We like things fast. Chrome now pushes Facebook notifications to the front of whatever page I am browsing so I get the message the instant it arrives (that is, until I figured out how to disable it). We lay massive transoceanic fiber cables under the sea to shave milliseconds off financial trades.
In a world that glorifies speed, how do we handle a 2,000 year old promise? How can we pray, “Your kingdom come,” without expecting to see immediate results?
In Slow Kingdom Coming, Annan urges us to take the long view when it comes to kingdom work. Rather than frantically running around and throwing starfish back into the water (if you haven’t heard that story, it’s in the book), we need to focus on doing things the right way, even if it takes time.
Annan quotes Kierkegaard on this:
He is not, therefore, eternally responsible for whether he reaches his goal within this world of time. But without exception, he is eternally responsible for the kind of means he uses. And when he . . . only uses those means which are genuinely good, then, in the judgment of eternity, he is at the goal. (125)
In sum: the means matter.
This is a wise and practical book that gives speed-addled Christians five practices to employ in their kingdom-work:
If you have ever been frustrated by the slow pace of change or question your ability to make an impact for the Kingdom of God, Annan’s book will inspire and encourage you.
Annan, Kent. Slow Kingdom Coming: Practices for Doing Justice Loving Mercy and Walking Humbly in the World. Downer’s Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2016.