Jesus said to his disciples, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
One of the most gracious bits of wisdom I’ve received on the spiritual journey was from a mentor who taught me how to begin to pray.
As you settle into your prayer time, she counseled, take a deep breath and acknowledge that you are in the presence of God who loves you. Accept God’s loving gaze. Sometimes it helps to imagine that gaze as a ray of sun falling on and around you. (Maybe in August we should shift that image to soft rain falling gently on us—come, Lord Jesus!)
I hear that wisdom as continuous with Jesus’s invitation in this passage: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” This is tender and loving encouragement.
The starting point for our relationship with God is not fear or shame or judgment. We don’t begin our prayer by assuming we’re in the presence of a God who wishes we’d get our act together, who can’t believe we would say that, who expected better of us. Nope—this is the divine parent who takes pleasure in giving the whole kingdom to us!
How does our day change if we begin with the knowledge that God desires to shower us with love, show us mercy, and invite us into the present reality of the reign of God?
I think we’d find readiness for the unexpected seekers who knock at our door. We might be generous instead of mistrusting; forgiving, not bitter; ready to make a loving response to the world God so loves.
It is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom right now—freely, and with joy.