Matthew 7:21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
While serving as a missionary in Laos, I discovered an illustration of the kingdom of God. Before the colonialists imposed national boundaries, the kings of Laos and Vietnam reached an agreement on taxation in the border areas. Those who ate short-grain rice, built their houses on stilts, and decorated them with Indian-style serpents were considered Laotians.
On the other hand, those who ate long-grain rice, built their houses on the ground, and decorated them with Chinese-style dragons were considered Vietnamese. The exact location of a person’s home was not what determined his or her nationality. Instead, each person belonged to the kingdom whose cultural values he or she exhibited. So it is with us: we live in the world, but as part of God’s kingdom, we are to live according to his kingdom’s standards and values.
Listening is never easy. We can hear without trying too hard but listening asks more of us, for in order to listen fully we must hear, understand and then act. James 1:22 tells us to not merely listen to the Word but instead to do what it says. If we allow ourselves to be guided by the Word of God then we will be like the wise man who “built his house on rock”.
Building a house can be an analogy for building a kingdom life. Jesus is telling us that the foundation is the most important part of it. With a foundation that is built upon God's Word and teaching, the house will be strong and will be able to withstand anything that comes against it. How are the foundations of my own life? Are they solid and built upon the message, teaching and Word of God?
Holy God, our refuge and strength,
you have redeemed your scattered children,
gathering them from all the corners of the earth
through your firstborn, the Christ,
in whom all things are held together.
Make of us a just and righteous people,
worthy by grace to inherit with him
the kingdom of light and peace
where he reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.