What would our world look like if it were everything God intends? Peace, understanding, comfort, satisfaction, true abundance for everyone—everywhere?

Maybe something like that.

We might never see it in our lifetimes. But in the meantime, there is this place and this moment. The kingdom is keen to break in.

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"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Matthew 13:47–50

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The kingdom is like a mustard seed or a lump of leaven, like finding a hidden treasure or an extremely valuable pearl. It’s also like a fisherman’s net, dragged through the water, bringing in all sorts of critters. Some you eat—those go in your basket, and some you don’t—those get thrown back.

Yes, this one is a judgment story, an “everybody talkin’ ’bout heaven ain’t going there” parable. Notice that Jesus tells it to the disciples. He isn’t trying to scare people into the kingdom. He’s warning people who are already in: “You have the treasure, the pearl, the seed, the leaven. You have to share, or there will be people who find themselves on the outside on Judgment Day.”

God has given you a wonderful gift, worth your life. What will you do with it? You know all the stories about ogres and dragons guarding a treasure they never really enjoy? Don’t be like that. Be open-handed with what God has given you; that will bring you joy, and bring them life.

Richard Vinson

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Dear God, help me share the treasure with others who need to hear about it. Amen.

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Maybe it’s not just a romantic notion. The kingdom comes in things that are very small, but that can become something great; something worth giving everything you have to be part of it.

The kingdom is something fine, worth more than we can imagine. And it is worth all the more when we share what we know about it, though we will never understand it completely.

Go now to give it all away.

Richard Vinson

Richard Vinson teaches religion at Salem College and first grade Sunday School at Knollwood Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He and his wife, Diane Lipsett, between them have five sons, one daughter-in-law, two grandchildren, a dog, and three cats.

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