A post from several years ago about being found in Christ.
32And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions. Mark 12:32-34
Several years ago I lived in a suburb north of Dallas. I lived there for just over a year. My apartment was less than 4 miles from the city limits of Dallas. Four miles is not that great of a distance; in fact I rode my bicycle further than that most days. However, even though the city of Dallas was so close to me, I rarely went there. It was not necessarily a conscious decision, nor was it based on anything I had against the city. Rather, it was more that I did not have a need to go there. It was not part of my comfortable daily routine. I could get up, go to work, come home, eat, shop, see friends, go to the movies, go to church, ride my bike, go to the grocery store, go to concerts, and basically completely exist without ever venturing outside of my small suburb. Even when I did leave my suburb, it was not by much. My church was barely in the next town to the south, and where I worked was just to the east, plus I liked going to the mall in the next town to the north, but all of these places were just outside of my own town. Yes, I lived not far fromDallasbut I seldom set foot inside it.
I share all of this because when I read Jesus’ response to this teacher, my heart breaks. On the surface it seems like a good thing to be not far from the kingdom of God. But is it? I really do not think that it is. Just as I lived not far from Dallas and still never went there, I think you can spend your whole life on the edge of the God’s kingdom and never enter it.
When suburban living became an in vogue thing during the middle of the last century most people that moved out of the city to the suburbs, still spent a majority of their lives within the city. They went back there to work, to attend church, to shop, to have social outings. Their suburb was basically a bedroom community. Gradually that started to change. Now the newest craze is self-contained neighborhoods. They would have small grocery stores, banks, house churches, small clinics, and even schools. They are suburbs of the suburbs.
Today many people live just outside of great cities, historic cities, wonderful cultural centers, and never journey inside them, because they have all the amenities they could ever want in their suburb or neighborhood. I fear that we have built just as great places of existence on the border of the kingdom of God. We have so constructed the religious trappings in life that we think we can have all the benefits of God’s kingdom and remain on the outside. The bottom line is we cannot do so. We cannot stay on the edge. The stakes are too high.
Today I urge you not to be caught not that far from Him. It is impossible to leave His footprints outside of His kingdom.