Back in the early 1990’s, Marvel did something interesting. In The Uncanny X-Men issue 268 (I forget the year) Marvel teamed up Captain America, Black Widow, and (my favorite mutant) Wolverine. It takes place in two different time period–World War II and the (then) present day. In the World War II story arc, Wolverine teams up with Captain America in the fictional city of Madripoor to save a little child. In the (then) present day story arc, Wolverine and Black Widow team up to fight bad guys that we learn are connected to the World War II story arc. (Sorry, but no spoilers here, you have to find the issue and read it to find out the rest)
Back in high school (yes, I’m getting older now) when I first read this issue, I was enamored with the art work, the story telling, and of course how awesome Wolverine is in any time period. The story, though, stuck with me. So much so that decades later when I was constantly buying comics off the Marvel app, I did a deep search for this specific issue and reread it. It still resonated with me. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s the connections we make over the years that are important. Maybe it’s that one action in the past creates positive consequences and benefits in the future and present day. I asked my 7th grade daughter, who also loves comics, to read it and give me her insights on it. Her reaction: “The art was really good and different from the newer comics.” Her reaction wasn’t the same as mine. that bugged me.
I started thinking about this and came to a realization about myself and what it meant for God’s Kingdom. (Yes, I’m going there)
The World War II story arc is about saving a child. The (then) present day story arc was about how that child benefited from being saved. Through Captain America and Wolverine’s actions during World War II they brought hope and healing to someone. And in the (then) present day story arc, Wolverine was able to do so again.
This got me to thinking: What we do today in the name of Christ can have a huge ripple effect across the world. When I was a Sophomore in high school in big trouble, someone came and presented the Gospel message to me in such a way that made me turn my life around and start following Christ. Over the decades now I have done all I can t o faithfully serve Christ and help others as I had been helped. Looking back, I don’t always see the ripple I left but I have been told by others that I have made a difference in their life.
Reflecting on this particular issue of X-Men, I started thinking about God’s kingdom and what things might look like on the other side of glory.
To be honest, none of us knows what a kind word here, a loving deed there, a shoulder of grace to lean on at one time can do for someone and change their lives. These small actions can mean so much to someone that we might never know.
It makes me wonder what heaven might truly look like and who might be there.
Thinking about the other side of glory, I begin to wonder who might be there. Who might I be together with again for the first time there. What small action of mine for God’s Kingdom might influence someone else to the point where they too are part of God’s Kingdom and I, I never knew the part I played in it all.
In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the parable of the sheep and the goats. At the end time, God will separate people like sheeps from goats (don’t ask me how but we’ll look at the why shortly). The sheep on the right and the gots on the left. It might seem trivial as to why people are separated but then the King says that he was in need and was helped by those who were like sheep, placed on the right, they did so in the name of Christ. The king says to them;
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the lest of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40
Dude! The little things we do in the name of Christ add up and become ginormous.
Think about how we treat others in the name of Christ. Is it beneficial? Is it a blessing to them? Is it helping them grow? Is it giving to them a small but basic need to survive? All these things add up when we live out our lives for Christ in the small things that we do.
Reflecting on this, I really wonder who I’ll see on the other side of glory when Christ comes in His fullness and glory. I wonder how my actions in the name of Christ led to people coming to know Him more. I wonder what a kind word or action done in Christ’s name might led to later in someone else’s life. Who will I see? I don’t know. But I do know that we’ll be together again for the first time.