Throughout the section on worry about money (ch. 9-14), Welch has thus far introduced and expounded the notion of the kingdom as the place where Jesus is the King. This chapter looks at our hearts, and how the kingdom often does not satisfy them.
The Kingdom Does Not Give Us All We Need
There seems, sometimes to be a bait-and-switch with the kingdom. Like in Deuteronomy 8:3 — God humbled his people, causing them to hunger, feeding them with manna, in order to teach them that man does not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the LORD’s mouth. Paul, Welch explains, echoes this phrase (2 Cor 1:9). In the kingdom one gains Christ, the Bread of Life. But that sometimes does not coincide with physical sustenance: “The contrast between earthly and spiritual is not a contrast between the tangible and the the intangible; it is between the transitory and the eternal” (127).
Here Welch works through John 4 and 6. The conclusion:
The pattern is this: the Father genuinely cares about the daily needs of his children, and he is constantly caring for us, but he wants this to point us to something better. If we don’t find our life and strength in Jesus Christ, we will go from one worry to the next (131).
The obvious question, fortunately, Welch addresses in the next paragraph:
Do you have and thoughts on how to grow in this? Is a plan emerging? Any place must include perseverance, talking with others about the King and his trustworthiness, asking for prayer, and regular feeding from Scripture (131).
This is the “reading, writing and arithmetic” of the Christian life — the stuff of Christian faith, which Welch mentions in the introduction. The important thing for me to remember is the nature of the process as a process. I have grown up in a world where most anything can be done with the push of a single button. I expect instant cures and fixes for everything. Most of all, it’s an ingrained assumption; but the way of the kingdom is different that the way of 21st century rich Americans in a lot of ways. It’s the processional tension of being a Christian — the fact that it is a process. It requires patience.
This helps me, because the past five or six weeks have been discouraging at times — because I’m not “better” yet. I haven’t “conquered” worry. In fact, at times it’s been worse than it was before this journey began in its intensity. That’s when I need to remember that the King doesn’t give instant cures most of the time. Of course, he can, and I know he does. But, so often, it’s the process — which requires so much more faith than hope for an instant cure. Such is faith that trusts in the darkness of death’s valley, when our Shepherd has led us there. In those times we learn to trust him — or we die.
And then the focal point is the King (and not us). And that’s how it should be.
The Kingdom Does Not Give Us All We Want
Many times we worry not about needs, but about wants. We want what we want, worrying that we won’t get it. But, again, that is not the way of the King and his kingdom.
The Kingdom is God’s
When you know that the kingdom is God’s alone (though he gives it to us), that is the only thing that can lead to peace and rest. Owners are the ones who do all the worrying; stewards simply listen to the owner’s desires and work to implement them. Owners are responsible for the outcome; stewards strive to be faithful (133).
Faithful. That’s what we are called to be. It takes a load off, because when we realize that we do not run the kingdom, we stop trying to run it. We can be confident that our Master will do his work and rule his kingdom.
A Personal Response
“Life in the kingdom isn’t easy, at least not when we want to share the throne” (134).
That’s when we come to the true throne — the throne of grace, and find mercy, repenting and praying for a heart of a faithful steward.