Some think that the throne of God is somewhere in deep space.
They think that the Kingdom of Heaven is lightyears away, or thousands of miles away in Palestine, or hundreds of years away in the distant future.
Jesus came preaching, “Repent.” It literally means, “Change your thinking!”
“Repent; the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” It means “at hand.”
He then called four fishermen, saying to Peter, “I’ll make you a fisher of men.” Next, he healed every disease and affliction, got famous, and was followed by “great crowds.”
He became what we would call a “great success.”
But “seeing the crowds,” he “sat down,” and “his disciples came to him.”
Jesus knew that the Kingdom is not a crowd.
Crowds seek signs and think a crowd is a sign, when in fact it points to nothing.
“The crowd is like an envelope,” wrote Soren Kierkegaard. “One receives a large package, thinks it’s something important, but look, it is a package of envelopes.”
Evil is ultimately nothing, and so crowds can easily be conscripted by evil.
It was a crowd that chanted “Hosanna,” and on the sixth day, chanted “Crucify. Crucify. We vote for Barabbas.”
We choose crowds, and crowds make us incapable of choosing.
Crowds will make you in their own image: One more envelope full of nothing.
I think that’s why Jesus sat down… and his disciples came to him.
His Word had found a place in them; he had called them by name.
They were not one more envelope.
He did not say to Peter, “Follow me and I will give you a doctorate.”
He did not say, “Follow me and I will make you a carpenter of men.”
He said to Peter, the fisherman, “Follow me and I will make you a fisher of men.”
Peter lived on the side of the sea, and I would imaging that Peter grew up dreaming of catching fish.
I used to dream of being Zorro, and so I’d take a stick, pretend it was a sword, and make my mark—the famous “Z”—wherever I went.
I dreamed of being Zorro, until I stopped; for the crowd, the kids at school, taught me that my dreams were silly and pathetic.
Sometimes I still feel silly and pathetic, like a middle-aged man at a Star Trek convention, dreaming that he might “boldly go where no man has gone before.”
I think that’s why I love Galaxy Quest, the movie.
In the movie, middle aged actors from the cancelled TV show Galaxy Quest work the convention circuit, until aliens from outer space come find them and ask them to save their civilization from evil—a kingdom that they had built based on old Galaxy Quest TV transmissions received years before, deep in outer space.
The Thermians (the aliens), believe that each of the “actors” aren’t just “pretenders,” but in fact far more than they know. And of course, in the span of the movie, each actor becomes what they had only pretended to be; beamed into space, they become who they truly are when they realize “the Kingdom of Thermia and Galaxy Quest is at hand.”
Their dreams shaped a kingdom, and that kingdom shaped them into their dreams.
Well, the Kingdom of Heaven was not constructed as a result of our dreams, but the Kingdom of Heaven does nurture our dreams and shape us into the people we truly are.
It’s not an accident that Peter grew up on the side of the sea.
It’s not an accident the Peter wanted to catch fish, and one morning was failing to catch fish, and Jesus called to him saying, “Come follow me and I’ll make you a fisher of men.”
Maybe you have dreams and you’re tempted to quit, but Jesus is calling, “come follow.”
He’s not mocking you; he’s creating within you the ability to be, the freedom to be, and the desire to be what you most deeply long to be: yourself.
You are an indispensable part of a Kingdom and it is at hand.
So, you mustn’t lose hope in your dreams, but you must surrender your dreams.
Peter mustn’t lose hope in fishing, but he must stop fishing to become a fisher of men.
“You must lose your psyche (soul, self, person, your individual life) for my sake,” said Jesus (the Life, the zoe, the King of the Kingdom).
“You must lose your psyche to find it.”
One day it hit me: it’s my psyche that I lose, and my psyche—not another—that I find.
We’re each so afraid to surrender to the King for fear that he’ll turn us into something else—one more saint, sitting on one more cloud in the heavenly crowd.
But he will not turn you into something else, or someone else; he wants to turn you into yourself.
He will call you away from the crowd that you might become who you are.
Then he will send you back to the crowd that the crowd might become the Kingdom.
Your soul is like an envelope, but not all are the same, and none are empty.
Each soul contains a throne.
When you surrender that throne, you will become who you truly are.
And you will enjoy who everyone else truly is.
One great day, you will experience no pain but feel everyone’s pleasure.
A crowd is a cancer.
The Kingdom is a body.
Not only can you be different, you must be different or you wound the whole body.
Don’t give up your dreams, but surrender your dreams and become who you truly are.
I’m not Zorro…
But the King has shown me, I’ve been called to preach his Word.
I’m not Zorro… but maybe I am.
Whatever the case, you’ve only begun to imagine who you truly are.
Don’t give up on your hopes; surrender your hopes and become who you truly are.