[From the archives.]
Soon after I became a Christian I had a conversation with a youth pastor. July Fourth was coming up and he said that he thought patriotism was very Godly. I asked, “What about citizens in Nazi Germany?”
“Ummm … so maybe not always,” he said.
I said, “Maybe not always even here in the United States.”
Don’t get me wrong. I know I am blessed to live here, and that there are a lot of worse places to live in this world. I’m glad to be an American with all the privileges and responsibilities that go with citizenship. On top of that, it’s biblical to be under the authority of earthly rulers. (See, for example, Mark 12:13-17, Romans 13:1-7 and Titus 3:1.)
But we should not think that this is the ultimate good. As Jesus told Pilate when facing earthly judgment:
My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place. (John 18:36.)
Paul later explained that those who belong to Jesus share citizenship in heaven with our Savior. (Philippians 3:20.) That is good news for us all, and it gets even better.
Look again at Jesus’ statement to Pilate. Did you notice that word “now”? “But now,” he said, “my kingdom is from another place.” Jesus qualified his statement because in the future he’s going to bring heaven and earth together into a single kingdom:
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15.)
So it turns out we can love our earthly home eternally and above all others. And it’s all because of Jesus.