While working as a reporter in Oxford, AL, I had a neighbor who said he served as something of an ambassador for Gypsies. The traffic in and out of his apartment seemed to back up the story. His father was allegedly a King of the Gypsies. In unguarded moments, though staying strictly off the record, my neighbor recounted how his family served to bail out wandering Gypsies who landed in jail, directed them to low-cost hotels and camp grounds, or showed them the ropes on making a quick buck among the locals.
I can’t vouch for the accuracy of his tales, nor do I wish to disparage any nationality or tribe that considers itself Gypsy. However, the concept has served me well in describing the Kingdom of God.
My friend told me that Gypsies were a nation within a nation, loyal to the King and other unofficial authorities, no matter what nation they wander through. The Kingdom of God is like that.
The Kingdom of Heaven is not Heaven; the Kingdom of God is not God. You may be residing in the Kingdom of the United States, but your citizenship depends on you loyalty and obedience to the King. British subjects and people with dual citizenships may have a better sense of this.
I tell my congregants that we can chose to live in the Kingdom of God now by subjecting ourselves to the lordship of God. In the Kingdom of God, people are charitable, noble, forgiving. They may wander through the kingdom of this world, subject by circumstance to its laws and hardships, but their loyalty is elsewhere.
Fortunately, there is no law against the fruit of the Spirit. We are all ambassadors of the Kingdom of God. We have to remember that outsiders judge the kingdom by the behavior of its subjects.
As Jesus said in Luke 17, 21-22:
The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, “Here it is,” or “There it is,” because the kingdom of God is within you.
It reminds me of lyrics in the song, “Rome”, by Nickel Creek:
Can you tell me where do dead men go?
It’s a question with an answer only dead men know.
I only know, they’re never gonna feel at home
If they spent their lives learning how to live in Rome.
By Joel Tucker
Joel Tucker is senior pastor at Tropical Sands Christian Church. He served as associate pastor five years and became senior pastor in 2006. Currently, he also serves as moderator of the Southern District, Florida Region. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Auburn University. He enters ministry after 20 years in corporate communications and five years of computer programming. In worship, he plays sax, bass, uke, squeezebox and bass fiddle.