gardenIt’s curious that God chooses to use ordinary us in the greatest mission, where the stakes are life or death: the expansion of God’s Kingdom, of Truth.  It’s not so curious that we take the credit for ourselves.

God has placed within the hearts of many at The Gathering a dream of building a community garden as a way to practically love others more and as a conrete project for us to intentionally sacrifice our time and energy.  Such a project has many hurdles to cross, not the least of which is to convey to our “mother church” our dream and to get permission to use some of their land.  A lot of their land.

How would they react?  What compromises might need to be struck?  Or is even thinking of the possibility of compromises at all too optimistic?

But God was way ahead of us.  He was already shaping the most important element in all of these conversations: the hearts involved.

After a meeting yesterday, God officially blew wide open the door for the garden.  God has given our mother church extremely generous and kindred hearts toward this dream, granting us not only the space, but even the location we had been most excited about.  Even the permission to convert an Eagle Scout built sand volleyball court into part of the garden.  A couple small hurdles remain, but if God is in this, they are nothing at all.

And guess what?  While driving away from that meeting, I began to do the unthinkable, the preposterous.

Even though this process had begun long before, even though this is only the most recent of many conversations others have had with our mother church, even though they have had a history of being generous toward us and of working with us, even though God is thoroughly involved and this is one work of His greater Kingdom, I began to take the credit for myself.

“I’m pretty good at this.  That was great leadership…wow, I’m talented and  important.  Good thing they’ve got me.”

It is really embarassing even to put words to those initial feelings.

It was just Sunday that we studied a similar (although different in degree) story of the disciples coming back to Jesus after having been on a mission to rally the troops in foreign cities and to heal sicknesses (Lk. 10:17-24).

Jesus, listening to their (and my!!)  lively recounting says, “Yes, the Enemy is losing.  You have tremendous power and authority.” 

“I gave it to You.”

But He’s not done.  “Just be glad that you are a Kingdom citizen…and that you have a much better idea of what that means than all who walked the earth before Me.  And you have the extraordinary priviledge of experiencing the Kingdom’s advance first-hand.” 

“And it is all because of Me.”

Just think…we have a better understanding of the Kingdom of God than Elijah ever did.  Jesus has taught us how, when compared to our own inclinations, “upside-down” it is. 

We get to see and hear what David longed for, but never really understood or experienced.  The Messiah has come, has initiated the in-breaking of the Kingdom, and is continuing that work today.

And it has nothing to do with how wonderful we are or what we’ve done.  It’s all because Jesus lived on earth and chose us to be His own.

Ouch.  Ouch.  Ouch.

My swelling pride stung.  Just one day after I (even I!) taught that passage, my intial reaction became an example of what is false.  The truth is that the crucial player wasn’t me.  It was never me. 

Yet somehow for some wonderful glorious reason (Jesus attributes it to “God’s good pleasure”), I get the priviledge of being a part of the expansion of God’s Kingdom.  Of experiencing and participating in it. 

Of working on the development of a garden. 

Ordinary me, chosen and used by God, for extraordinary work.

Where have you seen or heard of the Kingdom’s expansion??  Just reply to this posting…how else is God moving?