In 1997 I wrote a book titled, Kingdom Education: God’s Plan for Educating Future Generations. It was revised in 2002. My life’s work has been linked to the message found in this book. Over the past several years the term kingdom education has become somewhat of a buzzword in many Christian circles, especially in the Christian school arena.
I often hear people talk about their school being a kingdom education school. Others will say that they fully support the message of kingdom education. I have also heard many people say that they really believe in kingdom education, BUT! Then they go on to explain why they have decided not to follow the principles set forth in the book. Here are some of the “BUTS” that I hear tacked on to their “belief” in kingdom education.
Even though I believe in kingdom education, I send my child to a secular school because:
- it is an academic decision.
- my child really needs to be involved in a certain program (this is usually a sport or fine arts endeavor).
- I don’t want my child sheltered from the real world.
- I want my child to be “salt & light” to other children.
- my child wants to attend the school because that is where his/her friends are.
- we have prayed about this and as a family this is where we feel God wants our children to attend.
- ___________________ (you can fill in the blank with other reasons).
Another common thing that has occurred is that someone has heard me speak/preach a message on kingdom education and, therefore, they believe that they fully understand what kingdom education is all about. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to grasp the meaning of the phrase after hearing only a one hour presentation. In fact, it has taken me over 45 years to begin to understand it and God is still teaching me what kingdom education really is. What I realize, when I hear these types of statements, is that the person really doesn’t understand what Kingdom Education is all about. So let me explain what the simple meaning of the title and the message of Kingdom Education is.
Understanding the Kingdom of God
In order to understand Kingdom Education, one must understand a much bigger concept – the Kingdom of God. I have come to believe that God’s highest priority for me and for every believer is this – to know, understand and experience God’s kingdom every day of his/her life.
Some may disagree with me that this is God’s highest priority for every believer but that is exactly what Jesus said when he was here on earth. As He was about to close His longest discourse and insight into who He really is, He made this bold statement in Matthew 6 verse 33. He stated, “But Seek First The Kingdom of God…” He didn’t say seek first a good church, or seek first prayer or Bible reading. He didn’t even say to seek first to save the lost. He said that you and I must first seek His kingdom. The problem is that the concept of the kingdom of God is talked about regularly but few can really grasp what the kingdom of God actually is. Consider the following scenario.
Imagine that you are in church on a Sunday morning when a young man in his late 20s or early 30s comes in and sits down next to you. By every appearance it appears that this young man has never been in a church before. During the praise time, you sing that little chorus Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God.
After the service this young man introduces himself to you and explains how someone from the church came to his apartment last night and shared the gospel with him. He was convicted of his sin and surrendered his life to Christ. He also told you that he had never been to church before in his entire life. You show an excitement over this person’s new found life in Christ.
And then it happens. He says that the chorus every one sang about seeking God’s kingdom was something that really interested him. He is excited over wanting to seek first God’s kingdom – especially as a brand new believer. He asks a very simple question. “What is the kingdom of God?” You quickly respond, “that is what you need to seek first in your life.”
“Okay,” he replies “but what is it that I am supposed to be seeking.” You hesitantly say, “well the kingdom of God.” He presses you even more about what is the kingdom of God so he can know what he should be trying to seek. You maybe even answer him with a question. “Have you met our pastor yet? I am sure he would love to answer your question.”
You see, there are certain phrases and terms that we have heard over and over again but when pressed to explain what they really mean, we don’t have a clue. If we don’t understand what the kingdom of God is, how can we ever attempt to understand the term, kingdom education?
While serving at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, I heard a lot about the kingdom of God, as that was a major emphasis there at the time. Dr. Gene Mims provided me with a definition that changed my thinking about this important topic. He wrote, the kingdom of God is the reign of God through Jesus Christ in a person’s life. Wow, that made sense. Ken Hemphill in his book, Empowering Kingdom Growth, explains how there can be no kingdom without a king; you can’t have a king without subjects; there are no subjects if they don’t obey the king’s commands. In other words a king can only rule in his kingdom if and when his subjects obey his commands.
So, if I obey Christ’s command to seek first the kingdom of God, I must seek His reign in my life more than anything else. If God reigns in my life, I will be part of a good church, give God His tithe, study God’s Word, pray and share the gospel with lost people. Even though most Christians say that they believe that God wants to reign in their lives, they tend to apply that thinking to the “spiritual” part of their lives. They believe that He wants to reign in their homes and in His church. But do they believe that He also expects to reign in every other aspect of their lives? Unfortunately, by their actions, the answer is no.
Jesus taught this same concept when He taught His disciples to pray, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. God’s will is done perfectly in heaven because He is fully recognized as king. That’s what He wants here on earth in every believer’s life. God wants to reign in everything – why? – Because He is King of Kings!
Before we go further, take time to reflect on the simple truths presented above. Are you seeking His kingdom rule in your life more than anything else? Are you willing to allow Him to reign in all of your life? Are you ready to commit to obey every command and principle God gives us in His Word? How you answer these questions will determine if you fully understand what the kingdom of God is. Once you understand the kingdom of God, you will be ready to learn what the full message of Kingdom Education really is.