Radical Citizenship

Think about citizenship, and what comes to mind?

Maybe stuff like flags and patriotism. Or maybe long-winded lecture on “legislative process” from government class. All in all, the topic of citizenship sounds kinda boring, even “old-fashioned,” right?

But just for a minute, try dropping all those old ideas and looking at citizenship a bit differently. Try thinking of it as something a bit like “school spirit.”

Really. No kidding.

Remember a time when you were hyped about your team’s winning streak? Or when you got pumped because your school did something really cool that made the newspaper’s front page? Or when everybody pulled together to make homecoming the best time ever?

Now here’s a question: Why is school spirit so exciting?

Well, because it’s so catching. It gets everybody’s adrenaline flowing. It pulls people together as a team to do some really good things.

So what’s all that got to do with citizenship?

Imagine if we all got a bit more excited about making this piece of earth we live on a better place. If it helps, think of the people in your town or city as a team, working together toward that goal. The team can only reach that goal when every member plays his or her part.

Even so, maybe you’re thinking, Look, my team’s got enough players. They don’t need me. I mean, really, why should I care about my community?

Well, because God does. It’s part of his creation. And he cares about every little piece of his creation. And he wants the very best for his creation. That’s why Jesus prayed, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

As Christians, we’re part of God’s kingdom, citizens of heaven. And as citizens of heaven, we share God’s concern for the world and people he created. Including the world where we live.

What does that concern look like? Well, it looks a lot like Jesus. Take a look at some of the stuff Jesus did while he roamed the earth. He took time to care for the sick and needy (Matthew 4:23-24). He fed people who were hungry (Mark 8:1-10). He fought against prejudice (Luke 10:25-37).

To follow Jesus’ example, you could volunteer at a soup kitchen, organize a community food drive, or simply befriend someone who’s lonely.

But don’t stop there. God also wants us, as citizens of heaven, to care about our environment. After God created the first humans, he told them to take care of the earth (Genesis 2:15).

So go ahead, clean up some graffiti. Cut down the amount of garbage you throw out by recycling and re-using what you can. Carpool with a buddy or two when you drive to school.

Our heavenly citizenship also means we need to respect the people who govern us, from the local mayor to the president. While we may not always agree with the things politicians say or do, God does tell us to honor their authority and pray for them (1 Peter 2:13-17; 1 Timothy 2:1-2).

So this whole citizenship thing does makes sense. When we pull together, good things happen. And most important, lives can be changed eternally as we model Christ’s love to the world.

So come on. Join the team!

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