(First published August 15, 2013)
The kingdom of God is like a girl who goes to a leadership conference. It is her last day of a summer internship. She graduated from college three months earlier. She has no next thing.
She walks into the conference, joining 60,000 other people across the country, 2000 people in this place. People who own businesses, who manage departments, who pastor churches, who lead people. It is, after all, a global leadership summit. She walks to the registration table and gets a badge. She puts her name on the badge and then, unlike everyone else, she draws a picture of a flower.
No one puts flowers on their name badges at a leadership summit. But the girl who goes to the conference without having any place on her current life map that officially says, “leader”, puts a flower on her name badge.
And then she listens carefully to Colin Powell and Bill Hybels and Patrick Lenncioni, taking notes. She smiles when Bob Goff talks about how we are still developing, and how we need to see the potential in people. And she tweets, “@BillHybels and @markburnetttv sit down together to discuss some questions. I love this conference. #WCAGLS.”
On the way home, she offers the kind of analysis of speakers and ideas that would help most leaders at the summit. Though it was only heard by her dad. And later her mom.
Two days later, her dad sees her name badge on the counter. The name badge that few people noticed. The name badge that defines leadership. The one that says “hope”. And has a flower.
And her dad smiles.
Because the kingdom of God is full of small acts of hope, thoughtful conversations with dad, and an awareness that what we see now isn’t all that there is or will be.
Happy Birthday Hope.