As children, most of us loved to pretend, to create kingdoms where we were the king or queen – the one in charge. As a young boy, Kevin Baugh did the same thing, but never left it as he grew up. As an adult, he is still having fun with his kingdom, The Republic of Molossia. Only 1.3 acres in total land mass in Nevada, it is a small kingdom unto itself.
Molossia has its own flag, its own signs, and its own boundary markers. It even has its own tourist attractions. Kevin Baugh is the president, or Sovereign, over his own little kingdom. His space program consists of model rockets. The basic unit of currency in Molossia is the valora. The valora is linked in value to Pillsbury cookie dough. Three valoras equal the value of one tube of cookie dough.
There is a railroad, but it's model-sized. The national sport is broomball. And although this nation is landlocked, Molossia claims a navy that is merely an inflatable boat. You can visit anytime you like. But--although it sounds fun--don't think you can move there. Baugh says there is not enough room, affectionately calling his nation "The Kingdom of Me."
Don't laugh too quickly. We may not have gone to the same extremes as Kevin Baugh, but we mostly live our lives as if we are rulers of our own kingdoms. What a surprise it is when we discover that we are living in a kingdom but that it is not ours.
That's the message of Jesus. He came saying, "The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news" (Mark 1:15). Literally, Jesus says the kingdom is "at hand." It is that close. All around us. Within reach.
Jesus doesn't describe his kingdom by talking about armies and weapons. He describes it like a farmer who comes with seed and the seed falls on soil (Mark 4:3-9). Finding his kingdom is like finding a treasure in a field (Matt. 13:44). And his kingdom is worry-free (Matt. 6:25-34). Best of all, this kingdom has a king who is in control (Mark 4:35-39).
Jesus said "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. . ." (Matt. 28:18). Kings and Queens say things like that. Unlike Molossia, if you want to enter and live in this kingdom, the Kingdom of God, there is plenty of room.
What's one way the Kingdom of God is different from the kingdoms of the world? How might that affect the way you live your life this week? I look forward to seeing you Sunday as we explore these questions.