The kingdom of heaven is like a mighty river that flows through our lives – the Kingdom River. There are people that visit the river on special occasions to temporarily enjoy its beauty and refreshing water. There are others that regularly go down to the river – bringing along their ski, pontoon, or fishing boat (and the occasional friend) for the various forms of entertainment these devices and the river might provide to them.

Some people enjoy the Kingdom River so much, they have built houses on its banks. As folks back home say, “they have a ‘place’ on the river.” They go to the river almost every weekend – to get away from the hustle and bustle of the world. Some of them even live in yachts and houseboats, floating right on top of the mighty river.

None of these people are river people. Most of them don’t even know that river people exist. Those who know a little something about the river people consider them quite odd and, if they will admit it, scary. Like the mysterious water people Elwin Ransom encountered in Perelandra, the true river people live in – AND BREATHE!! – the Kingdom River.

The river people are very much unlike everyone else. They do not have roots on land. They do not visit the mighty river on special occasions, or for regular entertainment. For them, the river is not a place to get away from the world.

The river people do not visit the river when it pleases them. They have no desire to get out of the river – to live in a houseboat or yacht – unless the River King sends them on a mission.

The Kingdom River, quite simply, is their life.

Consequently, the river people go where the Kingdom River takes them. This is the most obvious thing that distinguishes them from everyone else. The Kingdom River is their home.

As I mentioned, the river people only leave the river when the River King sends them on a mission. This happens quite often, and is mostly related to the good works they have been created to walk in – the investment of time, talent and property they have been given to steward on behalf of their King.

There are two extraordinary things about the interaction that the river people have with the world. The first is the way they flow with the river – ever moving toward its end – while maintaining a permanence with the place and time of their mission. As river people, they are able to function in two very different realms.

For example, the river people live in the same city for years, even decades; the duration entirely dependent on the River King’s mission. No amount of time makes them bored or enamored with the things of the world, not even those things that are essential to their mission. When their mission is accomplished, they depart without care or concern.

The second astonishing thing about the river people is the way they never seem to leave the river – even when their good works take them deep into the world. As river people, they have been empowered to take the river with them! At least this is how it appears.

The truth of the matter is harder to comprehend. The river people never actually leave the Kingdom River. Only the river people – and their King, of course – understand how this works. To everyone else, it is a very great and confounding mystery.

One concluding thought: River people enjoy the most exciting and rewarding adventures. The River King’s desire is that everyone enjoy such a life.

However, being a river person is not easy. It cannot be done alone. Period. The Kingdom River’s flow includes – in its very nature – the close community of fellow river people.

While it is possible for a large group of people of another kind to become river people, this is not the usual outcome. Generally, such groups find a compromised (and more distracting) place on the river.

Small groups, with at least one embedded river person, have a better chance of following the River King into their making as true river people.

God bless you with such a group and the courage to walk with them.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

P.S. Click here for Part 1 of the Kingdom River parable.