I am always moved by acts of kindness or heroism toward children – I think most people are – but with recent emphasis on the need for more foster homes and for more funds to aid those in foster care, I’m struck by all the similarities between those who open their homes and hearts to children in need and God’s constant opening of His home and heart (His kingdom!) toward us.
In the Central family alone, we have so many who lay their lives down every day and allow God to pick them up and use them however He sees fit. As I enter the time of life where we don’t have as many children at home, and our life is not as busy with the everyday pull of multiple children’s homework, sports, and social activities, I can see how tempting it would be to just sit back, relax, and allow life to center around me and what I want. Unfortunately, there’s nowhere in the Bible that refers to that kind of rest while we’re here on earth.
Bill and Susie Keesling, at a time when they could have easily justified spending all their time focused on their own family and careers, chose to do more than just that. They chose to become foster parents, and extremely effective ones. They have welcomed sweet baby after sweet baby into their home and life and treated them just as they would treat their own children or grandchildren. They have been present at a crucial time in those babies’ lives in a way that may keep them from suffering some of the emotional anguish that usually goes along with being taken from biological parents. Kingdom living involves placing the needs of others before our own, stepping up to use the gifts God has given us to bless others. Bill and Susie are a wonderful example of what that looks like.
Another example of this kind of kingdom living is Mike and Kyndra Thomas, who give their lives every day to the task of raising children who are not their own to love God and to know the stability and security that comes through serving Him. In addition to focusing on their own family, they are focused on God’s family through having children and teens in their home constantly and showing them how a Godly home works – complete with help with homework, Bible study, family dinners, and game nights.
Finally, there’s Betty Graddy and her adult son, Joe, who, because of the physical disabilities that Joe lives with and the care that he requires from Betty, have had to look at kingdom life from a different perspective. There are many things that they would love to do for others that their life situation doesn’t allow them to do, and many in their circumstance would not have been able to get past that. Not Betty and Joe – they are instead constantly looking for ways to grow God’s kingdom. For them, it is through beautifully written words of encouragement to others, giving of funds to help children go to camp and other important Christian activities, and any other act of service that they can carry out.
Laying our lives down so that God can pick them up and use them to His glory – that’s His kingdom here.