Whose Kingdom Am I Building?

by Leigh Powers @Leigh_Powers

 I got a gut check in the middle of the home décor section. I was bopping through my favorite craft store to pick up some ribbon for a project when a framed print caught my eye. As I passed by what I call the “girl boss” section, I spotted a print of a pretty pink typewriter surrounded by peonies. The calligraphy script read Building My Empire.

The typewriter and feminine design appealed to me, and the print was the perfect size to go above the printer in my newly reorganized office. I snatched it up to check the price, calculating how much it would be after my forty-percent-off coupon. Then I stopped and looked at the motto again. Was this really the message I wanted to claim? I put the print back on the shelf and walked on. My mission isn’t to build my own empire. My mission is to grow the kingdom of God.

I needed the reminder. As a writer and speaker, platform growth is part of the job. That’s not a bad thing. If God gives us a message, he wants people to hear it. Things like engaging on social media, building an email list, and networking with other writers are important tools for stewardship of our message and for ministry. Yet if all I do in this life is build my own empire, I’ve failed miserably. To build something that lasts—that truly matters—I need to be about building God’s kingdom, not my own.

I have goals, to be sure. I want to provide for our family. I want the sense of fulfilling my calling and the joy of doing what I love. And yes—it’s nice to have the feedback of good reviews, publisher’s contracts, and awards won. Yet Scripture reminds me to seek God’s kingdom first. Jesus said it: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well,” (Matthew 6:33, NIV).

To seek means to look for, earnestly desire, and strive for. For me, that means working for God’s reputation and not my own. It’s looking for where God is at work, desiring to see God’s name gloried, and striving to help people draw closer to God in what I do and say. I still grapple with the realities of financial and family pressures, but my heavenly Father knows my needs. If I seek his kingdom first, I gain both. I get to see God work in and through me, and by his grace God gives me“all these things” as well.

“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33, NIV).

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It’s time to stop and ask, “Whose kingdom am I building?” Insight from @Leight_Powers on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

leigh powersAbout the Author: Leigh Powers is passionate about helping women find hope and healing in God’s word. An author, speaker, pastor’s wife, and mother of three, she loves digging into Scripture and helping others find their places in God’s great story of salvation. Leigh is the author of Renewed: A 40-Day Devotional for Healing from Church Hurt and for Loving Well in Ministry. You can read more from Leigh at her blog, www.leighpowers.com

 

Invitation to Rest

by  Leigh Powers

The file folder in my pool bag was calling my name. I’d played with the kids in the water for a while, but an hour sitting next to the pool and enjoying the sun sounded like a good opportunity to look through the research for my next writing project.

I pulled out my highlighter and kept one eye on the kids as they played water tag and slid down the water slide, patting myself on the back for maximizing my productivity. I made it about a third of the way through the stack before I felt the gentle prompting I’ve learned to recognize as the voice of the Spirit. Pause. Rest. Breathe.

I stopped midsentence and looked around the pool. Really, Lord? Here? The pool was crowded with families. The air was full of cheerful babble and the occasional tweets from the lifeguards’ whistles. It wasn’t the place I would have chosen for a quiet interlude.

The gentle whisper came again like a butterfly-soft caress. Rest. I put the cap on my highlighter and closed the folder, then leaned back against my lounge chair. As I sat quietly, I started to take note of details I hadn’t paid attention to before. Bird song flitted beneath the rise and fall of the conversations around me, and the sweet fragrance of honeysuckle mingled with the sharp smell of the chlorine. A familiar verse came to mind: “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul” (Psalm 23:2). I felt God’s presence with me. Those few moments of quiet stillness made my soul feel refreshed and restored.

It made me wonder how many times I miss God’s gentle invitation to rest. Life is full of deadlines, to-do’s, and my Mom’s Taxi Service part-time job. Yet I dare not get so busy in my pursuit of what needs doing that I miss God’s invitation to engage with what is eternal. As our Good Shepherd, God knows the needs of our souls. He guides us to what we need—even when what we need is simply a few moments of rest.

Today, be attentive to God’s gentle promptings. Look out the window. Go for a walk. Simply be. Rest in the power and beauty of God’s presence, and let the Good Shepherd restore your soul.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29

leigh powersAbout the Author: Leigh Powers is passionate about helping women find hope and healing in God’s word. An author, speaker, pastor’s wife, and mother of three, she loves digging into Scripture and helping others find their places in God’s great story of salvation. Leigh is the author of Renewed: A 40-Day Devotional for Healing from Church Hurt and for Loving Well in Ministry. You can read more from Leigh at her blog, www.leighpowers.com.

Photo by Koko Curio on Unsplash