21 Jesus also said:
You don't light a lamp and put it under a clay pot or under a bed. Don't you put a lamp on a lampstand? 22 There is nothing hidden that will not be made public. There is no secret that will not be well known. 23If you have ears, pay attention!
24 Listen carefully to what you hear! The way you treat others will be the way you will be treated—and even worse. 25 Everyone who has something will be given more. But people who don't have anything will lose what little they have.
Another Story about Seeds
26Again Jesus said:
God's kingdom is like what happens when a farmer scatters seed in a field. 27The farmer sleeps at night and is up and around during the day. Yet the seeds keep sprouting and growing, and he doesn't understand how. 28It is the ground that makes the seeds sprout and grow into plants that produce grain. 29 Then when harvest season comes and the grain is ripe, the farmer cuts it with a sickle.
A Mustard Seed
(Matthew 13.31,32; Luke 13.18,19)
30Finally, Jesus said:
What is God's kingdom like? What story can I use to explain it? 31It is like what happens when a mustard seed is planted in the ground. It is the smallest seed in all the world. 32But once it is planted, it grows larger than any garden plant. It even puts out branches that are big enough for birds to nest in its shade.
The Reason for Teaching
33Jesus used many other stories when he spoke to the people, and he taught them as much as they could understand. 34He did not tell them anything without using stories. But when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them.
There is a beautiful inevitability in Jesus’ teaching in this passage. Light shines. The hidden is found. Seeds sprout. Sometimes to amazing and unexpected lengths. And the Kingdom does come, whether we think so or not.
It is quite easy, especially in the North American Church, to question the church’s relevance to our culture. We may view the Church as marginalized and watch individual congregations that have been around for decades flounder.
Yet, even in a culture like ours that can be disdainful of “church,” the Kingdom still grows, in individual lives turned around, in hearts repaired, in lives stitched back together, in ordinary, broken people doing extraordinary things because of what Jesus did for them.
If we have ears, we can hear. If we have eyes, we can see the humble evidence of what a living faith, even a tiny faith, can do.
Take a moment to think about the people you know whose lives have been changed, or strengthened by their faith.
If you can’t think of anyone because you don’t know a lot of other Christians that well, or your list is short, make a point of reading some Christian publications in Canada, or wherever you live, that tell those good stories. Or, read between the lines in your daily newspapers. Often, when someone rises above awful circumstances, or survives tragedy, or even just takes a risk on behalf of someone else, there is an undercurrent of faith in the story.
Watch. Hear. Grow.
Father God, thank you that we are not in charge. Thank you that your Kingdom has come, is coming, will come, not because of what we do, but because of who you are. Give us ears to hear, and eyes to see. We don’t want to miss it. Amen.