Kingdom Infusion – making 'Son tea', by Phil Tiews

Years ago I used to work as a repair man at a local apartment complex. When I first started, the lunchroom talk was often vulgar and profanity-laced. It was pretty uncomfortable for me. On a couple of occasions I said something like ‘I’m not interested’ to an inquiry, but mainly I tried to ignore what was objectionable or change the topic and just be myself. I didn’t preach to anyone. After the guys got to know me and I had been there a while I noticed that the discussion often changed when I came in the room and sometimes someone would apologize to me for a comment – often half-jokingly, but an apology nonetheless. What I was experiencing was not conversion or transferal from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of God, but I would call it an example of the ‘infusion’ of the Kingdom of God. You may have made ‘sun tea’ at some time. You put a tea bag in a jar of water and put it out in the sun. Slowly the tea leaches out into the water and with the solar influence it begins to infuse the whole jar. You can see treads and streams of the tea spreading out in the early stages. Eventually the whole jar is tea!

Sometimes the Lord gives us the calling and opportunity to take a direct ‘Kingdom action’. It could be sharing the Gospel with someone, changing the priorities of our department at work, or ministering in the jail. But I believe the Lord wants to always be ‘infusing’ the environments that we are in for the Kingdom. Paul tells us:

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.     Phil 2:14-16

Part of sharing the Good News is to BE good news. It ought to be good news that Christians are in any situation because we bring with us blessing, encouragement, kindness, helpfulness, respectfulness, joy … life! Often without having to say anything directly, our presence will check people’s baser behavior and call to their mind their better instincts. Our example can model a different way, a life-affirming way.

The Lord told Israel to live thelaws of the way of life He was giving them for this very reason:

Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” 7What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? 8And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?    Deut 4:6-8

There is no guarantee that all our efforts will always meet with a positive response – in fact, we are promised that we can expect at least some persecution! However, we live Kingdom life openly because it is who we are in Christ, no matter the response. And often, we will be blessed to be part of the infusion of the Kingdom into situations and environments, a change that is a blessing in and of itself and can pave the way for deeper transformation and eventual Kingdom transfer!