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After Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, He made the most of His remaining time on earth.
He continued to prepare His followers for the mission He was leaving them to accomplish.
Jesus spent time making sure His disciples believed in His resurrection and grasped the work He wanted them to do.
Just before His return to heaven, He gave them this charge:
“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” — Matthew 28:19-20
The King of Kings made His will clear for His people. He did not ask them to figure out what their mission should be. He left them (and us) a clearly defined mission of incomparable importance.
So often, what is not clear to us is the vision of how we can participate in making disciples and expanding His Kingdom.
Our Mission Is Straightforward. The Vision, Not So Much
Yet this vision is crucial.
As parents, we deeply desire to see the beauty of our children living for others and not the ugliness of them living for themselves.
As we have considered in previous chapters, our kids learn to be “for others” by watching us be “for others.”
Our lives as parents are intended to provide vision that compels our children, over time, to make similar choices.
As children see God use their parents to change lives and expand His kingdom, they gradually develop an appetite to live for others.
If we want children who live for the Kingdom, we can be the vision they need.
Where do we start when thinking about aiming for the Kingdom of God?
Investing In The Kingdom Of God In Your Neighborhood
In terms of relationships in America, there is still something special about living in the same neighborhood. Certainly it’s not exactly the same as fifty years ago, but a noteworthy connection remains for those who live in the same neighborhood.
You can still ask your neighbors for a cup of sugar or invite them to join you for a meal, while you would never drive across town and ask someone to do the same without some other connection point.
This relational bond opens the door for some unique opportunities to expand the Kingdom.
Prepare A Meal For A Family In Need
While this idea seems incredibly obvious, we may sometimes omit the elements that make it the most meaningful.
Allowing our children to help prepare a meal is not the easiest, and may double the amount of clean-up necessary, but it can provide a readily accessible opportunity to serve others together as a family.
To make this idea even more meaningful, pray as a family before you deliver the meal, have your children prepare a homemade card, and deliver the meal together as a family.
Do Something Kind For An Unbelieving Neighbor
The idea of performing “random acts of kindness” has found its way into movies, t-shirts, and bumper stickers. For Christ-followers, our acts of kindness would not really qualify as random. We are acting out of God’s love poured into our lives as we pour it into the lives of others.
Brainstorm as a family what you might be able to do in the next month to show God’s love to your neighbors.
Host A Barbeque
In most neighborhoods today, the norm of contact between neighbors is waving to one another as you pull into your garages. We might say hello to them when we see them outside doing yard work or on a walk, but most of us experience a shallow relationship with our neighbors.
How could we create a little depth of relationship that God might use to expand His Kingdom?
Hosting a barbeque or “block party” for one other family or multiple neighborhood families is one viable way.
Before the barbeque, talk as a family about the goal of showing God’s love and pray He will use the time.
Go into the event with eyes open to the opportunities the Lord may provide to go deeper with your neighbors.
Get to know your neighbors as you share a meal. Listen well. Asking God’s blessing on the meal might be the only time you mention the Lord. After the event, continue praying for your neighbors and looking for more opportunities to bless them.
Inviting your neighbors over for a dinner might be the first step in cultivating a rich relationship that God uses to deepen another family’s faith or to reveal Himself to them for the first time.
More Ideas For Investing In The Kingdom
We cover many more ideas for investing in your neighborhood, community, and around the world in the book.