Kingdom At Work

Ben H. Swett
Alamogordo, NM
April 1967

While Wyn was shopping in one of the stores in Alamogordo, I went outside to smoke my pipe. Suddenly, all around me, I saw people running, and all the motion converged toward a point that I couldn't see because a parked truck was in the way. I stepped to one side to see the focal point of all that motion. It was a little boy about two years old, out in the middle of the intersection of two busy streets.

As I started toward the boy, several people raced straight toward him while others faced away from him and held up their hands to stop traffic in all four directions. It was a beautifully coordinated maneuver. As one picked the boy up and carried him to safety, a thought popped into my mind: The Kingdom of God is like that.

Later, I wondered what would it take to get people to move like that. As a military officer, I know soldiers have to be trained, drilled, rehearsed, in order to react that fast, with that much teamwork, in an unexpected situation. But what those people did was not rehearsed. They responded individually to what they saw, and yet the result was an organized pattern of motion: convergence to a point and cooperation for a single purpose. Where did all that instant motivation and organization and teamwork come from?

It was not instinct. Everyone did not move. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man push his way past two other men and sprint into the street, but the other two stayed where they were. What was the difference? What produced that difference?

Surely, something moved many people at once, in a specific way. I was reminded that "spirit" and "wind" are the same word in Hebrew. Wind is an invisible force, a current in the atmosphere; we can't see it, but we can see what it does--it moves things. We describe a wind by the direction and power of its observable results. The implied Hebrew understanding is that a spirit is like a wind: we can't see it, but we can see what it does--it moves people in a specific direction or way. Therefore, because I believe God rescues, I believe those who converged to rescue the little boy were motivated by the Spirit of God whether they knew it or not.

No doubt they were programmed to take the initiative in that type of situation, either by their culture (parents, schools, churches, books, movies, comic strips)--or they had programmed themselves. They didn't think about it; they just did it. But what I saw was not a conditioned response like a knee-jerk reflex: decisions were involved. A man who was running toward the boy saw that a woman would get there first, turned and ran away from the boy, raised his hands to stop traffic, and then looked back over his shoulder and grinned as he saw her pick the boy up.

How is the Kingdom of God like that? Members of His Kingdom take the initiative when they see a chance to rescue. They don't have to ask, and they don't wait to be told; they already know the will of God in that type of situation. Therefore, I believe that pattern of motion--convergence to a point of need and cooperation for the purpose of rescue--is observable evidence of the invisible Kingdom of God at work.