September 20, 2021 • Life for Leaders
Scripture – Luke 12:32 (NRSV)
Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Here’s an amazing truth we learn from Jesus: our Heavenly Father loves to give us the kingdom. God’s joy is rather like that of a parent giving their child a wonderful gift on Christmas morning. God delights when we receive his offer to live each day under his gracious rule. God takes pleasure in blessing us, guiding us, and empowering us for the work of the kingdom.
Today’s devotion is part of the series Following Jesus Today.
I’ve always loved Christmas. Some of my earliest memories – very happy ones – are of family Christmas celebrations when I was a young boy. Yes, I enjoyed being with family, eating delicious food, and, of course, celebrating Jesus’s birthday. But, to be honest, I think what I loved most was getting presents. After days of dreaming about what was inside those brightly wrapped boxes, I was finally able to see and play with my new toys. Such great fun!
I still love Christmas. And I still enjoy getting presents. But my experience of this holiday changed dramatically when I became a father. Instead of wondering what I was getting for Christmas, all of my energy and excitement went into what my children were getting from my wife and me. I could hardly contain myself on Christmas morning when they got to open their presents and I got to delight in their excitement. I loved – and still love – giving good gifts to my children.
So, as a gift-giving parent, I can relate in a way to what Jesus says in Luke 12:32: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Our Heavenly Father delights in giving us good gifts, in particular, the gift of God’s own kingdom. God loves to reign over our lives, to guide us, empower us, and bless us with the gifts that accompany the kingdom, gifts of grace, love, justice, and peace.
You and I need Luke 12:32 in order to understand fully what Jesus says in Luke 12:31 about striving for the kingdom of God. Yes, indeed, we are to seek to live under God’s reign with energy and intentionality. Our effort matters when it comes to our experience of the kingdom. But, and this is so important, we do not somehow make it to God’s kingdom because we tried hard. It isn’t something we accomplish through our own efforts. Rather, living under God’s authority is a gift of God’s grace. It’s something we receive by grace. Now, we still need to open the gift, as it were. God does not impose his reign upon us. But what enables us to live in God’s kingdom is God’s grace.
Even more amazing than this, God loves to give us the kingdom. God loves to reign in our lives, to guide us, to bless us, and to empower us for God’s glorious purposes. When we choose to open the gift of the kingdom, God rejoices as a loving a parent rejoices when their child opens a wonderful gift on Christmas morning. Isn’t that something?!?
Can you think of times in your life when you felt pleasure when giving a gift to someone? Perhaps a child or a grandchild, a spouse or a friend? What was that like for you?
How do you respond to the truth that God delights in giving you the kingdom?
We “open the gift” of the kingdom of God when we choose to live under God’s authority and for God’s purposes. In what ways do you “open the gift” of the kingdom?
Take time to reflect on the fact that God takes pleasure in giving you the kingdom.
Gracious God, how amazing you are! How wonderful that you love to give us the kingdom. When we receive the gift of your reign, when we choose to live under your authority and for your purposes, this gives you pleasure. Amazing!
Help me, Lord, to delight you today as I live. May I bring my whole life under your rule today, seeking your will and serving you in all I do. Amen.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Best of Daily Reflections: How to Become a Generous Person
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Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.