The ‘Kingdom of God’ is a much talked about place/thing/idea/realm. Without sounding cryptic with how I attempt to explain this for this devotion, let me just say that the ‘Kingdom of God’ is all those aforementioned things and maybe more. So how do we seek it? Jesus tells several parables in order to tell us what the “kingdom of heaven” is like. One that jumps out at me is found later in Matthew. In Chapter 13:45, Jesus tells His disciples this:
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it”
The image Jesus is painting for us is that the kingdom of heaven is more valuable than anything else we own. In this sense, it is an idea, certainly not a thing or place. And certainly, it is an idea worth exchanging everything for. The verse in Matthew 6:33 tells us, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”. Jesus is reinforcing the idea that the kingdom of God is more important than food or clothes. Why? Because even though those things are important to us, they, like us, will decay and die. Why would the merchant care to sell all those things he accumulated in order to possess one pearl? This seems to be the only way we can assign value to something, by viewing it in terms of monetary worth.
The merchant in the story is, in many ways, like the average person seeking the path to ultimate living. Jesus points out that when he finds the most valuable thing he’s ever seen (something he looks for regularly) he immediately knows it’s worth more than all the things he’s ever had. Jesus never attempts to tell us where the Kingdom of God is, but many times tells us how important it is that we devote ourselves to it.
Jesus also tells us, “Unless you (we) become like children” we aren’t going to be allowed admission into this kingdom. “Those who do the will of My Father” are going to be allowed into the kingdom, not simply those who say Lord, Lord. In this sense, the kingdom of Heaven has boundaries; boundaries that must be crossed. We must actively obey God in order to enter into it. And Jesus has intimated that that is more important than anything else we could ever obtain. But Jesus also preached this kingdom at hand during His time. This kingdom is eternal and it is in operation as we speak. The only way in it is to do God’s will, and that is more important than anything else.
I pray we choose not to exchange this pearl of great value for anything in this world, because we are destined for a better place, where there is no decay or corruption. I’m reminded of the journey of Christian in Pilgrims Progress who faces many temptations and dangers along the way, but fights through them all in order to get to his destination. We have to place the kingdom of Heaven in that column of priority in order to understand how important it is in our lives.