I remember some years ago being visited by a man I greatly respect in international ministry. After spending the morning together, we said goodbye and Sam Jones left the office. Shortly afterward he returned, opened my door, and said, “One last thing, never build a kingdom.” There has often been a little voice to whisper that admonition to me, “Never build a kingdom.”
On one occasion when I visited a medieval castle I was struck by the thought of a castle’s beginnings. One farmer
enjoys farming, enjoyment leads to success, success brings more income, and extra income enables the building of a larger and larger home until it becomes the envy of enemies. To protect the home larger walls must be built, and even friends might be held suspect as they desire to warm their hands at a fire they did not build. The more indefensible the castle appears, the more others outside the walls want it, while those inside the walls have to be convinced to protect it. In the end all time is spent protecting the castle instead of doing the one thing most loved, farming. The ethics of a hardworking, nature-loving farmer give way to the rules and politics of a castle. Instead of enjoying the world God made all around, the man-made world becomes the focus and causes various forms of neuroses that are passed down to the children’s children until all is in ruin. Sam’s words returned, “Never build a kingdom!”
We believers must be careful not to give our hearts to what others have built, placed on a high hill, and then exalted above our lowly state, lest we, like the peasants, move inside the walls and give our all to protect it. What we have outside the walls in the field is something far greater than a kingdom! We have a King who has set up a kingdom in our hearts and reigns there. In His kingdom we are given some very significant commands. “Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you” (I Peter 5:7). “Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these” (Luke 12:27).
I do not want a kingdom; I only want Him. I do not want the life inside the walls; I want the life outside where everything proclaims Him.