with the kingdom of God.
In this text the kingdom builder himself says “blessed is he who does not fall away on account of me.” Don’t let disappointment with the kingdom turn you off of the kingdom. Your disappointment is almost certainly rooted in a misunderstanding of what the kingdom is about, rather than any deficiency with the kingdom itself. Let your disappointment be a beacon that alerts you to a new vision for the kingdom, a vision for the kingdom God is already building, rather than the kingdom you think should be built.
The kingdom of heaven is not primarily about the right theology or religion, the right evangelistic tool or the correct biblical structure for church governance. The kingdom of heaven is healing for the sick, sight for the blind, hearing for the deaf, and life for the dead. It is good news preached to the poor. The kingdom is not only about making our world a better place, though it should seem a better place with all of the foregoing. Primarily the kingdom of God is about recognizing and proclaiming and endorsing God’s saving, healing, life-giving activity that is already at work in our world, because without that work our world could not be. The kingdom of heaven is God’s kingdom, and it is God’s work, a work in which we are privileged to participate, but it is never ours to circumscribe. In fact, it may well be that disappointment with the kingdom is far less injurious to our experience of the kingdom than is a facile satisfaction that has us fooled into thinking that the kingdoms we build are adequate representations of the kingdom of heaven. Let’s celebrate God’s kingdom. Let us not be weary by reason of our disappointments with the kingdom, and by all means, let’s continue to be surprised by unexpected encounters with the kingdom of heaven that is so near.