"What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it?
It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches." ~ Luke 13:18-19
Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
It is so good to be back with all of you! I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate all the prayers, cards, meals, flowers, and love that you all have sent my way over the last month. I am so grateful for Pastor Steve and Pastor Linda, the staff, the elders, the Vision Team, and everyone who stepped in to keep the church thriving while I was away. And a special thank you to Bruce Tenenbaum and Andy Hromoko for their willingness to preach. They made the mistake of being really good at it, so we'll definitely ask them again!
Your prayers have definitely made a big difference. I am still moving slowly, but my physical therapist has been surprised at how much my range of motion has improved. He even used the word "miraculous" - and I know that is because of your prayers!
This Sunday, I will be back in the pulpit (probably on a stool!) and ready to dive in to the next section of Luke. We will be looking at two peculiar little metaphors Jesus uses to describe the Kingdom of God.
When you think of a kingdom, what do you usually picture? Camelot? Lots of flags and towers around a castle? Perhaps the pomp and circumstance of royalty in the United Kingdom. We usually think of power and prestige, emanating from the throne of the king.
Your first thought is probably not a mustard seed or yeast! But that is exactly how Jesus describes the Kingdom - as a mustard seed that grows into a tall plant, and as a little bit of yeast added to dough that transforms the whole batch.
At our session meeting Tuesday night, I asked the elders what these metaphors told us about God's Kingdom. Pastor Steve immediately responded, "It starts really small." God's Kingdom is infinite and universal, but in His infinite wisdom, He chose to start it as humbly and quietly as He could. What has less power than an infant? What has less authority than an executioner's cross?
As small and powerless as its beginnings may seem, God's Kingdom changes everything. That tiny seed buried in dirt is easily forgotten, but given time and rain and sunlight, that tiny seed becomes big enough to be a safe haven for birds. One tiny seed produces a plant that produces many tiny seeds, and so the Kingdom keeps spreading.
The prophet Zechariah reminds us not to despise the day of small beginnings (Zech 4:10). The Lord uses small things, mustard seed faith, a little joy to leaven the mood of someone who is struggling, small acts of faithfulness planted over and over. God can build great things out of small faithfulness.
Where is God calling you to plant small seeds of His Kingdom? Perhaps one little faithful act could make a world of difference in a neighbor's life. Keep planting, my friends, and let's see what God has in store for us!