As I sit at my desk, a piece of paper and a postcard are at hand. I have to reach slightly for the cup of tea — we could argue whether or not it was at hand — but the can of pens on the far corner of the desk is not at hand.
Jesus is saying, “If your approach isn’t working, repent. Try a different approach. Take a look around. You might notice that
“The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
“At hand” means I don’t have to reach for it.
I found the kingdom of heaven while thinking about the power of Jesus’ name — after about twenty years of searching. Hear me now: If I had confined my search to what is at hand it would have taken a fraction of the time — perhaps only a few minutes. Instead I looked for it sometime in the future, after I got my behavior up to an acceptable level, up to a standard of performance that I never defined (I figured I’d know what it was when I got to it). Only after I gave up on myself as a hopeless case did the kingdom “appear.”
I wrote a verse about it:
as though for the first time,
someone who was always here,
giving life to all—
the one whose presence fills the atmosphere …
“At hand” also refers to time: “The time is at hand.”
This means it’s about to happen. If the time is at hand for me to go to town, I have just enough time to save my documents, shut down my computer, get a few things together and walk out the door. It’s too late to take a shower or make a shopping list — let alone finish my self-improvement project.
Before you take another step on that epic quest for the kingdom of heaven, STOP. Draw a circle that defines the limit of “at hand.” Sitting in that circle, define exactly how many minutes from now is the time-limit of “at hand” — as for you. Unless Jesus is mistaken, you will find the kingdom of heaven somewhere within in that amount of time within that exact circle.
If you don’t, maybe next week’s post will help. It features quite a number other places not to look for the kingdom. PLUS Dr. Seuss weighs in with his wisdom…
The Kickstarter launch of Spirit of Fire is set for June 21. We’re going to change the understanding of Christianity on earth from condemnation to love. Tell your friends!