- Kingdom obedience -
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Matthew 5:38-42
“Kingdom obedience is kingdom abundance. They are not two separate things. The inner condition of the soul from which strength and love and peace flow is the very same condition that generously blesses the oppressor and lovingly offers the other cheek. These Christ-like behaviors are expressions of a pervasive personal strength and its joy, not of weakness, morbidity, sorrow — or raw exertion of will — as is so often assumed. All those old “options” that we might think should be kept in reserve, just in case they turn out to be “necessary,” will not even be missed.”
Dallas Willard (1935-2013) in The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1998) 312-313.
I had the privilege of interacting with Dallas Willard at a conference a few years prior to his death. In a private conversation I asked him about the importance of stewardship instruction in seminary settings. He described it as “one of the most important topics that could be discussed as our world is filled with lies.” He added, “The students need to know the truth to know how to live and point the way for others.”
As I read Willard in the quietness of my hotel room yesterday, I could almost hear him reading the text aloud to me. This section struck me about kingdom obedience. It really is kingdom abundance! Or as my family has learned, you don’t figure it out until you live it out. You don’t experientially realize you have all you need in Christ (kingdom abundance), until you have abandoned all other options and followed Him (kingdom obedience).
It’s the people who try to hold onto the things of this world and Jesus simultaneously that have to muster “raw exertion of will” while keeping their old “options” open (as Willard put it). Those people don’t get it, so I like to spend time with people who do to encourage my faith. That’s why I am attending the Stewardship Summit with people like Wes Willmer, Rich Haynie, Scott Rodin, Tami Heim, Shawn Manley, Andre Sergeyev, Howard Rich, Mark Vincent, and others.
They are committed to kingdom obedience, which is kingdom abundance, and we learn from each other.
kurios M firstname.lastname@example.org
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