Kennedy Dhanabalan (Incoming Executive Director, Serve Afghanistan) shares the Kingdom imagery that motivates and shapes his work.
The world faces a multifaceted crisis. It hopes for justice, peace and joy, which is what the Kingdom of God is all about (Romans 14:7). When I am involved in the mission of God the end that I foresee is establishing God’s Kingdom, which was the good news that Jesus also preached (Mark 1:15). So when I am working for justice and peace with communities, I realise that I am working along with the Lord in establishing His Kingdom, which I consider as my joy and privilege.
I always keep the Kingdom imagery as expressed in Isaiah 66:17-25 and Zechariah 8:3-17, as a blueprint for my mission. For example the imagery of children, men and women living a long life, motivates me to address health issues and provide a secure environment for children to grow. The imagery of people enjoying the work of their hands makes me want to bring awareness to the people of their rights and entitlements, to reduce exploitations and build capacities – especially for people with disabilities – to get employed or use the resources (e.g. land) available to earn their living. The imagery of ground producing its crops, vine yielding its fruits and heaven dropping their dew inspires me to address the issues of climate change and work towards a conducive environment for the farmers to work.
One of the beautiful images projected in the passage is of people and animals living in peace and harmony. Contrast this with what we face as the biggest challenge in this world – the conflicts. Everyone is looking for peace and as children of God, we are called to stand between the warring groups as peacemakers to bring peace.
While the Kingdom motivates me, I keep strengthening my faith by assuring myself that His words of promises are yes and amen and so it will come into fulfilment (2 Corinthians 1:20). While facing challenges, some even life threatening, I am assured of Lord’s saying, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9). The verses in 1 Peter 4:12-16 encourage me to go through the suffering.
Isaiah 32:2 summarises beautifully how not only me as an individual but we as a church should be like a shelter from the wind, a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land to the people in need. Let us shine our light to the nations that the people will see the good deeds and glorify the Lord in heaven.