Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
Men are, by nature, kingdom makers. In the modern world, every man works to grow and develop his own kingdom. For some it is a technological kingdom, fully equipped with a large flat screen tv, the latest in tablet and smartphone technology, a state-of-the-art gaming system, and a computer that could land a space shuttle. For others it is a kingdom of things that go “Vroom” or “Boom,” marking success by make and model, engine or barrel size, horsepower or scope strength, color or stock type. These little kingdoms have a work car, a play car, a truck, a motorcycle, a dirt bike, a four-wheeler, a boat, a jet-ski, a pontoon, an RV, and anything else we can get that will make our kingdom just a little bit nicer. Then there are people who build kingdoms out the intangibles, like the affirmation and respect of others, the constant wrangling of attention and a desire to be in the limelight all the time.
We build kingdoms to ourselves, and this is the problem with Diotrephes in 3 John. He was trying to establish his own little kingdom, and he was not going to let John or any of the other apostles try to invade his little kingdom. He was thriving on the respect of the believers who mistakenly looked up to him. He was the king and they were his subjects who were to simply do his bidding. He had been side-tracked into believing that a kingdom here was the thing that he should strive for. He had missed the teaching of Jesus that would have liberated him from the enslaving drive to have others affirm him.
Jesus said in Matthew 6, “seek ye first the kingdom of God.” The goal of this life is not to be little kingdom builders, but rather to be part of the building of the massive kingdom of God. Unfortunately, people are distracted from ultimate goal of building God’s kingdom, so they end up frustrated and devastated when their little kingdom crumbles. Diotrephes missed this, and we can miss it too if we are not careful. So, seek ye first the kingdom of God.
Food For Thought: What are some things that are in your life that would fit in the category of building your own little kingdom?