Text: Matthew 5:13-16, Colossians 4:5-6, Isaiah 42:5-9
You know that scene in It’s a Wonderful Life where George and Mary help the Martini family move into their new home? They load up the Martini children (and goat) into their car and drive them to Bailey Park, entourage-style, a truck piled high with the family’s belongings following behind them. As the townspeople gather triumphantly on the stoop of the Martinis’ new home, Mary offers this housewarming blessing:
“Bread, that this house may never know hunger. Salt, that life may always have flavor.” Then George jumps in and takes over because he just can’t help himself: “And wine, that joy and prosperity may reign forever!”
I’ve always loved that scene. It’s so hopeful, so filled with joy and promise. We want to believe that George and Mary’s best wishes can bestow true blessing on the young family, but we know the turmoil that lies ahead for the small, fictional town. Like the folks of Bedford Falls would discover, we know best wishes don’t bring life. Only God can do that.
That’s what we find when we read the Beatitudes: blessings only God can give, promises only Jesus can make. These aren’t just promises for our future—though they are certainly that. They are promises for our right-now life. They are promises of God’s kingdom come here on earth as it is in heaven.
This is the gospel. Sinners—ordinary, imperfect people like you and me—are ushered into the kingdom of God by none other than God’s own Son. Jesus came to this pain-ridden planet and lived the holy, sinless life we couldn’t, then paid the debt of our sin in full on the cross. Three days after it was finished, He walked out of the grave, and He sits at the right hand of His Father even now. And there, now, He claims as His own—holy and blameless children of the Father—we who accept the absurd gift of His grace.
We are heirs with Christ to God’s kingdom. We belong there. It is our home.
We mourn the pain and death and injustice of our right-now world, but we rejoice in the One who will dry every tear (Revelation 21:4). We are poor in spirit, in possessions, in esteem, yet we are filled up by the One who created all things and holds all things together (Colossians 1:16-17). We hunger for a holiness that we can’t reach here, while we give thanks to the One who clothes us in His righteousness (Romans 5:17). We ache for mercy and peace in a warring world, and we worship the One who is setting everything right (Revelation 21:5).
We are children of the Kingdom—not just when we leave this world, but right here in it.
The gospel of Jesus is not a secret to be kept. It is the conspicuous, live-changing reality for every single person who calls Christ their Lord. It is the very definition of good news! How can we help but overflow with gratitude and love for the God who has rescued us from despair and secured our hope?
Our God has made us a beacon of hope to the world, “a covenant for the people and a light to the nations, in order to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, and those sitting in darkness from the prison house” (Isaiah 42:6-7). We are light bearers, sight givers, and freedom bringers—this is our reality in Christ.
Friends, we have so much more to offer the world than our best wishes. We know the Maker of love, the Giver of life. When others look at us, may they see Him. Amen.