Building the Kingdom of God is a Marathon: Stay in the Race
Over the years I’ve been involved in a lot of activities, including running businesses, buying businesses, investing in film projects, investing in the stock market, being a financial advisor, and working on starting churches, among other things. A major takeaway to success or failure I’ve learned while engaged in those things is that the only way to win is to stay in the race.
There are of course other elements to success that are included with staying in the race, but all of them won’t matter if a person quits before it’s finished.
The kingdom of God
As it relates to the kingdom of God, I think many Christians starting out with good intentions easily fall by the wayside in their callings because they have very short-term outlooks concerning how long it should take to achieve what they’re attempting to accomplish.
One good way to look at what we’re working on in relationship to the kingdom of God is to consider a quote from Nelson Henderson, who said this:
The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.
While I don’t believe it’s the true meaning of life, the second part of the quote is very good. We need to think in terms of that which we plant and water will bear eternal fruit because God will give it increase if it’s built upon the foundation of the scriptures. How and when He does it is in His hands. Our job is to be faithful throughout our lives in planting and watering, leaving the increase up to Him.
What this does is help us to maintain a long-term view of building the kingdom of God, and allows us to embrace patience and long suffering toward the impact of our work – even if we don’t see it come to full fruition in our lifetime, which we won’t if we’re building correctly.
Working in the fields of the Lord
Now I want to quickly mention that this isn’t limited to what is unfortunately called “ministry” by most Christians, by which they mean something external to their everyday lives that has a special focus.
That of course is part of building God’s kingdom, but probably more important is the way we touch people in our everyday lives that really changes those around us for the long-term, and hopefully for eternity.
This includes ourselves, our spouses, our children, our grandchildren, our place of work, our friends, and various encounters we have in our daily affairs.
It could also include hobbies we may participate in, including various art and craft projects, video, writing, and many other areas of life.
The point is we need to commit to excellence in these types of things and remain faithful in discharging them to those we have a connection with, or in the public arena that caters to niche ideas, products and services.
Within that context, we must always be willing to share our faith with those that are brought into contact with us through shared interests.
What matters in regard to my focus for this article, is that whatever we put our hand to, we must do so with the idea of being faithful in what we do for the duration of the activity or project; in many cases that means until the end of our lives.
A major key to successfully achieving this is to resist losing focus in what we’re working on. Don’t allow the internet and endless entertainment content to rob you of your time. Taking a break from work is one thing, losing vast amount of time to things that don’t add value to your life or what you’re working to accomplish, is another.
Having our attention pulled in numerous directions will lead to frustration, and result in us being unable to focus as we should in the things that matter. Stay away from anything that robs you of your time.
Building the kingdom of God is a marathon not a sprint. Nothing of lasting value will remain if we don’t work hard at success in God’s kingdom. This can only be done by consistently working hard over a long period of time.
Understand what you’re wanting to accomplish in the long term, then walk yourself backward to the present day and work on what is needed to move a step closer to your goal.
There are other things to consider, such as learning the rules of the game, having the proper mindset, and adapting to specific circumstances that require a different way of solving the problem.
But the point of this article is all of that won’t matter if you aren’t in it for the duration. That means understanding your place in the kingdom, while also focusing on planting and watering in the lives of your family.
The bottom line is we must be found faithful in what we’re called to do for the entirety of our lives in regard to building God’s kingdom. This is done by understanding we’re in a marathon and don’t have to be under extreme pressure because of concerns over what is happening or not happening in the near term.