The Kingdom of Heaven – Mustard Seed & Yeast (Matthew 13:31-35)

6 11 2014

2014 - Green LakeThe kingdom of heaven – the rule of Christ – is at work in untold ways.  A seed, inert until it is sown by a farmer, and then grows in the soil of the field, and becomes shade, comfort, and nurture for those around it, because it is firmly rooted in the soil of the owner’s field.  Yeast, which is inert when sitting in the cupboard, but when mixed with the right ingredients, it expands throughout its environment, as it is kneaded by the hands of the baker, to provide nourishment for others.

Perhaps we have been striving for an ideal external context, where we can expand our influence and guide others using our gifts and abilities.  We see others around us who seem to be in their sweet spot, and it fills us with discouragement and hopelessness, wondering if we will ever be in a place where we feel like we are living fully into who God has created us to be.  In the meantime, we are cultivating a rich, deep relationship with Jesus, finding comfort, direction, and assurance in his presence.  Out of this deep communion with him, we are able to be present with others in their pain and confusion, and bring them comfort, direction, and hope.  We can experience tension as we enjoy fruitful ministry that comes from a rich relationship with Christ, while at the same time, wishing for the perfect external context to exercise our gifts.  It can be a frustrating place that distracts us from being fully engaged right here, right now.

And yet, as I look closely at these two parables, I see that in both of these analogies, it is Christ who causes and shapes the fruitfulness, according to his desire.    The common thread of the work of the kingdom of heaven is that it is determined, sourced and animated by God.  We can focus on our ideal environment, but it can change quickly, cutting us off from our sense of effectiveness and fruitfulness.  We can believe in our potential to bring comfort and blessing to those around us, but until we are pushed into the soil where those roots of intimacy with Christ can grow, we are only potential.  To step into the kingdom of heaven requires us to lean into our utter dependence on Jesus, to plant us, to knead us, to do his work to bring life and fruitfulness to what we do and who we are.

How is your commitment to Christ’s rule playing itself out?  Are you in an ideal environment where, like yeast, you are expanding and growing?  Are you in a place where you know you belong to Jesus, and your roots are deep in the soil of his presence, and out of that depth, you provide comfort, shelter, and shade for others?

Regardless, are you keenly aware of your complete dependence on Christ to participate fully in His kingdom?

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