The Kingdom of God Is Bigger than We Are

Vacations are a double-edged sword. On one hand, the time away is wonderful. I enjoy the more relaxed atmosphere. I appreciate giving my mind and spirit some down time. I love spending extra time with Cindy and our family. On the other hand, while I’m away messages accumulate in my inbox, sermons cry out to be written, visits remain to be made, conversations wait to take place. Life doesn’t stop while I’m on vacation.

I’ve just returned from vacation and there is much to do. As I’m thinking through the week and how I’m going to catch up, I am reminded that Friday is District Conference. District Conference is a yearly gathering of pastors and lay people from the 32 churches in the Western New York District of The Wesleyan Church. We meet in Hamburg for a day—lots of listening, some discussing, a fair amount of interacting. Sitting here with all of this delayed work staring me in the face, I’m having second thoughts about attending. But I am going and here’s why: the kingdom of God is bigger than we are.

The temptation to not attend conference or to view the day as unproductive is rooted in my struggle to believe that my faith, my ministry and my life are primarily about me. I toy with not going because I believe that I have too much to do or because I’m not sure that it’s going to have any direct bearing on my ministry or our church or because I think that Houghton Wesleyan Church can get along just fine on our own. These perspectives are wrong not just because they are motivated by self-centeredness, but also because they are unbiblical. I am coming to understand that the real dilemma with which I wrestle is to see how wrong they really are.

I’m going to talk more about the plural nature of the church in the coming weeks and months, but here are some passages of Scripture—just a sampling of the whole—that I’ve been pondering that both convict me of my sinful, independent view of the kingdom and challenge me to see and think differently: [Jesus prayed]: May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me (John 17:23). All the believers were together and had everything in common…Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts… (Acts 2:44, 46).

If you need me on Friday, I won’t be available. I’ll be in Hamburg at The Wesleyan Church because I believe with all of my heart that the kingdom of God that is bigger than we are.