Forty arrives this week and I am pleased to learn that I don’t know how to spell it. Spell-check keeps reminding me that there is no ‘u’ in forty. I always thought so.
In Eastern cultures, the birthday boy (or girl) doesn’t receive gifts but rather gives a gift to his mother – “Thanks mom for evicting me from your uterus.” In that case I think I’ll give her flowers. I think it’s a good idea: giving gifts on your birthday rather than receiving them. Even on your birthday, it’s not all about you.
I think we all have difficulty with being a little self centered. Whether its your birthday or not, whether you are a believer in Jesus or not, we all tend to think in self oriented terms. I think there is a good reason why God’s salvation is described in the Bible as a Kingdom. God’s salvation is not just about you but instead it is about the world! It is hard for us to grasp but God’s salvation is not just about making you happy!
Look in the gospels at how Jesus introduces salvation: (Mark 1:15; Luke 19:9; etc) God’s salvation is also about restoring justice, serving those in need: Widows and orphans! God’s salvation is not about you, its about God.
God is a king and you don’t enter into a relationship with a King so that your needs can be met (though they will). You don’t enter into a relationship with a King to make you happy (though He can). You enter into a relationship, you submit to and pledge allegiance to a King because it is His due!
The Greek word for “good news,” or, “gospel,” started out as a political term. When there was a regime change or the ruling powers fell, messengers of this new kingdom, ‘good news-ers’ would be dispatched to spread the news. “The powers of this age have fallen.” “There is a new sheriff in town.” A new authority rules.
Salvation is the arrival of a new kingdom. It is the future rule of Jesus Christ showing up in a small way, right where you live.