Turns out the kingdom of God’s economy is pretty much upside down by our standards. What’s great is what’s least, giving up life brings eternal life, holding on to life brings eternal death, greatness is in servanthood, giving is measured not by the amount of the gift but by the amount that is kept, victories are won by the few, not the many, personal weakness is strength and personal strength is weakness, wisdom is foolishness and foolishness is wisdom, and the greatest king of all arrives not in a throne but in a feeding trough!
They played an old song on the radio the other day. It was one of those early morning programs for older folk which I find myself identifying with more and more as the decades ruled by. The song was the 1968 chart topper “Both Sides, Now” by Joni Mitchell, first recorded by Judy Collins.
Perhaps you remember it. The chorus went like this,
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now / From up and down and still somehow / It’s cloud’s illusions I recall / I really don’t know clouds at all
As the song progresses the refrain changes the word “clouds” to the word “love” and the singer concludes they really don’t understand love or life or anything really. All is just illusion.
Paul acknowledged that many things about the kingdom of God seem unclear to us at present. As if we are looking through clouds. He wrote, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (1 Cor. 13:12, NKJV). Or, as The Message has it, “We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist.”
But the kingdom of God is not really upside down. The kingdom of God is right side up. It is the kingdom of man that is upside down! There are no clouds in the heavens; but it is our eyes that have cataracts.
Scripture tells us that Christ has come to cause the blind to see… to properly re-orient our thinking. To give us a brand new heart! The worldly mob’s accusation against the disciples was this: “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too!” (Acts 17:6). But when you turn again a thing currently inverted you set that thing aright.
The Christian’s priorities then begin at the foot of the cross, in surrendering one’s life, in becoming a bondservant of Christ. “So the last shall be first, and the first last” (Matt. 20:16).
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