Kingdom Imagination

What we can learn from Joshua and Caleb
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Caleb's view, as we witness in Scripture, was not one the people of Israel acted on, and so it is with kingdom imagination. It is a bold view and a prediction that sometimes takes years upon years to materialize. But whether it is realized in the short term or far into the future, kingdom imagination is usually present in the extraordinary work of God.

Loving God. Loving people. These are the motivations of those inspired by a kingdom imagination. Others may look at their lives and commend them, but loving God and loving people are not always compatible with the "American dream." People who act on a kingdom imagination might be mocked or excluded; they might even be hated by whole groups of people. But that's irrelevant to them, just as Israel's rejection of their report was irrelevant to Caleb and Joshua.

The drivers of popular society—fame, wealth, attention, and praise—have no place in a kingdom imagination, and they cannot sustain the challenges that may cross your path while following Christ with abandon. Any motivations short of seeking to honor God and serve others in everything you do will not sustain such a journey.

Those living God-inspired lives are in no way super-human, and their lives may lack glamour. They make mistakes, but they admit them and seek restoration. That's because they've encountered God, been inspired with a kingdom imagination, and had their view of the world changed as a result.

Encounters with God deepen our commitment to love him and love others. Those experiences by which we come to know him and are moved to action vary with each person's story. The Bible is full of men and women who find themselves swept into a story bigger than the one they were living—everyday people being transformed in the context of their ordinary lives. Their inspired encounters reveal the unique ways that God can choose to move in our daily lives. Their stories may remind you of moments where God has called and equipped you for something more than the life you are living. Our responses to those encounters make the difference between ordinary and extraordinary.

Leroy Barber is the president of Mission Year, founder of Restoration Ministries in Philadelphia and founding director of Atlanta Youth Academies.

This article is adapted from Everyday Missions by Leroy Barber (IVP). Used by permission of InterVarsity Press PO Box 1400 Downers Grove, IL 60515.

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