The Smallest Pieces of the Kingdom
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Luke 12:6-7 ESV
God cares for the small, the simple creatures in his world. The flowers he dresses in glory, adorning their accessories by hand (Matt. 6:28). The birds he watches closely and knows by name. Not one falls without our Father seeing, remembering (Luke 12:6).
And your heart, he sees, he runs after, before you saw or noticed him, before you had love to give (1 John 4:19). You were the one lost sheep he ran after, the one lost coin he seeks out until it’s found (Luke 15).
Your small, individual, beating heart matters in his world, in his orchestrated, interconnected plan for his kingdom coming down to touch earth on this very day.
With a world of concerns swirling around us, with a never ending list of social issues demanding attention and faithful response, he has the time to begin and return each day to the smallness of your heart. To the priceless piece of the kingdom he’s chosen to place inside of you.
While this piece is small, invisible, seen fully only by him and partially by us, it is the element of your kingdom existence and interactions that impacts every other thing you are and do. It is his priority.
Our Father delights in the heart he heals and unfolds. He says, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Prov. 4:23, NASB).
As you turn to look at this post-election, pre-Christmas season, let his concern with our small hearts, our inner piece of the kingdom, impact your commitments and priorities. He wants you to walk around in humble confidence that your very heart is part of his kingdom, a purposeful and vital part of his handcrafted creation.
How does this knowledge invite a shift in the rhythm of your days?
Shauna Niequist tells of the burnout she has seen in ministry families as the daughter of a mega-church pastor in Chicago. In response, she dissects some of the popular assumptions that seep into our decision-making and sense of obligation to exercise our spiritual gifts, reminding us to consider that small, priceless piece of the kingdom that lives within you.
She writes, as you choose among good opportunities to serve and give, “You must ask not only what fruit they bring to the world but what fruit they yield on the inside of your life and heart.”
This perspective has stirred new questions in my heart this month:
Will saying yes to this opportunity lead to fruit not only in the surrounding world, but also to good fruit in your own heart, with a sweet overflow for those in
your family and closest circles of influence?
What yeses left your heart exhausted, bitter, or withdrawn from your
core people last advent season?
What will you need to say no to this year to better care for the garden of your soul?
This week, as I walk around with these swirling thoughts and questions, I’m noticing how my decisions impact my heart. I’m paying attention to what my heart sees and feels when others give advice or welcome me to take part in new opportunities.
I still engage with excitement but also with the freedom to say no, knowing only his spirit can fully disclose what is right for this season and for this heart, this piece of his kingdom.
As I’m valuing the smallness of my own heart, I’m also prioritizing what is healthy and contemplating what might be best for the hearts around me. Honoring the uniqueness of what God’s asking of the women and men around me, giving space for my son and my husband to recharge their hearts.
Creating space to connect with others, heart to heart.
As a big picture dreamer who envisions his kingdom of love overcoming the largest of our world problems—like racism, refugee displacement, and human trafficking—I’ve needed this return to a celebration of the small shifts and building moments in his kingdom within and directly around us.
I pray these reflections will foster health and joy in your heart and family as you tuck away moments for him to tend to your soul and to whisper his guidance in your yeses and noes.
May his peace and love be full within you and spilling from you this Christmas season.